Fasting – Matt 6:16-18
Jesus reveals God’s view of fasting. Fasting was one of the three pillars of Jewish religious life, the others were prayer and alms. Jesus says that when a person fasts do not but like those religious people who put on a long face and draw attention to themselves when they fast. This was a false show of piety. Those who do this have already been given their reward. Jesus states that rewards come for those who perform their works of religious service in secret.
Jesus says that when you fast you should wash your face, comb your hair and do not even look like you are fasting. In Jesus’ day fasting had become a spectacle. Jesus makes is clear that when you fast and you do it for an audience of one which is the father, He will reward you openly for what you do in secret.
God is concerned about the matters of the heart. Jesus is speaking against the practice of self promotion which men can easily fall into. Pride is at the heart of this issue. Man loves to exalt themselves. Personal self worth is important but not at the price of pure motives and attitudes.