A Discussion about Fasting

33One day some people said to Jesus, “John the Baptist’s disciples fast and pray regularly, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why are your disciples always eating and drinking?”

34Jesus responded, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. 35But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.”

36Then Jesus gave them this illustration: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t even match the old garment.

37“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. 38New wine must be stored in new wineskins. 39But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say.”

The short lesson here is that people don’t naturally embrace change, but Jesus came into the world, and comes into our lives, as an agent of change. Sometimes that change is revolutionary and sometimes evolutionary, but Jesus calls us all to change all the time.

Why do we resist change? As a lesson from yesterday I have to say I can only speak for myself, but here goes. When I resist changing my heart or my mind or my habits, it is usually because I am so proud that I think I’m “better than most”, or at least “ok”. But why should that matter. The Model T was an ok car, should have we stopped there? God does not call us to be good enough, he calls us to Godly!

Now to be fair, the change Jesus is talking about here is revolutionary, but not terribly uncommon for God. Jesus changed our covenant relationship with God. God attempted through history so show us what would not work through two rather broad based covenants.

Prior to Moses was a time of “no rules”. Mankind advanced in almost no way during that time. Archeology seems to indicate it was an extremely brutal time. People were only as valuable as the power they had. Children were sacrifices etc. etc..

Along comes Moses and a host of other people and we usher in the period of regulation. Many would say we are still doing this, and I would agree in many respects. But again, this proved to be an utter failure. Not only were the times still incredibly cruel, but again man’s value was based on his wealth or power. Charity was almost non-existent and the very idea that a human being was valuable simply by being human didn’t exist. Man also didn’t advance much in invention outside of war machines. Again, it was a failure.

Lastly Jesus came. His news was “You cannot be good enough. You deserve permanent existence without God. God is just and the punishment for your sin must be paid. Because I love you, I will pay that price for you by dying on your cross for your sins. Once that is done, I will live within you because humans are intrinsically VERY valuable and I want to rescue them regardless of the race, station in life, and even their sinfulness.

Wow! This change in covenant ushered in the greatest advancement in human kind ever. Some would say the only true advancement. Suddenly things like caring for the poor, equality under the law, innocent till proven guilty, education for the masses, hospitals for the masses, and using invention to improve human living instead of only for making war (though that never stopped) all came about.

Jesus ushered in a revolutionary change to the world, but has he change me and you in a revolutionary way?

I’m storming your gates Dan! 


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