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Daily Bible Readings

Jesus' Way Can't Fit in the Old Ways

Posted by Dan Sullivan on

[18] Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” [19] And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. [20] The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. [21] 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. [22] 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.”

Mark 2:18–22 ESV Read More

In Jesus’ day, it was common for a really devout person to fast 2 or three times a week. They would skip all meals from the time they woke up until the last meal of the day, which they would eat. The purpose was typically

  1. To seek something from God with such intensity that you didn’t eat
  2. To grieve and mourn (over something sad) so bad that you didn’t want any food
  3. To grieve and mourn (over some sin you did) so bad that you knew you didn’t deserve food
  4. To make a period of time especially holy and to purify yourself in that time of holiness

The onlookers watched Jesus and His disciples closely because their lives seemed so different than anything people had seen before. When it came to fasting, they were different too. 

Some of the Pharisees made a big show of their religious acts. They could give money in a container that made a lot of noise so everyone could hear them giving money. They would pray on a street corner so that many people could hear how devout they were. They wore special clothes on special days to show how long they had been faithful or what great sacrifices they had made to the Lord. 

Jesus and His disciples don’t show any of these signs and it causes a stir. The great part is, because of who Jesus is and His effect on His followers, most of the reasons for a fast were blown away. 

  1. God Himself is right there to actively hear their requests, so they don’t have to convince Him to listen. 
  2. There is nothing to grieve about with Jesus around. He is healing and restoring everything to the right way.
  3. Jesus is eating with sinners, preaching forgiveness, and drawing everyone around Him into a Holy life.
  4. Jesus IS a Holy time, and He celebrates it by feasting at people’s houses. No preparation or reflection time is needed, just come on and follow Him!

These are all a totally new concept for humankind. Whatever you heard about God in the past, be confronted with this new news: He wants to be around you, eat at your house, forgive your sins, and fill you with joy. Salvation and peace with God was never meant to be the rigorous act of piety that it’s been made into. Jesus just wants you to believe it’s true. That’s why He tells the Pharisees that you have to think differently. Like a wineskin or a coat, the whole thing is new. 

Even better, take Jesus statement that life in Him is completely new literally. If you keep living according to a law of doing this and that to make God happy, when you follow Jesus, you’ll explode! 

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Tags: faith, freedom, grace, law, mercy, salvation, works

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