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Bridegroom And Fasting, Christ The Testator

Here's the excerpt from Mark's Gospel regarding the question put to Christ regarding fasting.

-- Click To Expand/Collapse Bible Verses -- Mark ch2:v18-22
Mar 2:18 And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?
Mar 2:19 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.
Mar 2:20 But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.
Mar 2:21 No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.
Mar 2:22 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.

Concerning Jesus' references to himself as the bridegroom, not only is He making a reference to himself as the centre of attention, ie worship, but He is also making reference to himself as the Christ, the mediator of a new covenant. By not letting this identification slip without this extra reference, He makes the comparison that the new wine is not put into old bottles and new cloth is not added to mend old.

If new cloth is taken from a new garment and added to fix an older garment, not only is the newer garment now ruined with a hole in it, but the old cloth looks worse in comparison to the new part added to it. Jesus here makes reference to the law, that He is not here to change it, (as He confirmed He wouldn't on other occasions) but that He is here to do something new upon, @(or rather after) it. There is nothing wrong with the requirements of the law - requiring it to be changed, and adding or removing any of it would invalidate its origin as "good".

Neither is it Christ's intention here to spend his ministry (new wine) confirming the traditions of the people (old bottles), such as washing of the hands, fasting or even forbidding healing on the sabbath. Jesus and his disciples later were walking in the fields whilst they picked ears of corn to eat. By replying to the complaints of the observers that the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath, he is just as firmly repeating here that traditions based on the law serving no good purpose have no purpose for the work of the good (ie God).

This is written quite early in Mark's account of Jesus' ministry. He had already performed the healing of the man sick of palsy, whose loving friends had lowered the man through the roof to get to Jesus. Jesus had forgiven the man his sins, an act the people only reserved for God. By confirming the forgiveness with the man's healing, Jesus made the assurance he was Christ. Just before the account above, He made mention of his ministry to call the sinners, not the righteous. I can imagine the trembling lips of those sinners; they must have felt terribly captive in their sins, and the righteous of the time had indeed abandoned them. I can imagine thinking myself that though I were forgiven and given a new start, I would have a hard time staying within the law. (Especially for tax collectors, etc.) Jesus own words of authority as the testator of a new covenant and bringing the good news assuring a new testament, They now had real hope at last. Praise God, Amen.


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