Mark 2:18-20 (NIV)
Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?”  Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them.  But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.
Ah fasting. Fun topic. I have so far resisted writing about fasting because it feels personal and because I am a reluctant faster.
The Jews of Jesus’s time were regular fasters–like twice a week. The only problem is they seem to have forgotten why.
Fasting is an expression of grief and humility, it is a form of mourning.
On my first long fast I realized that even apart from the hunger and weakness, fasting is a form of death. The Jews, like us, were very food oriented. Opt out of food, you opt out of the party.
So Jesus is the party. In fact he was the reason for the fasting–Lord bring us refuge was the message of the fast. Jesus is the one who sets us free to celebrate.
We rejoice because he brings hope. We fast to acknowledge our own hearts are broken without him.