Tag Archives: fast

Matthew 6 – Religion & Relationship

Jesus sermon while on the mount continues through chapter 6 and into 7.  Here we get into more depth of life and ministry.  Jesus begins to deal with what it means to serve and worship Him.  Here we begin to see and get an understanding of what religion is, our purpose, and having a relationship with the Father.

From chapter 5 to 6 there is a transition from dealing with personal relationships to how we relate  to the world and to God.  Jesus criticizes the Pharisees and religious leaders because while they obey the letter of the law, they do so for personal and political gain.  It’s not that they care for the poor and orphans.  It’s that they desire to show the world that they are obeying the commands of God.  Meanwhile Jesus is saying here not that doing those kinds of things is wrong, they’re not.  In fact the pharisees are completely correct in giving to the poor and praying and fasting and everything else.  The issue is not so much in what they do, rather it’s in how they do it.

Jesus the Christ seems to be saying here that why and how we do what we do may be even more important than our doing it.  He tells the disciples that the pharisees have the action and obedience right, which was more than most, but at the same time He was very critical of them for how and why they were doing it:
Give to the poor, but do it in secret so you will have treasure in heaven.
Pray like this, but not in vain repetitions.
Forgive others so it may be forgiven you.
Make sure you fast, but don’t let others see or know you are fasting.
Don’t store up your treasures here on earth.  Store them up in heaven where they have real value.
You can’t serve God / YHWH and wealth.  You can either serve the maker or the tool.

Then last but certainly not least… Do not Worry!  God / YHWH is in control.  He provides all things for all.  Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will continue and be added.  I honestly believe that this is one of the most accepted sins in the church.  When we worry, we live by works and not by faith.  We say, “We know You say You are in control, but I don’t really believe that.  Not fully.”  I know that this is something that I struggle with on a daily basis.

John Camiolo

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Matthew 4 – Preparation

There are quite a few really interesting things going on in this chapter.  It is full of details and ideas that really make you think… or should make you think.  For instance, why did Jesus go into the wilderness?  Did He go to spend time with His Father?  Was He looking for clarification or direction?  Did He need some time of peace and quiet so that He could rest and prepare for His coming ministry?  Did He choose to go into the wilderness, or was he sent or led there?  Verse one says, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness…”  So this was a directed thing.  It was something that the Holy Spirit was directing Him to do, and not necessarily something that He was pursuing on His own.

So we know that he was led there.  Strong’s definition for the word used for “led” is:

to lead up; by extension to bring out; specifically to sail away: – bring (again, forth, up again), depart, launch (forth), lead (up), loose, offer, sail, set forth, take up.

So He was led like the wind leads a sail boat.  With enough work, a sail boat CAN move against the wind, but it is much faster and easier for a sailboat to accept and be led by the wind.

This again leads us to the question, why?   Why was He led into the wilderness…  time with the Father?  …seeking direction?  …rest & preparation?  Maybe any or all of these are related to why Jesus went into the wilderness, but the big, major reason is defined in verse one.  “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”  So Jesus whole reason and purpose for being in the wilderness was to be tempted.  That’s quite the statement isn’t it?  Jesus was led (like a sailing ship) into the wilderness to be tempted.  What is Jesus thought about this time / season?  Well, two chapters later Jesus is teaching His disciples about prayer and He directs them to pray “And DO NOT lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”  That’s quite the statement isn’t it!  He has gone through it, and now He basically tells His disciples, “You do NOT want to do that!”

If we continue on, we find Jesus fasting for 40 days and 40 nights.  How many of us have fasted in our lives?  I know that I have.  Usually we fast for a reason, we have a question that needs an answer.  We have a problem that needs a result.  We need to reconnect to God / YHWH.  All of these are reasons we fast.  We fast in order to hear from and connect / reconnect to YHWH.  Jesus fasts here for 40 days and 40 nights, after finishing His fast, the very first voice he hears… is the tempter.  When we fast, whose voice do we expect to hear?  Do we fast to hear from the tempter or from YHWH?  Does that mean that we always hear from God, or even from God first?  We may pursue God, but we must be careful that the first word we hear while seeking YHWH may be the tempter rather than the Father.

There’s so much more to this chapter.  Please, please, take some time to study it… but then i could say the same thing about every other chapter of the Bible as well.

Blessings,

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

P.S. Also of note, this is what happens directly after the Holy Spirit comes upon Him, and YHWH tells the world, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased!”

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