“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”
Reflection: Fasting as Freedom
By John Tillman
Jesus had food that the disciples knew nothing about. Do we know about it today? Do we know the sustaining power of doing the will of God?
In our fasting during Lent, may we be reminded that our sustenance does not come from this world. In Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster discusses how our fasting should remind us that we are sustained by our connection to Christ:
“Fasting reminds us that we are sustained “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt 4.4). Food does not sustain us; God sustains us. In Christ, ‘All things hold together” (Col 1.17) Therefore, in experiences of fasting we are not so much abstaining from food as we are feasting on the word of God. Fasting is feasting!
When the disciples brought lunch to Jesus, assuming that he would be starving, he declared, “I have food to eat of which you do not know…My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.’ (John 4.32-34) This was not a clever metaphor, but a genuine reality.
Jesus was, in fact being nourished and sustained by the power of God. That is the reason for his counsel on fasting in Matthew 6. We are told not to act miserable when fasting because, in point of fact, we are not miserable. We are feeding on God and, just like the Israelites who were sustained in the wilderness by the miraculous manna from Heaven, so we are sustained by the word of God.
Fasting helps us keep our balance in life. How easily we begin to allow nonessentials to take precedence in our lives. How quickly we crave things we do not need until we are enslaved by them.”
Fasting is not a punishment, a penance, or a weight of duty to wear around our necks.
Fasting is cutting off the weights our broken world hangs on our balloon so that we remember to rise, filled with the Holy Spirit.
Fasting is washing off the caked-on sludge of the world’s oil spill, so that we can once again soar on wings as eagles.
Fasting is not entering a cave of somber darkness, but exiting a darkened cave into joy.
May our Lenten fasts, cut our weights, cleanse our wings, and acclimatize our eyes to the bright joy we anticipate in Christ’s resurrection.
Prayer: The Morning Psalm
O God, when you went forth before your people, when you marched through the wilderness,
The earth shook, and the skies poured down rain at the presence of God, the God of Sinai, at the presence of God, the God of Israel. — Psalm 68.7-8
Exodus 25 (Listen – 4:20)
John 4 (Listen – 6:37)
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Read more about Fasting as a Feast
As we observe Lent by abstaining, may we maintain a more constant connection and relationship to God through Scripture, prayer and meditation. May more frequent times of worship be feasts for our mind, our heart, and our souls.
Read more about Do We Know Him?
The woman went into town and brought out to Jesus the food he wanted—a harvest of souls ready to receive the gospel.