“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?”” (Mark 2:18). Before I quote Jesus’ answer, we must realize that there had been a history of tradition and laws written by and for the Jews that required them to fast at certain times and for certain reasons. The purpose of fasting had been lost through their tradition and in most cases it was done for the wrong reasons (See Isaiah 58:3-4; Jeremiah 14:11-12; Zechariah 5:4-5; Matthew 6:16-18).
Jesus answers their question with; “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast” (Mark 2:19). The understanding of this is wrapped up in knowing who Jesus is and the value of His presence. John the Baptist knew Jesus as “the Bridegroom” (John 3:29). The Hope of Israel who had been long waited for was finally with them and there was no need to fast in preparation for His coming.
Jesus explains that “Days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day” (Mark 2:20). Perhaps we do not realize the days we are in. Jesus is not here as He was with the disciples. The conditions in the church today require us to fast and repent.
In this and the next two blogs, I want to challenge you, and the whole church, to carefully think about what damaging impact tradition has had. It falsely makes us feel safe because we are doing what our denomination or ancestors have done for centuries. Another problem with tradition is that it fails to honestly look at Scripture for guidance into what is “truth”. Will YOU?
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