Spiritual pressure | The Spirit and the Word

Jesus and Fasting

We continue our walk through the Gospel of Luke. Today’s post is about Luke 5:27-38. You may want to read this passage before continuing with this article.

The Pharisees began to resent Jesus’ teaching style. He reached out to those members of society who, in their opinion, were not worth their time. These self-righteous leaders didn’t want to associate with tax collectors, prostitutes, or drunks.

Jesus, on the other hand, saw them as people whom God loved and wanted to restore. To find fault with this, the Pharisees questioned Jesus about fasting. They asked why the Lord’s disciples do not fast on the religious days of fasting.

In His answer, Jesus was basically telling them that there would be a transition from the Old Testament fasting to what would take place in the New Testament . Jesus describes the differences in parable form.

He told them this parable: “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it onto an old one. When he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch of the new will not match the old.”

Luke 5:36

First the Lord speaks about the outward appearance – a garment. The old way was to take an old cloth and mend an old garment. Fasting in the Old Testament was just a speck. Fasting back then was about getting God to listen to me. I had to fix things between God and me.

If I try to mend the New Testament garment, it only makes things worse. Then how do I get God to hear me? I DO NOT!!! In Christ, we now have 24/7 access to God.

Now we’re a new piece of clothing and don’t need a band-aid. But a new garment (back then) would shrink with use. Fasting under the New Covenant shrinks the outer garment. That’s what we’re looking for – the meat to reduce. We want the voice of the flesh to be quieter.

Fasting powerfully sets the flesh down. Because now it’s about me hearing from God. God hears me in Christ. But I need to hear him when he speaks. And this is where fasting comes in. Fasting helps me drown out the noise of my flesh.

But Jesus gave another parable…

“And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out, and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins.”

Luke 5:37-38

In this parable the old wineskins represent those who walk in legalism. Once wineskins were used, they became empty, spent, dry and unyielding. That is a good description of many Pharisees. They had nothing inside to give that would bless others.

The natural new wine is unfermented grape juice. When it turns into wine, it produces gases that pressurize the skins. Old, dry and unyielding wineskins would burst under this internal pressure.

A new wineskin – one that is unstretched, oiled, soft and pliable – is ready to be used in this process.

When we get this new wine of the Holy Spirit in us, it begins to ferment. A spiritual pressure builds up. That brings growth.

Now you are hearing from God and something is being poured into you. The pressure builds up. You have something to give and pour out into someone else.

Listen to Jesus’ next statement.

And no one, after drinking old wine, wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.'”Luke 5:39

Once you’ve tasted legalism, that’s what you want new work of mind. Why is that? Simply put, legalism is intoxicating and addictive.

Legalism strokes my ego. “Look at what I do for God. I read my Bible and pray every day. I go to church every week. I’m better than most.”

This “high” of self-righteousness will mentally put us to sleep. We don’t feel the need to hear from God. We can live however we choose while fulfilling our minimal church obligations.

Basically, we can live for God without being changed by the Holy Spirit. That is the deception of legalism.

I want to be prepared to hear His voice. This requires that I allow the Holy Spirit to work His transformation in me – sometimes shrinking my flesh and other times stretching my inner man. It may feel uncomfortable, but it is rewarding to see the Lord working through me.

Question: How often and how long do you fast?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

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Content Creator Zaid Butt joined Silsala-e-Azeemia in 2004 as student of spirituality. Mr. Zahid Butt is an IT professional, his expertise include “Web/Graphic Designer, GUI, Visualizer and Web Developer” PH: +92-3217244554

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