This morning, we had the privilege of having a good friend of BLC and pastor of Luther House Chapel, Rev. Thomas Low, preach the message. He spoke from Matthew 17:14-21, as a continuation of Transfiguration account.
His sermon started off by pointing out that the disciples experienced a “mountain top experience” when they saw Jesus transfigured. Such “mountain top experiences” are typically assumed to be the best, the pinnacle of our Christian experience.
Yet, immediately after their mountain top experience, they encountered an unmet need in the form of a man possessed by demons. The disciples went on to ask, “Why couldn’t we cast it out?”
Pastor Thomas went on to say that the measure of Christian life is not the number of mountain top experiences, but our continued faithfulness in living fully in Him. However, instead of pursuing God, Christians sometimes pursue mountain top experiences instead – but life and faith are not static.
Pastor Thomas then went on to talk about fasting, from Jesus’ answer to His disciples – in verse 21 (which isn’t included in some translations of the Bible!): “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
Before that, he took time to clear up a few misconceptions about fasting: it is neither purposely skipping meals (that’s what he’d call “volunteered starvation”) nor is it to diet just because the doctor said you needed to lose weight. Instead, fasting must be purposeful… which is why it’s inseparable from prayer.
Fasting reminds us of our humanity. It reminds us about our need: we are creatures who need sustenance – we get hungry and thirsty.
Fasting humbles us. It reminds us that we are not the center of the world – just because we don’t have food or water, it doesn’t mean that the world will pause to take notice. It reminds us not to confuse the created with the Creator.
Fasting is a sign of our desire and commitment. It is a mistake to “use” fasting like magic (doing something in the natural to control the supernatural) or to blackmail God (like a hunger strike). It’s not about just giving up something you like for the sake of it – it is more about giving up something that has come between you and God, which makes our spiritual life less than it should be. Fasting brings us to the point of saying, “Lord, I commend this part to You, that the other parts that are lacking may be enriched to Your glory.”
In so doing, when we fast, it may may lead us in that one area, to an Easter where we can truly understand how “The Lord Is Risen”.