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“The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”

Our SOAP verse today is taking place in the midst of Jesus spending time at Levi’s house. Levi was a tax collector whom Jesus called to follow Him. At this time, Levi invited Jesus and His disciples over to his home for a feast. The Pharisees and their scribes, however, accused Jesus of not following the law because He was eating with sinners. 

Notice Jesus’ kindness and patience. There are definitely times when He responded more strictly to the Pharisees and their need to portray outward perfection, exposing the real, sinful state of their inner selves. But here He seems to respond kindly, albeit still with respect and authority.

“The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” – Luke 5:35 (ESV)

Jesus knew that while He was on earth, walking with His disciples and teaching them, they would have joy and exactly what they needed in His presence. He knew days were coming, specifically after His departure, when they would need encouragement, nourishment, and comfort of another kind – He would no longer be tangibly by their side. He knew their hearts would be full of sorrow and discouragement, and He knew what this world is like – often leaving us feeling tired and weary, distracting us from keeping our eyes on eternity. 

We are now living in the time Jesus foretold, the days of the bridegroom’s absence. No longer can we walk alongside Jesus Christ in flesh. No longer are we able to touch the brim of His garment to be healed. However, and even better, for those of us who believe in Jesus as Savior, we have the presence of His Spirit with us always, in fact living inside us. All we need to do is stay focused, not lose sight, and stand strong.

How do we do that?

There are many different ways, including daily Bible reading, gathering with fellow Christians, and spending time in prayer. But another one is fasting.

By fasting, we give up on filling our physical needs for a period of time to sharpen our spiritual senses. By fasting, we receive God’s Word and hear His voice more clearly – there are no earthly distractions to keep us away. By fasting, we recognize our need for spiritual nourishment that can only come from the Lord. In this act, we are essentially saying, “Here I am Lord. Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Fasting, in a way, is waiting. Waiting on the Lord in the midst of a promise partly fulfilled and yet to come. For Christ came in a stable and died for our sins on the cross. Because of that truth, we rejoice! But we also await His promised return. 

Waiting in this sense is an active kind of waiting. We don’t just sit back and passively wait for things to happen to us. By fasting, we want to take the stance of actively awaiting the fulfillment of the promise to come, the eternity we know we are living for, even in the now.

Henri Nouwen wrote specifically about fasting, connecting it with the act of waiting. “Active waiting means to be present fully to the moment, in the conviction that something is happening where you are and that you want to be present to it.”

Later on he concludes, “Those who are present to the moment can hear when God speaks. They are alert, attentive to the voice that comes and speaks when His servants are listening. Pay attention.”

Fasting helps us do just that: pay attention.

Let’s be women who live with eternity in mind and use the spiritual discipline of fasting for the purpose of growing even more attentive in our waiting.

The Lord is coming. Let’s be ready.

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Petra Stoneman

Petra Stoneman

Petra lives in Northern Ireland with her husband, Michael, and chocolate lab, Boomer. Originally from the Czech Republic, she serves on the LGG Translators team as one of the Czech Branch translators. Petra is passionate about discipleship and raising up a new generation of believers. She serves in the youth ministry of her local church alongside her husband, who is a full-time youth pastor, and she loves to encourage young women in their relationship with Jesus.

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