FAITH AND FASTING
When Jesus came to save us from our sin, He confronted the religious system during His time. Judaism is the name of the religion, and it was based on the law that God gave to Moses during the time of the exodus. The exodus period happened when God led Moses and the Israelites to the promised land from slavery in Egypt. God gave them the law to know how to live as the people of God. The law covers the dietary, civil, religious practices, cleanliness, and other related laws that help them live as God's people. When they disobeyed the law, God commanded them to offer animal sacrifices for the forgiveness of their sin. However, later on, in their spiritual journey with God, they relied on the law and animal sacrifices more than God to deal with their sin and relationship with Him. God promised them that He would provide a Savior to save them from their sins and replace animal sacrifices with His own life (Isaiah 53). Animal sacrifices could only temporarily cover their sins, so they had to keep on sacrificing animals (Hebrews 10:4). But the blood of Jesus can take away our sin once and for all, and there is no need for animal sacrifices.
When Jesus started His ministry, the religious leaders continued to rely on the law of Moses and added more laws to it. One of the religious practices is fasting. Fasting is abstaining from food and drinking minimal water for spiritual discipline. People fast when they want to know God's will, draw near to God, or repent. However, when Jesus came, the only way to draw near to God and be forgiven of their sins was by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. When the religious leaders were fasting, they saw that Jesus and his disciples weren't fasting, so they asked Jesus why they weren't fasting. He told them that they did not need to fast as long as He was with them. Jesus showed them that fasting without believing in Him was useless (Mark 2:18-22).
Our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ is the only way to have a relationship with God and be forgiven of our sins. As we learn more about Jesus in the book of Mark, we will understand that any religious practices outside of our genuine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are meaningless. All of us have to start with our genuine faith in Him.
Ask yourself these questions: What should I do to have a relationship with God? Can my religious practices without faith in Jesus draw me close to God? What does it mean to have genuine faith in Jesus Christ?
Write down all the worries you face today and lift them up to God.
Father in Heaven, thank you for teaching me today that my faith in my Lord Jesus is what draws me to you. I am accepted not because of what I have done but because of what Jesus has done in my life. Please help me to walk in faith today as you teach me the life of Christ in the Book of Mark. In your name Jesus, I pray. Amen.