Q. I know that there are different versions of fasting: some where people are allowed to eat after 3pm, some after sunset, some can eat meat, some only chicken, some no meat at all, etc. With all the variations on fasting that are out there, I want to know if it is clear how Jesus fasted? I’ve been told that He couldn’t have done it on water alone for 40 days because his digestion tract would be so severely damaged afterwards. I would greatly appreciate your insight to this!
A. Moses (Exodus 24:18 & 34:28), Elijah (1 Kings 19:8) and Jesus (Matt. 4:1) all did 40 day fasts. Moses did two of them back-to-back, and at least during the second one had neither food nor drink. Although the Bible doesn’t specifically say so, the common view is that Elijah and Jesus ate nothing during their fasts. Many people have done fasts of this duration without harming themselves, but it shouldn’t be done without first determining that you’re in good health and knowing that God has called you to do it. God wouldn’t call any of us, but especially His own Son, to do something that is harmful to us.
Some people fast by only denying themselves the foods or activities they like the best. Daniel fasted for 21 days by denying himself “choice” foods, meat and wine, and lotions for his skin. (Daniel 10:2-3) The two main principles of fasting seem to be to make sure God is calling you to do it, and make sure you do what you’ve committed to do. Like everything else, it’s the intent of your heart that matters.