The sufferings Christ endured were the works of men from which He suffered much but forgave much. In the last week of Jesus’ life, he suffered and died because of people’s unbelief. The last week of his life is called Passion Week, but Jesus fasted for 40 days before this painful week. Jesus went into the desert after receiving Holy Baptism from John in the water of the Jordan, and during this time, the Savior did not touch food for 40 nights and 40 days. This period is considered sacred and purifying and precedes a spiritual rebirth for the standard fasting period.
Jesus fasted for 40 days to strengthen Himself in the brutal battle He had to fight in the mission received from His Father, so this is why Jesus fasted for 40 days: to die on the Cross for the sins of the whole world. He had to face three temptations from Satan: 1. to transform the rocks into bread; 2. to throw Himself from Jerusalem; 3. to get the kingdoms of the worlds.During his 40 days in the wilderness, the Devil appeared to Him, trying to lead Him into temptation.
Jesus fasted for Him and us. He wandered in the wilderness for 40 days for the world’s sins and was tempted by Satan. And He overcame him by the power of the One who is in Him because He is greater than the One in the world.
Who is Jesus Christ?
Jesus Christ is God and Man. Yeshua is the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, God the Son, of one Being with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus fasted 40 days for He is eternally¹ born of the Father; through Him God, the Father creates all things. He incarnates Himself so that He may save us through the Incarnation, the Son of God. God the Man, Jesus Christ, is born of the Blessed Virgin Mary and brings us the good news of salvation through His messianic activity, fasting, and temptation in the wilderness; he sacrifices Himself and dies on the Cross for our salvation.
We confess the faith: In the One Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten, who was born of the Father before all ages: Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, One Being with the Father, through Whom all things were made. Who, for us, men and our salvation² came down from Heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man. And shall come again with glory, to judge the living and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.
What did Jesus say about fasting?
The Bible tells us that when you fast, do not put on a gloomy countenance, like the hypocrites who make their faces pale so that people may see that they are fasting. Verily I say unto you; they have taken their reward. But Thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head and wash thy face, that thou mayest show thyself fasting, not unto men, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee.
Jesus says there is a right way to fast and a wrong way. Matthew 6 teaches the crowds that fasting can be a form of religious hypocrisy, like almsgiving and showing prayers. He condemns the intention to fast in the sight of the world.
True fasting is kept in silence without showing oneself out. Jesus speaks of fasting in Matthew 17:21: Here is fasting pleasing to me: it loosens the chains of wickedness, reduces the bonds of bondage, releases the oppressed, and breaks every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and bring into your house the homeless wretch; if you see a naked man, cover him, and do not turn your back on your neighbor.
What did Jesus do while fasting?
Authentic repentance involves fasting with prayer. It is possible to confess your sins without repenting them. Sometimes fasting helps break up the clods in the soil of hearts, and it often leads to victory over sin. Fasting and prayer strengthen us and weaken the power of the old nature. Fasting and prayer bring spiritual strength³ into the lives of people.
While fasting, Jesus walked through the desert and prayed to God for the world.
The Bible links fasting to prayer, but it includes much more. It is not simply abstinence from food; fasting includes prayer, repentance, and heart-searching. If we are too fast, we must do it for the right reasons and in the right way.
Key Verse related to Jesus’ fast
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting for forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came to Him.
The Lord prepares Himself by fasting for His priestly ministry and fulfilling it. The Paschal Mystery. Jesus’ forty-day fast is reminiscent of Moses’ fast on Mount Sinai. Jesus, the new and faithful Moses, came into the world to bring the new law and redemption to His people. Refusing earthly food and the miracle-worker gestures that would have made him part of a temporal Messianic triumphalism, he manifests his desire to feed only on the will of his heavenly Father, which will lead him to death on the Cross.
Jesus had the Holy Spirit in Him, which is why He survived 40 days and 40 nights without food.
