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Seeking to equip people to live as Christian disciples wherever God has placed them.

Monday, February 11, 2019

“Jesus Reveals Our Hearts”

Mark 2:18-22

The Pharisees and the disciples of John the Baptist were engaging in a long standing practice of fasting.  Yet Jesus and his disciples were not fasting.  People were asking why this was. 

Jesus’ answer is threefold.  First he uses the example of sowing a new patch on an old coat.  Second he uses the example of a marriage.  He says that it would not be appropriate for the guests to fast when the bridegroom (and the bride) are present.  Jesus’ third example is that of putting new wine into old wine skins which he says would burst the old skins.

What is Jesus getting at here?  The basic idea is that Jesus brings something that is radically new.  Jesus cannot be understood in the categories of past practices.  In Jesus’ presence the past is no longer applicable.  It may be appropriate in Jesus’ absence but not in his presence.

An example of this is Mark’s simple comment that Jesus declares all foods to be clean (Mark 7:19).  For a Jew of the first century this would be an astonishing statement (Peter is an example, Acts 10).  Much of the Old Testament Law made a distinction between clean and unclean foods.  There were clearly foods that were unclean (Leviticus 11).  To simply set this aside seemed like a huge step.

Yet in Jesus things are new (II Cor. 5:17).  Jesus doesn’t simply dismiss the law.  However he fulfills it (Matt. 5:17).  He interprets the law in a far broader way than the Pharisees and the other religious leaders did.  The purpose of the practice of fasting in the Old Testament was to bring people closer to God.  However the closest way to approach God now is through Jesus Christ.  In Jesus’ presence the older practices are no longer necessary. 

Jesus is the end of the law (Rom. 10:4).

Loving and merciful God and Savior may I have the grace to see that in Christ all things have become new.  May I live in the newness of his love and grace.  I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.