#916. Jesus questioned about fasting (10/10/23)
Today, we continue in our Luke - Exploring who Jesus is - series.
‘They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.” Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.” (Luke 5:33-35)
Lesson: The Christian life is to have moments of feasting and fasting - celebration of God and fasting and mourning as we plead for His Kingdom to come.
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Yesterday, we saw that If we are truly seeking to reach those who don’t know Jesus, we will, like Jesus, on occasion, be misunderstood as being in compromise. When they see Jesus eating and drinking at this banquet, some are offended and wonder if a religious teacher should be behaving like this. They question Him on fasting because they feel that self-sacrifice (asceticism) rather than feasting should mark out a truly holy person.
Jesus, firstly, challenges their unbelief. They are failing to celebrate who Jesus is and that God is with them! Fasting, He is saying, is very important, but feasting is more appropriate at times such as this when God has come among His people. He uses the analogy of a wedding when it is inappropriate to fast and mourn at such a moment of celebration.
Secondly, after speaking about celebration because Jesus is with them, He goes on to speak of His being taken from them. This is a reference to His death and ascension into heaven. At that time, Jesus teaches, ‘in those days they will fast.’ In this era, we are to have seasons of feasting and fasting. We are to have times of celebration and eating together. We are also to have times of prayer and fasting as we mourn the world and our desire for Jesus to save and restore.
The Christian life is to have moments of feasting and fasting - celebration of God and fasting and mourning as we plead for His Kingdom to come. Our reading today tells us: ‘“But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”’
So are we all feasting, or are we all fasting? Do we have a balance of both? Remember that, ‘the joy of the Lord is your strength,’ so if we are to fast and pray, we do need to be celebrating God’s mercy and power.
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