Summary: While the Christian life is a process, we need to be making progress.
A Messiah of Transformation
Text: Matt. 9:14-17
1. Illustration: As you all know by now, my favorite football team is the Cleveland Browns, and may God have mercy upon me! Our current coach, although hopefully not for long, has a favorite saying when ask about why his team is performing so badly. When asked he simply says, "It’s a process!" The problem is that the process isn’t progressing very well right now.
2. Like building a football team, the Christian life is a process. You don’t get saved and wake the next day a wise and mature Christian with the knowledge of a Bible Scholar.
3. The question you need to ask is, "Where am I in the process? Am I making progress or am I simply using "it’s a process" as an excuse to stay where you are in your spiritual life?
4. There are a few questions that I believe we need to ask ourselves:
a. Am I rejoicing in New Life?
b. Am I letting go of the Old Life?
5. Read Matt. 9:14-17
Proposition: While the Christian life is a process, we need to be making progress.
Transition: The first question we need to ask ourselves is...
I. Are You Rejoicing in New Life? (14-15)
A. Do the Wedding Guests Mourn While Celebrating with the Groom?
1. You know it’s funny what people hear.
a. John the Baptist clearly said that he was not the Messiah, and that Jesus was the Messiah.
b. Yet, there were some of his followers that just refused to believe.
c. They still wanted to hang on to John even after he was arrested.
2. As Matthew tells us, "One day the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked him, “Why don’t your disciples fast like we do and the Pharisees do?”
a. Matthew is referring to the Baptist’s followers who never accepted Jesus as Messiah and who by the end of the first century had developed their own sect (Carson, Expositor’s Bible Commentary, The, Pradis CD-ROM:Matthew).
b. They felt it was inconsistent for Jesus to say he was committed to God and the Law of Moses, and yet they did not fast regularly like they and the Pharisees did.
c. To them it was a sign that Jesus and his disciples didn’t take their commitment to God very seriously, and the "feasting" at Matthew’s house only confirmed their reservations (France, 356).
d. They saw Jesus and his disciples as nothing but a bunch of party animals whose spiritual commitment was seriously lacking.
3. The fasting in question was not the commanded fasting in conjunction with the Day of Atonement, but was the twice a week fasting that was suggested by the Pharisees.
a. The Pharisees were really good at making up their own rules and treating them as if they were mandates from God.
b. They would fast twice a week, usually on Monday’s and Thursdays, and of course recommended that others do the same.
c. Apparently, these disciples of John followed them and didn’t understand why Jesus and his disciples did not.
4. However, Jesus responded to their question by saying, "Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom?"
a. Weddings were major celebrations in Jesus day, and they went on for a week or more.
b. Wedding guests were normally excused from more serious religious observances during the 7 days of the wedding feast (Horton, 171).
c. Just as it was inappropriate for "wedding guests" to fast while they are with the bridegroom, so it was inappropriate for Jesus’ disciples to fast while he was with them.
d. The arrival of the long awaited Messiah was hardly a reason to mourn and fast (Turner, 139).
5. There were a number of similarities between the coming of Jesus and a wedding feast.
a. First, he OT says that in the period of salvation the relationship between God and his people will be like a marriage between God the bridegroom and his bride (Horton, 173).
b. Hosea 2:19-20 (NLT)
19 I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion.
20 I will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as the Lord.
c. Furthermore, the festivities that went along with such a wedding feast are a symbol of joy and celebration that accompany new life (France, 356).
d. Jesus’ presence brings joy. The age of the Messiah was often pictured as a joyful occasion. It was often compared to the festivities surrounding a marriage feast (Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible - Commentary - Matthew).
e. So why should they fast?
6. Jesus indicates that there would be a time when fasting would be more appropriate. He said, "But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast."