Thursday, March 15, 2007

Fasting When You Should Be Feasting, Part 2, Mark 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.
Mark 2:19 ESV

So now with Jesus’ response, the title of the post changes to “Fasting when you should be feasting.” Jesus responds by showing the absurdity of fasting now that he, Israel’s messiah, has come. It’s absurd because they should have been throwing off their sackcloth and rejoicing. Their messiah, whom they had been longing for, had come. It makes no sense to fast and pray once the answer to the prayers has already come.

For those in Jesus’ day, fasting is no longer an act of faith, demonstrating to God that they trust in his promise to send the messiah, but an act of unbelief, demonstrating that they do not believe that Jesus is the answer to their prayers.

But Jesus goes one step farther than simply proclaiming that he is the messiah. He claims to be Israel’s husband. By referring to himself as the bridegroom, Jesus makes himself out to be Yahweh. For in the Old Testament, Yahweh is the husband of Israel.

For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.
Isaiah 54:5 ESV

John Piper has one of the best statements about what should have happened when Jesus spoke these words. It goes something like this, “The ground should have shook, the sun in the heavens should have bowed down, the trees of the fields should have clapped their hands. The heavenly host should have shouted out with joy. God dwells among man!” I’ve taken a lot of artistic liberty with Piper’s statement, but that’s basically what he said.

In this case, it was impossible for the disciples to fast. Yahweh was in their midst.

Well, more later.

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