[Nederlandse versie]

The gospel according to Matthew, chapter 11, verses 16-19

16 “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:
17 “‘We played the pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not mourn.’
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

One of Christ’s beautiful names is ‘wisdom’ (1 Cor. 1:24). Through him we are ‘righteous’ and ‘holy’ (1 Cor. 1:30).

There is wisdom to be found in Allah’s prescription of fasting, teaches the Islam. It is healthy: your body is being cleansed from toxins; you may even lose weight. To break fasting when the dark sets in bonds people. You will train discipline and endurance. You learn to sympathise with the hungry fellow man.

With the new moon, the sugar festival, the festival of the breaking of the fasting, sets in. This ‘small fest’ is celebrated abundantly with good food, perfumes, new clothes and presents. They did it: long summer days, dusk till dawn, nothing consumed.

John fasted, Jesus feasted. John rebuked sinners, Jesus ate with them. Both were not of anyone’s liking. John was declared mental, Jesus was called a ‘greedy-guts’, and a ‘boozer’. Childish. Like children who do neither want to play wedding nor funeral. There’s godly wisdom in the sobriety of Jesus’ harbinger and the exuberance of John’s master.

The baptism in Christ shows our filthiness and our cleanliness. Very wise! Evidence? People with splendid clothing on the “wedding of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:7-8). Fasting is sensible when you perceive Jesus who persisted and took on His cross (Heb. 12:2). He said: “I am thirsty” (Joh. 19:28). You may drink from “the water of life” (Rev. 22:17).

‘Create in me a pure heart, O God,’ psalm 51:12 says.

Why do christians fast?
To sing/read: Psalm 51:13-17

Then I’ll teach your ways to sinners;
Rebels will turn back to you.
Free me from blood-guilt my Saviour,
God most merciful and true.
Then I’ll praise your righteousness;
Teach my lips your name to bless.
Sacrifice does not delight you,
Else my tribute I would bring;
Nor do you take any pleasure
In a whole burnt offering.
Contrite heart as sacrifice
You, O God, will not despise

(part sung starts in 1.40 min.)