Fasting: A type of Christ.

A “type” of Christ is something that is an example of his mission or story. For example, “Jonah and the Whale” is a type of Christ, since Jonah spent 3 days in the fish, and lived, and Christ spent 3 days in the tomb and came back to life. Here’s more info about typology.

In Mormon culture a fast is going without food or drink for 2 meals or 24 hours. For example, one might eat lunch on Saturday, skip dinner and breakfast, and eat lunch the next day. This sort of self-denial is common to many religions. In the month of Ramadan, for example, followers of Islam go without food during daylight hours. In Mormonism, fasting is accompanied by prayer and a donation of the funds saved by not eating. This money is put into a special fund which is used to purchase food and goods for the needy. We try to fast about once per month, on the first Sunday of the month.

There are many benifits to fasting, and many reasons to fast. Here’s an example from the lds.org page on fasting.

On one occasion, the Savior cast a devil out from a child and used this experience to teach His disciples about the power of prayer and fasting. His disciples asked Him, “Why could not we cast him out?” Jesus answered: “Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” (See Matthew 17:14-21.)

This account teaches that prayer and fasting can give added strength to those giving and receiving priesthood blessings. The account can also be applied to our personal efforts to live the gospel. If we have a weakness or sin that we have struggled to overcome, we may need to fast and pray in order to receive the help or forgiveness we desire. Like the demon that Christ cast out, our difficulty may be the kind that will go out only through prayer and fasting.

I believe that one reason we are taught to fast is to better understand Jesus Christ. When we fast, because of fast offerings, we make it possible for another person to be fed while we go hungry. That’s a miracle. In essence we are taking another person’s hunger onto ourselves in the same way that Christ took our suffering upon himself.

11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.

Alma 7:11

I try to remember this whenever fast Sunday comes up and I find myself reluctant to fast. I think about how hard it was for Jesus Christ to do what he did, and try to remember what it means to be called a disciple of Christ. It makes it much easier to do something small, like skip a couple of meals. And as usual, the blessings to us are far far greater than the cost of our sacrifice.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to fast.

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About

Greg is a business owner, writer, husband and father. (not in that order, though.)

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Posted in Blessings, doctrine, obedience
One comment on “Fasting: A type of Christ.
  1. Manny says:

    In essence we are taking another person’s hunger onto ourselves in the same way that Christ took our suffering upon himself.
    ————–
    You just offended truly starving / poor people and the Savior in one shot.

    You go without TWO meals and donate at most $15 every month and now you are nearly a literal Savior. You may disagree, but many see this as arrogance of giant proportions.

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