A Contrast – Luke 5 v 33 – 35

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Luke 5 v 34. “Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them?

Please read the passage for the day.

Jesus had many critics and amongst the criticisms was the behaviour of those he gathered around him. It seemed to some onlookers that they lacked seriousness and piety. “John’s disciples often fast and pray and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.”

They found it troubling that Jesus’ disciples did not seem to behave in the same way as the Pharisees, and even the revered prophet, John the Baptist. Why is this so?

Jesus replies by offering them an analogy of a wedding feast when the bridegroom and his guests are celebrating the joyous occasion of his marriage together. Do you expect his guests to be solemn and mournful. Of course not, it would be entirely inappropriate behaviour for such an occasion.

His disciples had found the joy of his presence, forgiveness of sin and release from spiritual bondage. All this, plus the new teaching they were receiving, made for joy and rejoicing not for fasting.

But, Jesus added, there would come a time for fasting when he was taken away from them, referring to his crucifixion. But that in turn was overtaken by the joy of his resurrection. However, the point Jesus is making is that the daily realities of the spiritual life of his disciples would now be determined and regulated by their relationship to Him and not by rules and regulations.

This was an entirely new thought to his hearers. Jesus was saying once again that with his coming a new day had dawned and a new and joyous way of relating to God had been introduced. Certainly there may be times in our spiritual walk when we may feel the need for seclusion, fasting and prayer for some reason. We live in a fragile world and things happen unexpectedly. In addition we are often surrounded by so much need that we often feel we cannot cope. Thus we turn to God in prayer and fasting.

But we must not confuse that with the underlying joy that is ours by faith in Jesus Christ because our most fundamental need has been met. Our sins have been forgiven.

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