The Weekend Word

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18 Responses

  1. Owen says:

    This has been a very interesting section to me. How John’s disciples came to Jesus almost bragging about how they fasted more than Jesus’ disciples do – my read is the Pharisees may have put them up to it (just sayin…). “So Jesus, this is how your disciples behave? Well !”

    I haven’t researched this, but it seems to me Jesus would have told his disciples to keep their fasting private? So nobody would really have known how much they actually fasted….

    Gotta love Jesus’ class in the matter – not only did He back up his disciples, but He also didn’t mention any behaviour of John’s disciples at all. Made it a non-issue.

    The old wineskin thing has puzzled me for a long time. I can certainly agree with the “out with the old, in with the new” reasoning, it certainly fits.

    Something else I read somewhere was the thought that , since Jesus had just answered the fasting question, perhaps He was thinking of his disciples when he brought up the old winskine thing – wouldn’t they have been “younger Christians” than John’s disciples, perhaps also of lower station, not as well practised in such spiritual disciplines as fasting? If so, putting the new wine of fasting into unregenerate wineskins may have been what Jesus was referring to….

  2. Jean says:

    This section reminds me of something Jesus will say to his disciples later: “to the one who has, more will be given” The woman and the ruler had the faith to ask for more, and it was given them.

    Do we ask for enough? Do we hedge our prayers?

    Great lesson MLD!

  3. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Owen, let me help clarify my position – not just for you but all.
    1.) I think Jesus clearly develops the thought that (a) he and his disciples did not fast and (b) the reason – the bridegroom is here and this is not the time to be fasting. This is so important to understand, that the last days came at Jesus’ birth and were manifested and consummated (at least in the understanding that this consummation is continuing today as Jesus rules and reigns in his kingdom.) – fasting like all other old testament doings were symbolic of what was to come and not to continue once the real deal had arrived.

    I used to hear the example given by Chuck Smith & Greg Laurie (and in this day and age you must qualify if you are agreeing or disagreeing – I agree) while her husband is off at war the wife may each night at bed time kiss his picture – but upon his return, no one in their right mind would still kiss the picture goodnight. This is the same with fasting.

    2.) The thing about the old and new wineskins – again it is important to understand how radical the coming of Jesus is – this is a whole new operation – he is doing away with the old system – the old wineskins (old israel) and developing a new system new wineskins (a new israel – the church) and the gospel of Matthew is that story. Itis so much of a change that the old cannot go into the new and the new cannot go into the old

    This is why the destruction to the temple, the priesthood and the whole sacrificial system was necessary – this wipes out all vestiges of a true Jewish religious system – which was Israel in it’s entirety . Dispensationalists can’t let go, so they have developed this short dispensation for the church and then God is going back to the old system dealing with Israel. At the same time we don’t want to fall off the horse into the other ditch and try to mitigate how deep this change really is and localize it.

    Big things are coming – remember in the past couple of lessons I have made the case that the healings Jesus did were actually salvation experiences – forgiving sin and bringing people into his kingdom … if for no other reason than to show the ruling Jews that there is a new sheriff in town. 🙂

  4. Owen says:

    Jean,

    Now you’ve got me thinking….hedging my prayers…..

    I have a hard time with the “asking for more” part…..

  5. Jean says:

    Owen, you’re not alone. Our puny minds cannot comprehend the richness of the kingdom of heaven, so we ask for a crust of bread instead.

    “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)

  6. Owen Wells says:

    MLD,

    “At the same time we don’t want to fall off the horse into the other ditch and try to mitigate how deep this change really is and localize it.”

    Okay, that makes sense. Along with the fact that most of the time Jesus is speaking in the NT, there’s more than just the face value of His words.

    I’m reminded of Acts 10, when Peter was told to kill and eat the “unclean” food, and says “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean” . I wonder if he even knows/understands why the food was considered unclean – it’s just old law. Something that has always been thus.
    And then he hears ““Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” The new order has begun.

