The Pilgrim Path (4-13-2020)
The Pilgrim Path---Mark's Gospel 2: 18 -22
The rain falls...may the Spirit fall upon us...
Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And the people came and said to him, "Why do John's disciples and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?" 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. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears it 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."
---Fasting: The Pharisees were very bothered that Jesus' disciples were not fasting like John's disciples---and like them (and they considered themselves just about absolutely holy). So the question was---what gives? Of course, Jesus is the Lord of Life---The Bridegroom of Covenant Blessing: You don't "fast" while He's around. Yet, Jesus made it clear that this particular spiritual discipline is to "be" a component of our lives once He is ascended (especially in private, Matthew 6: 16-18). Sadly, it seems the Pharisees often fasted simply to be "seen" of men. Jesus said "that" was their only reward. So sad---to do that twice a week---a form---just to be "seen"---with no benefit for your soul (Luke 18: 12).
---For a historical review: Go back over Zechariah chapter 7---the people were wondering if they should continue to "fast" as they had? The LORD asks through Zechariah, "was it for me that you fasted?" Quite the revelation of their hearts...Man doesn't necessarily mind "religious forms"---he can perform them without conformity of the heart. As you process through Zechariah chapter 7---you find that the LORD wanted a by-product of "fasting" to be: justice, mercy, care for the widow---the poor, the sojourner in your midst...Fasting has so much "to do" with restoring "humility" to my soul and a since of my utter dependence upon Him to "walk" in His ways. It's "never" about, "Well, I took care of that---now it's back to business as usual..."
---Figure out your sewing? Don't put unshrunk cloth on an old garment?
---Figure out your wine and the wineskins you "put" it in?
---Far more than "patching" ---The Lord Jesus Christ did not come to simply "dress up" the Old Covenant. He came to introduce the New Covenant---and He even established it by the offering of His own blood. No new wine--- in old skins here. The Living Christ came to write the Law of God upon human hearts---not just upon stone (Hebrews 10: 15,16). When we place ourselves at Jesus' feet---and ask for His help---He gives it...
---For the best offering, fasting often helps: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." Psalm 51:17
"Neither need we fear crosses, or sigh, or be sad for anything that is this side of heaven, if we have Christ." Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661)
Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged,
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness,
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Joseph Scriven (1819-1886)
Grace and Peace in Jesus Our Lord, Pastor Jason