What purpose does going without food serve?
And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.Matthew 4:2
It’s not because it was fun, that’s for sure.
Jesus did not go without food for the maximum amount of time humanly possible just because it was an enjoyable experience.
No, He must have had another reason.
If you have ever fasted for any amount of time, you know there’s nothing enjoyable about it. It’s hard to do on many levels. And the mental part may be the most difficult.
But there are benefits to fasting. There’s a payoff. For one, done properly, fasting can cleanse and detoxify your body.
But beyond the physical benefits, fasting also has a spiritual upside. There has to be. Else, why would Jesus have taken it so far? Why would He have gone into a hostile wilderness setting among wild animals without physical sustenance for that length of time?
Jesus must have fasted for the same reasons that the others did. Like the prophets. The same as David. And Paul.
Yes, Jesus fasted to prepare for what was coming. His public ministry was just about to launch. And in an attempt to stop it before it ever got started, the devil was about to assault Him with a wicked trio of temptations. Fasting was a strategy that helped ready Jesus for this impending confrontation.
Though physically weakened by his abstinence, combined with prayer, going without food would empower Jesus for service. Spiritually, it would resource Him to execute the will of the Father.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but by foregoing on his physical appetites, in reality, Jesus was fueling. He was gearing up for the mission of all missions.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but by foregoing on his physical appetites, in reality, Jesus was fueling.
So what about us? Why would we fast? For the same reason Jesus fasted. Given the challenges before us, we fast so that we might face them with bold faith and clarity. Be it one meal or several, we go without in order to be empowered within.
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.