Summary: Jesus' way is to live out, grow into and share with others.
Mar 2:18 Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, "Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?"
• John was in prison, and his disciples were grieving and fasting.
• The Pharisees fasted often. Standard, twice a week.
• To me, it is comical how the Pharisees practiced their fasts.
• I am certain, if others observed my religious habits, they would be rather entertained.
• The Pharisees would wear wrinkled, disheveled clothing on the day of their fasts.
• They would put white on their faces like not eating was making them weak and unhealthy.
• They would walk about with long, sad faces.
• This was to remind others of their commitment, piety and dedication.
• They were not meant for God, but to impress men.
• Also, fasting of the Rabbis became almost a contest.
• The Mosaic Law required only one fast, before the Day of Atonement.
• They added special fasting in the spring and fall if it didn’t rain enough.
• According to John Gill’s Expository of the Bible, the rabbis would compete in the amount of fasting they did.
• "R. Jose "fasted fourscore fasts", and his eyes grew dim: --
• R. Simeon Ben Lakish "fasted three hundred fastings"
• Elsewhere it is said, that R. Ase fasted "thirty days" straight.
• "R. Jonathan fasted every eve of the new year, R. Abin fasted every eve of the feast of tabernacles, R. Zeura fasted "three hundred fasts",
• It is obvious by the question that the implication was, “Jesus, if you want your disciples to be taken seriously by others, they need to get with the fasting program.
Mar 2:19 And Jesus said to them, "Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.
Mar 2:20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.
• Jesus did not address the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.
• How did God view fasting? Obviously not as the Pharisees.
• Jesus, God in the flesh, associated fasting with grieving and sorrow.
• He said that it was improper to people at a wedding feast to grieve through fasting.
• A wedding feast is a time of celebration.
• Jesus was explaining that He, the groom, was with the wedding party and it was not a time for His disciples to be sad.
• He looked into the future and said, “that time is coming.”
• Hey, that time came and went. Jesus died, but, Halleluh, after 3 days, He rose to new life and victory.
• We are not just part of the wedding party anymore, but are part of the bride.
• Then Mark records that Jesus goes into two illustrations that are to show the Gentiles one strong point about why Jesus came.
Mar 2:21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made.
• Remember that the Gentiles that Mark was writing to knew about Judaism.
• They considered it a quirky monotheistic religion perpetuated by arrogant, self-righteous Jews who looked down upon Gentiles with contempt.
• But something happened in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas that sent more than a ripple across the world.
• This event was ripping people out of Judaism and into a new faith system.
• What refreshing news it must have been to Gentiles that this new, promising movement was not a revamp of the old Judaism.
• Jesus illustrates this by speaking about patching old garments.
• When I was a boy, my mom was a fastidious patcher.
• A wild boy, I wore out the knees of my blue jeans prematurely.
• Mom would buy these iron-on patches for our knees. I hated them.
• I felt like I was the only kid in my class that got new patches but not new pants.
• Those patches would start coming off and curl up. They looked worse than the holes.
• Patches I am familiar with. I can speak to this with confidence.
• The garments of the Bible days were made of wool.
• Wool would shrink quite a bit after it was washed. When you got a new garment, it was way large.
• But after a while it would shrink to fit and become more comfortable.
• It would become your favorite sloth cloth, like that old tee-shirt you love that everybody else in the family hates.
• When holes would be torn in the robes of those days, they would have to replace the garment or find another old garment to cut an old patch from.