Reading Acts

As he did with almsgiving and prayer, Jesus redefines fasting as a private act of worship. Jesus assumes his disciples will fast since he says “when you fast.” But the true disciple of Jesus will practice fasting in a way which does not draw attention to themselves. Quite a few years ago I had a friend start a ten-day fast. I remember this because he reminded every day (sometimes several times a day) that he was fasting. It is like the old joke, how do you know someone is a Vegan? Talk to them for five minutes.

Spirital FastingWhen the hypocrites fast, everyone knows what they are doing. The hypocrites “destroy (ἀφανίζω) their faces, a verb which means to render something unrecognizable, even “wear a disguise.” The Pharisees “seem to don masks during their fasting” (BDAG). Perhaps they wore older clothes or even sackcloth to appear to be in great distress…

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