It is the season of Lent. As I like to illuminate the Jewish origins of Catholic tradition, I would like to point out that just as there is a 40 day fast, Lent, before Pascha (Easter); there is the Fast of Esther, which some do in the daylight hours leading up to Purim, and for others it takes place after Purim and before Passover (Pesach in Hebrew, and Pascha in Greek, which is also the Greek and Latin name for Easter). It is traditional in those weeks between the holy days to start removing the cHametz from one’s house, both physically, as well as spiritually, just as we try to remove the puffed upness of pride and sin from ourselves during Lent, so that come Pascha/Pesach, we can eat the sinless (unleaven) bread (matzo) of life, and celebrate the First Fruits (Yom HaBikkurim) of Salvation (Yeshua).
THE FAST OF ESTHER
As we approach Purim we remember the fast of Esther. It is a Jewish tradition to fast during the daylight hours leading up to Purim. Fasting is often overlooked today in the Church but is a very powerful weapon in our spiritual arsenal that can break down strongholds, give us power over the enemy, and bring the anointing of God.
1. Both Moses (Ex.34:28) and Yeshua (Matt.4:1-2) fasted 40 days.
2. Samuel called on Israel to fast for revival. (1 Sam.7:3-6)
3. David fasted in hope that his son might be healed. (2 Sam.12:16)
4. Jehoshaphat declared a national fast seeking God to deliver Judah from their enemies. (2 Chr.20:1-3)
5. Esther fasted for favor and for the deliverance of the Jewish people. (Est.4:16)
6. Ezra fasted over the sins of the people. (Ez.10:6)
7. The prophetess Anna fasted for Jerusalem’s redemption through the coming Messiah. (Luke 2:37-38)
8. The early Church fasted to get a hold of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 13:1-3)
9. Yeshua (Jesus) said that fasting can give us power over satanic strongholds. (Mark 9:17-29)
10. Fasting breaks chains, lifts burdens, and sets us free! (Isa.58:6)