And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.” And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” Luke 5:33-35
John had taken a Nazarite vow and so he abstained from drinking wine and according to today’s verses John also frequently fasted. Jesus on the other hand had just come from a meal at Levi’s house and it appears that the Pharisees had not seen Jesus fast. Of course we know that before Jesus began His ministry He fasted for forty days. The Pharisees made great show of their fasts as well as praying and other outward shows of their religious piety. They wanted to make sure everyone knew just religious they were.
I think the Pharisees were more concerned with whom Jesus ate rather than if He fasted or not. In fact I believe that had Jesus just finished a fast the Pharisees would have come up with another reason to question Him. Jesus just did not fit their idea of how a religious Jew should act and especially how the Messiah should act. They wanted to create the Messiah and therefore God in their image rather than accept God as He is.
Things have not changed much. Too many people including professing Christians want God to conform to our image of God rather than conform to what God wants us to be. So we redefine sin so we can fit in with the culture rather than stand firm and conform the culture to God. We want to be politically correct and accepted by all the right people so we water down God’s Word to make it more palatable in today’s world. People spend so much time trying to make the church look like the world they forget that we are not to conform to the world. Then they wonder why people drift away from or never visit a church.
Jesus came not to conform to the Jewish religion of the day but to change it. If the Jews had been doing everything correctly and in accord with God’s Word and Law then there would have been no reason for Jesus to come. Even though the Pharisees thought they were doing everything right and doing what God wanted they had drifted far from God. In fact they had concealed God’s Word with man’s rules that one could barely recognize the Law.
The Bible is not really that difficult to comprehend and that I believe is part of the problem. It is not that we do not understand what God is saying it is that we do not like what God says. SO like the Pharisees we pick fault. We tell ourselves that if only God had written the Bible today He would have said things differently. Then things we find comfortable would no longer be a sin and we can go merrily on our way.
Have a blessed day,