When God decided to send someone on earth to die for the sins of humankind, he sent his only son Jesus Christ. Before he started his ministry that would later accomplish God’s mission on earth, he was baptized and led into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. During this time, the bible records that Jesus fasted. This brings up a question by many bible readers, “how long did Jesus fast?”
According to Mathew 4:1-2, Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights without eating. The Bible also records that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the Devil. This statement has been implied by many bible scholars who have argued that God needed to strengthen him spiritually more than he was physically, to prepare him for his ministry.
So, what does the Bible say about Jesus’ fasting? What did Jesus say about fasting? How many times did Jesus fast, according to the Bible? Why was Jesus fasting for 40 days? How did Jesus survive 40 days and nights without food? Was Jesus’ time in the desert literal? What was the point of Jesus fasting? Read on to learn the answers to these questions and more.
What does the Bible say about Jesus’ fasting?
The Bible describes the events before and after Jesus fasted but does not explain what happened on those forty days and nights Jesus was in the wilderness. First, the Bible lets us know in Mathew 3:16-17 that Jesus went fast immediately after being baptized.
Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. Mathew 4:1-2 says, “Then the Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the Devil. After spending forty day and nights without food, Jesus was hungry”. The scripture does not reveal details on how Jesus fasted for forty days and nights or his activities.
After his fast was completed, the Devil came up to him and tempted him three ways, as Mathew 4:1-11 narrates. First, the Devil asked Jesus to turn the stones into bread if he was indeed the son of God. Knowing his intention, Jesus quickly replied that man could not live on bread alone and needed God’s word.
The Devil then took Jesus to the highest point of the temple in Jerusalem and challenged him to throw himself down, assuring him that God would send his angels to hold him and he would not be hurt. Having been filled with God’s Spirit, Jesus answered the Devil that God is not to be put to the test.
The Devil then tried Jesus for the last time, as he dared Jesus to worship him and get all the kingdoms of the world in return. Jesus, however, got angry and demanded the Devil get away from him, stating that he was to worship no one else but God.
After the temptation, the Bible records that the Angels came and helped Jesus. He then left the wilderness and started to preach his message, as Mathew 4:17 records, “From that time Jesus began to preach his message: “Turn away from your sins because the Kingdom of heaven is near!”
What did Jesus say about fasting?
Jesus does not speak more often about fasting in the Bible but conveys his message in incidences where he talks about it. In the first incident, he directs whoever is fasting to keep clean by washing his face and combing his hair so that no one else will know they are fasting, as recorded in Mathew 6:16-18. This is because hypocrites often put on sad faces to let everyone know they are fasting.
The second incident where Jesus spoke about fasting was when he was questioned by the people on why his disciples were constantly eating and drinking instead of fasting, like the disciples of John and the Pharisees. Jesus gives them his response in Mathew 5:34-35 informing them that there is no way his disciples will fast as long as he is with them, likening himself to the bridegroom in a wedding and his disciples the guests.
How many times did Jesus fast, according to the Bible?
The Bible does not specify the times Jesus fasted while he was in the wilderness. It revealed that he fasted for forty days and nights without eating anything. Mathew 4:1-2 says, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting for forty days and forty nights, he was hungry”.
Why was Jesus fasting for forty days?
It has yet to be determined why Jesus chose to fast for forty days and not any other days. However, the number 40 has appeared severally in the Bible, and several bible scholars have argued that God always has a deeper meaning attached to the number.
In Genesis 7:12, God caused the rain to fall on earth for forty days and forty nights. “And rain fell on the earth for forty days and forty nights.”
Acts 7:30 says, “After forty years had passed, an Angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai.”
Deuteronomy 9:18 says, “Then once again I fell prostrate before the Lord; for forty days and forty nights. I ate no bread and drank no water because of all the sin you had committed, doing what was evil in the Lord’s sight and arousing his anger”.
The number forty also appears in Number 13:25 and Deuteronomy 8:2, where Moses reminds the Israelites how God led them in the wilderness for forty years. While the Bible does not reveal the meaning behind the number forty, it is evident that it has been used severally in the Bible significantly.
How did Jesus survive 40 days and nights without food?
We can only possibly assume why Jesus could survive for forty days and nights without food if we o so ourselves. However, we know that God was with Jesus all the time he was fasting and gave him the strength he needed this whole time.
Additionally, many medical experts have stated that people can live a few weeks without food but cannot survive more than 21 days without water. This is why some religious scholars argue that he did not eat food but drank water to stay for forty days and nights while fasting. Mathew 4:2 says, “After spending forty days and nights without food, Jesus was hungry.”
Was Jesus’ time in the desert literal?
While it is unclear whether the forty days and nights were literal, theologians from verse-by-verse ministries have argued that there is no reason the number forty represented a certain period, implying that Jesus indeed spent the entire forty days and nights in the desert.
What was the point of Jesus fasting?
The Bible only records one incident in which Jesus fasted: when he was about to start his ministry. Bible scholars from Got Question ministries have suggested that it was important for Jesus to fast, as God needed to strengthen him spiritually and live by his word rather than on his human nature. Jesus’ fasting was also necessary as it drew Jesus closer to God, who led him throughout the three years he ministered on earth.
Jesus must also have fasted because it was God’s will for him to do so. From the start to the end of his earthly ministry, we see that all that happened to Jesus was only possible as God had decided for it to be so.
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- Was Jesus’ time in the desert literal?
- Christian fasting- what does the Bible say?
- How long Did Jesus’ fast in the wilderness last?
- How did Jesus survive 40 days?
- What is the significance of 40 days in the Bible?
- Why did Jesus fast?
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.