It is clear that from a Christian perspective and compared to Jewish practice, the meaning of fasting is a whole new one, closely related to the person of Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus announces that fasting, as a sign of sorrow, will no longer refer to ancient Israel’s past or present trials, and it will be subordinated to the paschal mystery of Christ.
What is the temptation of Jesus in the desert?
The theophany of Baptism marked the first moment of the Son’s proslavery. It follows the most mysterious episode recounted in the Gospel: the temptation of Christ by the Devil. Significantly, the encounter between the Incarnate Word and the Spirit of evil occurs. After Jesus had been revealed as God after He had received the fullness of the Spirit. And thus laid the foundations of the kingdom, beginning the work of man’s redemption.
Jesus was tempted three times in the desert, and the three temptations were:
performing the Messianic miracle with the rocks
the leap from the temple of Jerusalem
offering the kingdoms of the world
Although the victory of the Son of God was inevitable, the confrontation between Him and the evil Spirit had to take place so that the human nature in Jesus could overcome the temptation and freely choose the alternative of humility and sacrifice.
How did Jesus overcome temptation
Jesus overcame temptation with the power of the Holy Spirit. He stood up to the wiles of the Devil. By rejecting the last trial, Jesus firmly chose the mission of the suffering Messiah, removing the temptation to become the victorious Messiah that Israel was waiting for. So He did overcome temptation by following three simple steps:
1. By fasting
Jesus’ first temptation was with stones and bread (hunger). Jesus overcame it by fasting, the 40-day fast. As he drew near, the tempter said, ” If you are the Son of God, say that these stones may become bread. And He answered and said: It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
2. He conquered temptation with prayer
Jesus’ second temptation was broken by the prayer that opened Heaven. When the Devil took Him into the holy city, he put Him on the temple wing and said to Him: If Thou is the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, His angels shall command for Thee, and shall lift Thee on their hands, lest Thy foot dash against a stone. Jesus answered him; Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. And so, he succeeded in competing and defeating the temptation.
Jesus resists the Devil.
Jesus wanted to highlight the Bible verse that says that no temptation has not been fitted to human strength, but if we resist the Devil, he will flee from us. So he also defeated Satan’s third attempt to tempt him. When the Devil took Him up on a high mountain, he showed Him in a moment all the kingdoms of the world. And the Devil said unto Him; I will give thee all this dominion, and the brightness thereof. For it is given unto me, and I will give it to whom I will: therefore if thou wilt worships me, all shall be there.
And Jesus answered and said to him, Go back to me, Satan, for it is written: Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve. Then the Devil left him; behold, the angels came to Him and helped him. And the Devil, having ended all temptation, departed from Him for a time.
Prayer, though not mentioned the first time, is implied by the fact that Jesus states as Moses did “as the first time.” We are therefore dealing with a 40-day fast, accompanied by kneeling and prayer. But a fast in Hebrew meant fasting completely, not just selecting food.
Forty would thus suggest a period of transformation: the sinful generation that can be changed and cleaned in less than two months.
Christian tradition has preserved in memory the place where the Saviour Jesus fasted for 40 days, without eating or drinking anything, before beginning to preach the Gospel. It is Mount Carantania, which is near Jericho and the Jordan River. In the middle of the mountain is the cave where the Saviour sat in fasting and prayer and where the Devil tempted him.
Matthew the Evangelist records the Devil’s three temptations and leaves us the Saviour’s answers as an example of victory. And when Jesus fasted 40 days and forty nights, he was hungry. Fasting is not abstaining from food for a certain period; it is diet. The practice of fasting is not just for pastors and ministers in the Church; it is for all born-again Christians.
Biblical fasting is abstaining from food for spiritual purposes. Fasting has always been an essential part of our relationship with God. Fasting brings you into a deeper relationship with God, as David tells us in Psalm 42. When you don’t eat for a few days for spiritual purposes, your Spirit becomes immune to worldly things and very sensitive to God’s things.