"Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples don't fast?"
The question arose out of observation and then admonition. The contrast is between adhering to the old norms and expectations of what had been taught and prescribed in religious tradition and watching Jesus seemingly break those norms or rules of behavior.
This had to have been confusing. Who was this person who kept breaking the rules and teaching a new way of understanding the kingdom of God?
Jesus was an agent of change, of transformation, from the old into the new--walking and working in this tension--bringing a new way of being and thinking in the midst of the old perceptions of the kingdom of God. Jesus' teaching could not be confined, it didn't fit, within the old norms and traditions.
Breaking away from the old can be hard to understand and can be disorienting. We often respond in fearful and controlling ways in these challenges. But, we are not left alone in the tension of change and invitation into new ways; we are invited to walk and work with Jesus, to recognize his presence with us.
Mark 2:18-22 NLT
Once when John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting, some people came to Jesus and asked, "Why don't your disciples fast like John's disciples and the Pharisees do?"
Jesus replied, "Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. They can't fast while the groom is with them. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
"Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before.
"And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins."
For Reflection and Prayer:
Was there a word, phrase or image which stood out to you as you listened to the text? Dwell on it. Bring it into your prayer with Jesus.
What do you notice when you are aware of being in the presence of Jesus, the bridegroom? What is that like for you?
What helps you make room for Christ's presence in your everyday, ordinary life?
How do you like to celebrate Christ's presence with you? With others?