last week we observed Jesus walking along the sea of Galaiee. As he was walking he saw Levi who was a tax collector. Jesus stopped and address him, saying follow me. Levi who we now know is also Mark left his tax booth and began following Jesus. We then observe Jesus sharing a formal celebratory meal with Levi and other tax collectors and other common people described as “sinners” because they did’t follow the strict oral traditions of the law as interp. by the Pharisees and scribes. We know this was a formal meal because Jesus is reclining with them. That is who they shared special meals in that culture. This shows us the Heart of God here. The Pharisees become very upset with Jesus who is supposed to be a rabi sharing a meal of this kind with these common sinners. Tax collects and others were despised and seen as unclean. Jesus brilliantly responds with a analogy: People who are sick need a physician. If He doesn’t go to the people, he would be as a Doctor who never sees sick people and that would be ridiculous. The pharisees were known throughout as “The righteous” because of their strict adherence to the law. Jesus tells them all, I didn’t come for the righteous, but He came for sinners. This was quite a rebuke to them. This again shows God is soooooo much more concerns with the heart and the true state of a man on the inside than He is with what is on the outside. The pharisees were blind to how depraved they were due to their outward religion. Many people unfortunately are stuck there as well. We will pick up today starting in vs 18 of Chapter 2
The Disciples weren’t fasting
The Disciples weren’t fasting
Now John’s disciples and the pharisees were fasting,
There is only one biblically prescribed fast and that is for the Day of Atonement in vv 29,31 the word affect is used there. Other fast grew over time in the OT such as ;
The Pharisees fasted twice a week on Monday and Thursday. The Jews sometimes fasted as a result of personal loss, sometimes as an expression of repentance, preparation for prayer, drawing near to the Lord.
John’s disciples may have been fasting because their leader was currently imprisoned. Also John taught a baptism of repentance which would include the practice of fasting.
There are paralle passages of this Text in and ; the NT doesn’t say much on the subject of Fasting. Besides these parallel passages ; 13:2-3 and 14:23
Fasting primary, in fact always in the bible had to do with the withholding ones self from food. So in this context particularly, the act of not eating is on display.
vs 18 were fasting or made a practice of fasting. They approach Jesus, it is pointed out the disciples of Jesus do not fast.
Jesus responds with a counter question which was very common with Rabi’s, Mark points out Jesus frequently used a counter question when Teaching.
vs 19 and Jesus said to them can the wedding guest fast while the bridegroom is with them?
So Jesus begins with analogy here to a wedding feast. A celebration!! He compares himself to a bridegroom, which in the OT was the LORD cf ; and his disciples as wedding guests. Fasting as an expression of sorrow and affliction, He answers his question with continuing the analogy
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast
The Kingdom of God is near, the WORD has become flesh. The anointed one is present. Right now is a time for celebration! not sorrow and morning. Indeed a wedding is a symbol of the salvation associated with the Kingdom of God.
The way to God is not through religious practices but through Joyful association with Jesus.
vs 20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day
Jesus tells them the current situation will change, He says the bridegroom will be taken away the word “Aparthe” implies violent removal just as it is prophesied in
on that day his disciples will be fasting, filled with grief and sorrow in the place of Joy.
This is the first hint of the cross in Mark’s Gospel
Out with the Old and in with New
Out with the Old and in with New
No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”
The Twin parables here have a much broader relevance than just fasting. They teach the incompatibility of the old way, (Pharisaical scribal Judaism and the new which is Christianity).
Here Jesus is introducing our God was doing something new and those who do not have the Spirit of God at the out pouring will not be able to tolerate it.
They will be confused by it, they will be threatened by it. We see this plain as day as the NT unfolds in the book of acts, but before Pentacost we see the new wine of Jesus busting the old skins. He was killed because the old garment couldn’t take the new patch. The old wine skins could stand the fermentation process of the new wine.
The attempt to bind the newness of the Gospel to the old religion of Judaism is futile
In the presence of Jesus there is to be Joy, celebration and worship. We obtain this and sometimes must fight for it by reminding ourselves the truth of the Gospel daily. We have fellowship with Him through His word, through prayer and through the fellowship with his people
Fasting is to be done in the correct context, we never will obtain God’s favor through rituals or religious practices. We
We must always be on guard, being sure never to build a yoke Jesus never intended us to bare or carry. Man made religion brings death to Joy, and stifles life giving truth
Do you have old garments or old wine skin you need to get rid of? I’ve seen this when a new Christian come into a fellowship and the people their have built their own rules or religious practices the new christian and the old ones are incompatible. What needs to change in you to make you more like Jesus
Do you invite people to the wedding feast? Are you an inviting person or a threatening person? Jesus was with the common people even despised people, we can see he was inviting, he wasn’t compromising but inviting. The pharisees were threatening because of their man made practices, and rigid cold hearts.
Ask God to search your heart for old wine skins or old garments. Ask God to place the new wine of the Gospel. The truth will set you free.