In the first century, Jews fasted on Mondays and Thursdays. The original Christians were all Jewish, and were accustomed to fasting as a spiritual discipline. Most often that fast took the form of avoiding meat in the diet. In those days, meat was a luxury food. Because most people had to buy meat in the market back then, it was expensive. But anyone could grow vegetables or forage for them, and anyone could catch a fish in a lake or a stream. So the poor could still eat without much money. Meat was known as a rich man's food, and fish was thought of as poor people's food. That is why the most common form of fasting was to omit meat with the exception of fish.
Although not done for religious reasons, our family nearly always eats fish on Friday. In Arkansas, our fish came to us without monetary cost, we simply caught it in the Little Red River. Our freezer always overflowed with the catch of the weekend. Now that we are city-folk in PA, we must buy our fish at the market. Not only do we not have time to fish, the fish in the local rivers are fraught with mercury and toxins.
And so, this evening, we sat in our lawn chairs and watched Blaine and the neighborhood children catch fireflies, waiting for the fish to cook.
Historically, first century Christians did resume fasting after Jesus’ Ascension, moving the fasts to Wednesday (the day of the betrayal) and Friday (the day of the crucifixion).
Nothing in the Bible actually requires us to fast, however, Jesus did assume that believers were fasting. "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting... " Mt. 6:16
"Then John’s disciples came and asked him, 'How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”
" Jesus answered, 'How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast."
-Matthew 9; 14-15
Fasting from Sundown on Tuesday to sundown on Wednesday is something the I do on occasion, although I hope no one can tell I am fasting.
We just finished reading this splendid book as an oral reading project. I highly recommend it if you would like to set your child's heart on fire for Jesus!
I read that in 1894, the publisher of this book rewarded the author, Florence Kingsley with $1,000 for writing the story. Mark Hamby, President of Lamplighters stated, "In six weeks the demand for the book was so great, they printed 200,000 additional copies.
The award-winning entry, Titus: A Comrade of the Cross, is provocative, full of suspense and drama. The story of Titus and his crippled brother climaxes at the foot of the cross, where the real hero is proclaimed. The most compelling moment is saved until the very end. It will take your breath away."
It can be found for purchase on Lamplighter.net, although we borrowed our copy from a friend. This is our 3rd book selected from Lamplighter, and we have enjoyed each book immensely, with invaluable life lessons learned by all of us!
"God never sends His servants on a fool's errand. It pleases God by the foolishness of preaching to accomplish His divine purpose, not because of the power of preaching, nor the power of the preacher, nor any power in those preached to, but because 'all power' is given unto Christ 'in heaven and earth,' and He chooses to work by the teaching of the Word."