Imagine being one of Jesus’ disciples during His ministry on earth. You wake in the morning wondering what the day will hold. Every moment is filled with the satisfaction of His presence. You eat meals together, talking, laughing, and communing with the Savior. Even though He may lead you to places you have never been or into situations you are unfamiliar with, you trust Him deeply and follow because there is nothing like being around Jesus. It is a friendship like none you have experienced, a deep relationship rooted in true agape love. You experience complete, unreserved joy in His presence.
One day John the Baptist’s disciples approached Jesus and asked why His disciples did not fast. It was troubling and confusing to them. Jesus said, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” Jesus knew that His death, resurrection, and ascension were coming soon. There would be a time that He would no longer be with them. But for now, there was no need to fast because His disciples could enjoy fellowship with Him. Eventually, fasting would be necessary for the disciples. But their fast wouldn’t be like the ones of the old covenant. It would take on a new meaning. It would be “new wine,” unsuitable for the old wineskins of old covenant fasting.
New covenant fasting is a way of expressing our longing for the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, to return. Jesus is coming again and bringing with Him justice. Will He find faith in the earth? How much do we long for Jesus? How ready are we to see Him? How much do we long for His second coming?
Over time, our hearts can become dull towards the things of God. Fasting serves as a whetstone to sharpen our hearts’ longing for His Spirit. We refrain from natural bread and instead feast on the Bread of Life. Fasting is a way of expressing our longing for the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ our King, to return. That is the connection between fasting and the second coming of Christ.
Today, take time to pray: Lord Jesus, we long for You as the bride longs for her bridegroom. We have experienced Your presence, we know Your goodness, and there is no one like You on earth who can satisfy our hearts. We can’t wait for the day that we will be with You. Jesus, we long for your appearance. We can’t wait to see You face to face. Let this fast remind us of how deeply we need Your presence. Let it stir hunger in us to see You and be with You. In Your name, amen.