After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. — Matthew 4:2
Why do you reckon the Son of God fasted? Did He have to? Couldn’t He have certainly overcome the devil’s temptations without fasting? I am inclined to believe that He didn’t have to fast and that He certainly could have overcome the devil without doing so. Then I consider Hebrews 4:15: For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. I think I often forget that Jesus was fully God and fully man. I believe Jesus fasted to absolutely bring the “fully man” part of himself to his knees, even the verge of death. He was literally conquering His flesh and living completely by the Spirit. Jesus was very aware that He was about to go public with His ministry. He was about to draw some amazing crowds and some intense scrutiny from the religious leaders.
This brings me back to the question: Why did Jesus fast? I think the next verse gives us a clue. Check out Matthew 4:3: The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Interesting. Compare this verse with what God Himself proclaimed from Heaven at the end of Matthew 3: And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Notice that God proclaims “This is my Son!” Notice the devil says “If you are God’s Son.” Notice that God says “I love Him!” Notice Satan leaves that part out. The temptation has begun. Satan simply wants Jesus to doubt that Jesus is who the Father says He is.
Do you think Satan is still playing these same games with God’s children today? I certainly know he played them with me. Within a week of my own salvation, he made me doubt that I was God’s child and made me doubt the Father’s love for me. Why did Satan’s trick work for me and not for Jesus?
Jesus fasted…He prepared Himself for the attack. I didn’t.
In no way am I saying that I should have starved myself for 40 days and been as hardcore as Jesus. I don’t really think any beginning Christian is ready for that. However, looking back, there are lots of things I could have and should have done. For one, I should have immediately only hung out with people who were actually walking the walk that I was about to begin. I should have asked them questions about their struggles at the beginning and inquired about some of the pitfalls. Secondly, I wish I had filled my mind with as much of the Bible as possible. I wish I had taken forty days and forsook the television, video games, walkman (for those who remember those), and just got away from all the junk I pumped in my head with and pumped it with God’s Word.
I can’t help but believe that this is the first fast for believers. Take a period of time and get away from social media, video games, cell phones, simply get away from all the things that suck your time doing absolutely nothing. Replace that time with God time. Write your prayers in a journal, talk to Him, read His Word, listen to Praise and Worship, listen to really knowledgeable preachers preach, read books written to help you follow Him more closely, and basically fill your mind with Him. Why? I’m glad you asked.
Because when you finish 10 days, 21 days, 40 days….however many days you choose, you will emerge different. Your friends will say “what is different about you?’ Your face will begin to shine as the face of Moses did when he came down from the mountain (Exodus 34:35). God’s Presence will be on your life. You will be so much more grounded in your faith. Best of all, you will have such confidence, as Jesus did, that what God has said of you is true…
I am born of God, and the evil one can not harm me. — 1 John 5:18
I am alive with Christ… I have been saved by grace! — Ephesians 2:5
I have received the gift of righteousness. — Romans 5:17
I am a new creature in Christ — 2 Corinthians 5:17
I am forgiven of all my sins and washed in the blood. — Ephesians 1:7
It is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me. — Galatians 2:20
This could go on all day!