9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
10 And as Jesus[b] reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
14 Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast,[c] but your disciples do not fast?” 15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. 16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. 17 Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”
Out With The Old
Jesus, I didn’t know that the fasting in this passage referred to ritual fasts that commemorated historical events. I didn’t know you used the question of fasting to deal with ancient traditions. How can we know these important contextual pieces of information by just looking at the text? My mother came to me last night with questions regarding animals that seemed to be killed three times over in a passage. Why are there passages that do not make sense on the first reading or without the background information. Our minds are darkened, but even what is meant to elucidate them is hidden from us somewhat. Is it so that we need to work at pursuing you. Those who do not pursue a deeper relationship with you get from it exactly what they put in? I remember reading through the Bible when I was being young and being excited at what seems superficial understanding now. I guess it’s like that in any relationship. Things need to keep fresh and new.
The Pharisees and scribes wanted to keep everything the same. When you tried to take them deeper, they resisted. They held to the fasts they had kept to remember the past, but they could not accept the renewal that you brought. I think I am flexible, but then I realise that I am stubborn in too many areas. I am afraid that the church traditions I am raised in could not cope with excitement in worship or the Holy Spirit directing us to do unusual things. We can get bogged down in business as usual. Even my home church has a culture it has created. One of the things they can not change is the constant reinvention of themselves. Sometimes we need to settle on a thing and be open to following a plan through to see if it works. It is ironic that some of us need to be open to embracing more tradition. However, Jesus, in the passage I am reading you challenge the traditions that hold people enslaved to rules and regulations. Jesus, bring a sense of freedom in the church today that results in active and joyful service.
- What are Jesus’ disciples not doing?
- Why do the Pharisees object?
- Why does Jesus talk in picture language about their inability to change?
- How have people asked you to change your ways? Are you open to changing if God leads?
- How does Jesus lead us on a path of constant change?