PRAY: Humbly ask God to give you wisdom to understand this portion of the Bible and the faith to live out what He reveals to you.
READ: Mark 2:18-22
Don’t you hate it when people question you? Hate may sound too harsh, but isn’t it a real drag when people try to impose their spirituality or traditions on you?
The Gospel of Mark describes numerous instances where people question Jesus. Why in the world would he eat with tax collectors? Who does he think he is forgiving sins? And then in 2:18-20, why don’t his followers “Fast” like the others? Whatever the reasons are for the specific “Fasts” of the Pharisees and the followers of John (the Baptist) here are not clear, but they think that the followers of Jesus should be modeling the same behaviors.
The Old Testament specified only one time in which “Fasting” was mandatory—the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29). However, those looking for reasons to catch Jesus misbehaving expected him to practice the same super spiritual stuff they were doing. Of course, fasting outside of the Day of Atonement was just fine, it just was not considered mandatory. The Old Testament showed times when people could be so upset with their sin that they fasted (1 Samuel 7:6). So, add comma fasting is not bad, but like anything else, when you take something deemed good that appears in the Bible and add things to it or twist its application, there will be problems.
So how did Jesus respond? If you have been reading Mark, you know that you don’t really want to mess with Jesus when it comes to stuff like this. He responds here in a sort of common sense way. There is no reason to mourn or fast when Jesus is with them. This is a time to celebrate! The picture of a wedding shows that this is party time! However, there will be a time to fast and mourn when the bridegroom is “taken away.” This “taken away” is a reference to the death of Jesus, on the cross. (Read Isaiah 53:8). Jesus, the bridegroom in this story, will be taken away to suffer the penalty for our sins.
So what does this death bring? Newness! In Mark 2:20-22, we see Jesus gives two parables to describe the new life that has come. The old ways will give way to the new kingdom. Judaism of old can’t completely mesh with Jesus and the Gospel. He does not just patch up the old, but rather he brings the new! We cannot just absorb Jesus into Judaism or fit Him into our lives here in Tallahassee. The parables of the patch and wine both point to the real newness of what Jesus brings. We cannot compromise with old religion and Jesus. Jesus came to fulfill the old and make new.
- What newness in your life has resulted from knowing Jesus?
- What are some of the things, like those requiring fasting, that many Christians attempt to place upon believers?
- Is it possible to just “patch in” a little Jesus to your life?
Memorize: Mark 2:12-17
This week's devotional is written by Todd Inserra. Todd is a City Church Owner who has served as a City Group Leader and is a local fire fighter.