Lord God, may my worship, my confession of sin, and my devotion to You prepare me to serve You today.
Read Mark 2:18–22
Jesus Questioned About Fasting
18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?”
19 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. 20 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.
21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhen does a helpful spiritual observance become a meaningless ritual? Do you have ritual or do you have relationship?
I was pleased to read that the European Union was introducing a ‘right to repair’ law. This is supposed to prevent manufacturers from making products that must be replaced when fairly minor parts fail. Great news for people like me who like to ‘make do and mend’! There are times, however, when even I have to admit that the time has come to throw something away and buy a replacement.
Jesus’ shocking message was that He had not come to patch up the religious system but to bring in something new. Just as you would not patch an old cloak with new, unshrunk cloth, it won’t work to take a bit of Jesus’ teaching and add it on to the old religious way. The Pharisees taught their disciples to observe fasts prescribed in the Old Testament strictly (Leviticus 16:29–34). John’s disciples may have been doing likewise or perhaps they were fasting because he was in prison. Jesus makes a shocking claim that He is the ‘bridegroom’ (19,20) – a new era has come (20).
New wine, which contains live yeast and is still fermenting, can be put in new wineskins which have some elasticity; try to put it in old skins and they will simply burst. The new life which Jesus brings demands radical change.
Is Jesus challenging you to make radical changes? What would that involve?
Eternal God, I need the gift of discernment to know what to keep and what to replace with the new in my Christian walk and life. You are always doing a new thing for a new day.
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