“Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”
King James Version (KJV)
6:16 When ye fast? - Our Lord does not enjoin either fasting, alms - deeds, or prayer: all these being duties which were before fully established in the Church of God. Disfigure - By the dust and ashes which they put upon their heads, as was usual at the times of solemn humiliation.
Mt 6:16 When ye fast. This is the third example of the right and wrong way of righteousness, in contrast. The same principle of doing nothing for mere show is still insisted upon. Fasting is not wrong, and, indeed, is often blessed richly, but not when our object is to appear to men to fast. Of a sad countenance. It was common to assume a woe-begone look, put ashes upon the head, and even wear sackcloth, in order to show to the world deep humiliation. This is condemned.