    I have to agree with the “kissing the picture” thought as well.

  7. Owen Wells says:

    Jean,

    I read a story once. A man was invited to a banquet. Not wanting to arrive emptyhanded, he brought food with him to share at the banquet – he felt he had to contribute something.

    When he arrived, the banquet tables were overflowing with such food as he had never seen in his life – and abundance of the best food in existence. He looked down at his meager sandwich, and felt worse – his offering just wasn’t good enough.

    Then the host saw him, welcomed him with open arms, and said “Come, sit, eat, enjoy! So glad you came! Oh, what’s this?” looking at his sandwich, “Ah, we shall add this to the feast!”

    The point being, God out-gives us at every turn.

  8. Jean says:

    Owen, Amen!

  9. Owen Wells says:

    So, here’s a question, then…. something I’d like to know, with the whole fasting question…

    Since Jesus is bringing in a new order (has, now – I used the present tense for the sake of the passages in the lesson), is He saying that the practice of fasting is no longer necessary?
    And, in the NT, post-Gospel, are there examples of fasting still taking place?

  10. Jean says:

    The church in Acts fasted as recorded in Chapters 13 and 14.

  11. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Owen,
    Peter’s problem in Acts 10 was that he still refused to believe Jesus (a character fault of Peter) – Jesus had already declared the Jewish dietary laws to be null and void – Mark 7:14-23 — especially 19.

    As to fasting I had asked this earlier – was it just a Jewish thing? Was ch 13 – 14 descriptive or prescriptive? I don’t see anything designating the church to follow suit. From Acts 15 and the Council of Jerusalem we see the mandate to the new church — “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.” Nothing about fasting.

  12. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I got stuck in moderation for too many links – so I have modified the links.

    Owen,
    Peter’s problem in Acts Ten was that he still refused to believe Jesus (a character fault of Peter) – Jesus had already declared the Jewish dietary laws to be null and void – Mark 7:14-23 — especially 19.

    As to fasting I had asked this earlier – was it just a Jewish thing? Was ch 13 – 14 descriptive or prescriptive? I don’t see anything designating the church to follow suit. From Acts 15 and the Council of Jerusalem we see the mandate to the new church — “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.” Nothing about fasting.

  13. Owen Wells says:

    Yep, I got that about Peter. I was just using that as another example of the new order, as we mentioned.

    I’m beginning to think the fasting must have been a Jewish thing, and apparently hard to let go of.

    The fasting in Acts 13 appears to be part of worship, The fasting in Acts 14 appears to be attached with prayer. Almost like both are part of a ritual, something they were obviously accustomed to doing.

    Good study! Thanks!

  14. Owen Wells says:

    And a quick search doesn’t turn up any more mention of fasting after Acts 14, anywhere else in the NT. Allrighty then.

  15. In one of the Corinthian letters Paul does mention some of his past experiences with fasting.

  16. Owen Wells says:

    Ah. The search didn’t pick it up, I suppose.

  17. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    So we see fasting being eliminated by Jesus, and as I said above the elimination of the dietary laws in Mark 7 – along with as I mentioned the elimination of all things ties to Judaism from the Jerusalem Council. With Jesus healing / saving people, the need to “go to the priest” has been rendered unnecessary. As we move into to ch 23 and Jesus pronounces the 7 woes on the Jewish leaderships, we move to 24 and see the pronouncement against Jerusalem and the Temple – which naturally implies the end to the priesthood and the sacrificial system – Judaism and the Jewish religious system are ended for good by Jesus.

  18. Owen Wells says:

    Very well laid out.

    I’m going to take this in a slightly different direction – something I hear often about Christianity is “I don’t want to have to submit to a bunch of rules – the Bible is full of rules to try to make God happy with us.”

    It’s difficult sometimes to express that Jesus actually did away with the rulebook….God is already towards us. Not that the Law is done away with, but Christ fulfilled it for us.

    But the OT seems to prevail at times as a mindset against Christianity.

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