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To Eat or Not To Eat

Watch Week Two Day Two

To Eat Or Not To Eat

Imagine hosting a potluck. The evening of the party, someone shows up with mac and cheese, another person announces they’re gluten and dairy free, still someone else proclaims they only eat vegan, and yet another says they’re doing a keto diet so they brought a pound of bacon. Food can be complicated.

To quote another biblical writer, “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Food or, as we’ll see, the lack of food brings out people’s opinions and puts Jesus in conflict with the Pharisees for the third time.

Fasting As A Fad

In the Old Testament, God only required His people to fast for one day a year, the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29, 31; 23:27–32; Numbers 29:7). By Jesus’ time, the Pharisees sought to expanded the Old Testament laws of cleanliness and fasting for the priests of the temple to everyone. They viewed this as a way of protecting the people from hellenization (aka secularization). The motive of keeping the people holy and distinct was good—but they took it way too far.

In Luke 18:12, we learn that the Pharisees fasted twice a week as a sign of piety. Choosing to fast for additional days above and beyond the Law’s requirement wasn’t wrong. In fact, it could reveal a heart seeking to draw near to the Lord. But the Pharisees had other motives. They used fasting (among other rules) as a spiritual measuring stick for themselves and everyone around them.

Some people approached Jesus, asking why His disciples didn’t fast. They pointed out that the disciples of John the Baptist and the Pharisees fasted. We don’t know exactly why John’s disciples were fasting. Perhaps they fasted as their leader remained in prison.

A Threefold Response

Jesus responded with three different metaphors. He answered their question with a question of His own, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?” Fasting was a sign of mourning, so it would be wildly inappropriate for wedding guests to fast during the celebration!

But Jesus’ metaphor has deeper themes running through it. The bridegroom was used in the Old Testament as an image of God, and a wedding was a symbol for the age of salvation (Isaiah 61:10; 62:5; Jeremiah 2:2, 32). Jesus’ reply associates Him with God and the arrival of salvation. With this in mind, fasting seems even more inappropriate. Jesus’ presence and the arrival of the good news is cause for celebration!

He furthers His point by using an everyday analogy of old cloth and new cloth. Fabric shrinks—so it makes no sense to put unshrunk cloth over a tear on an old piece of fabric. Don’t miss the detail that the old fabric has a tear! Jesus’ message is new; it cannot just be patched over on top of the old way of doing things.

In his last image, Jesus uses another metaphor that everyone would have understood. New wine released carbon dioxide as it aged, expanding the wine skin it was stored in. After the skin had stretched, it could not be stretched again. As with the previous image, Jesus wants His hearers to understand He is bringing something new! His ways cannot simply be made to fit into the old way of doing things.


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Daily Question

What surprises you about Jesus’ response? How might we need to let go of our old ways of doing things if we want to follow Jesus?

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Comments (10)

Jesus flips the script, He wants the people to look at things in a different way, a new perspective. I need to let go of my own expectations, my own timetable and what I think outcomes should be. It is in His time and in His way, not mine and giving up that control is very hard. This reminds me of a song called Blessings by Laura Story, I encourage everyone to listen to it.

My walk with the Lord is more than just keeping His commandments/laws, but also in walking in freedom as a forgiven soul.

I notice in reading scripture that Jesus’ answers to questions often catch me off guard leaving me wondering "why" He said that! Yet, in the culture of that day Jesus’ responses simply cut to the heart of the matter in a way that culture understood back then and redirecting them to His purposes and His agenda. Usually we have our own agenda that we do not want to let go of: after all, it’s the way we have always done it, right? We question change or something outside our way of thinking. We all do it! It takes Faith to step outside our boxes and follow Him.

It surprised me that he just did not come out and say that fasting is not needed nor required. He leaves it up to people to decide. We need to look at things we are doing that take our focus from Christ. We should not be doing tasks as a checklist for eternal life but truly living the way Christ would want us to live.

This is so true, Jesus always leaves it up to people to decide how to handle situations. I am thankful that if I fail, he is always behind me to pick me up.

I realized while watching the video that our faith walk needs to be experiential. Not filled with a to do list, but live out relationship with Christ in moment by moment experiences.

I need to let go of some of my ways and understand that things that are broken or "torn" need to be repaired the proper way. Jesus knows what is right for me, he knows how I am broken and will lead me.
Jesus’ responses never points fingers at anyone, he only leads them to what is right and truthful.

I would say the break down in today’s Devo of how Jesus response is logical. Over the years I’ve come to understand the logical side of Jesus explanations and how he makes the gospel make sense to me. For example, how he describes it in today’s verses. Yet, I also need to chew on it too or I won’t find that deeper meaning.
Tying it into the initial question of "what surprised me" about Jesus’ response is just how simple yet how complex Jesus would explain his reasonings. I love that about Jesus. I also love how he made what the religious leaders idolized to be stripped of it’s facade and to get to the heart of why they actually execute the actions they do

To answer the second question, as I become this new creation God is creating me to be, I am learning to reject the ways of the world that prevent me from living out the faith I profess. In the video I loved how the women discussed that we don’t just do Christian activities to look like Christians, rather we do them out of what we believe as Christ followers. Much like the last answer to the initial question, I find that Jesus wants to get to the heart of it all.

His response wasn’t defensive but instead He takes the opportunity to teach them about Himself. "He is bringing something new."
We need to let go of our lists of "righteous" activities and just get down to loving God and loving people.

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