Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Tuesday after Jubilate

Posted on May 10, 2022 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: St. Mark 2:18-22 (NKJV)
2:18 The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were fasting. Then they came and said to Him, “Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?”
19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. 20 But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; or else the new piece pulls away from the old, and the tear is made worse. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.”
Fasting was common under the Law of Moses. It was a custom regularly practiced by the faithful as an aid to focus, not on the things of this world, but on the unseen God and His holy Word. The Pharisees practiced regular fasting, about which they often boasted. John the Baptist’s disciples also fasted, as faithful adherents of the Old Testament.
But the times were changing. A New Testament was in the works. And the practices would change accordingly, like pouring new wine into new wineskins. The disciples of Jesus did not fast while the Bridegroom was with them. There was no need for them to focus on the unseen God or to subject themselves to that bit of sorrow for the brief time when the Son of God walked visibly among His friends.
Even though we don’t see Jesus as they did, we believe His disciples’ eye-witness account of His resurrection, and we know that He is with us always, even to the end of the age. Though we still have sorrow, we also have the joy of the resurrection and of Jesus’ living presence in preaching, and of His real presence in the Sacrament. Filled with that joy, we may still choose to fast from time to time, but, for Christians, it can never be the defining custom that it was under the Old Testament.
Prayer: Almighty God, Who showest to them that be in error the light of Thy truth, to the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness: Grant unto all them that are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s Religion that they may eschew those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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