Mark 2:18 And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?
Describing the new birth to the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) It is true that old traditions are hard to break, especially when they are deeply imbedded religious traditions. Such is the case in our study this morning. The disciples of John and the Pharisees could not understand why the disciples of Jesus were not fasting like they did. How could they be serious about following God when they were not observing the traditions about fasting that were passed down over many generations?
Jesus did not deny the biblical value of fasting. In fact, there was a time when His disciples were unable to cast out a demon, and Jesus told them that it could not be done apart from prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29). But like any biblical truth, fasting for the most part had become a ritual and sign of deep spirituality instead of a means of drawing closer to God. Jesus declared that when a person truly comes to Him in faith, everything becomes new. And to try to mix the life in The Spirit with the traditions of men would be a disaster. When a person comes to saving faith in Jesus, the motive for prayer changes, the motive for fasting changes, everything changes, because the reason for doing them is not to earn favor with God, but as a means of drawing closer to Him and worshipping Him in Spirit and truth. Selah