Summary: John’s followers were fasting. The Pharisees were fasting. So why weren’t Jesus’ disciples fasting. This message examines the inability of a rigid religious system to adapt to change brought about by the fullness of Jesus Christ.

May Rupture Under Pressure

Mark 2:18-22

Mark 2:18 (HCSB)

Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. People came and asked Him, “Why do John’s disciples and the Pharisees’ disciple fast, but Your disciples do not fast?”

The Question of Fasting

* John’s disciples

* Fasted to show brokenness & repentance

* The Pharisees

* Fasted twice a week for piety

* Jesus disciples

* Were not practicing regular times of fasting

* The real question was adherence to tradition and religious practice

Mark 2:19 (HCSB)

Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot fast while the groom is with them, can they? As long as they have the groom with them, they cannot fast.”

A Reason to Celebrate

* A discipline of denial

* Fasting clears the body

* Fasting focuses on humility

* Commonly associated with mourning and brokenness

* The presence of the groom

* God’s people are referred to in scripture as a bride

* Jesus is referred to in scripture as the bridegroom

* A bridegroom in the presence of his bride is cause for celebration

Mark 2:20 (HCSB)

But the time will come when the groom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.

A Time to Mourn

* The coming time

* Jesus would be apart from His bride

* This would give His people cause to fast

* The purpose of fasting

* Denial of the flesh

* Denial of selfishness

* A time of intense focus

Mark 2:21-22 (HCSB)

No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new patch pulls away from the old cloth, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost as well as the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.

The Pressure of Newness

* Old cloth and old wineskins

* Rigid structures

* No longer pliable

* A picture of the religious system

* No room to stretch or adapt

* New cloth and new wine

* Changing systems

* Shrinking and expanding

* Causes structural failure of rigid systems

* Inability to adapt

* Bursting and tearing

Will Your Vessel Burst?

* Does your system allow for the Holy Spirit to stretch and expand His work in you?

* Does your system allow for God to do a new work in your midst?

* Are you so consumed with religious practice that you have missed out on the celebration of the bridegroom’s presence?

**Powerpoint available on request