18 John’s disciples and the Pharisees were going without eating. Some people came to Jesus. They said to him, “John’s disciples are fasting. The disciples of the Pharisees are also fasting. But your disciples are not. Why aren’t they?” 19 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the groom go without eating while he is with them? They will not fast as long as he is with them. 20 But the time will come when the groom will be taken away from them. On that day they will go without eating. 21 “No one sews a patch of new cloth on old clothes. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old. That will make the tear worse. 22 No one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins. Then the wine and the wineskins will both be destroyed. No, people pour new wine into new wineskins.”
Rules, rituals and regulations stand tall in the minds of faithful followers of God in this passage of scripture. This is why these Israelites are shocked that Jesus’ disciples are not ritualistically fasting. Fasting was one of the many religious regulations aimed at keeping people close to God.
But they missed something staggering. God was with them! What is the point of fasting if God himself is there to speak to you, to lead and guide you. The old way of showing faithfulness has gone, the new way has come – the new way is ‘follow me’!
Lord, the rituals and rules only serve one purpose, to guide me to you, so I can follow you. Lord, may I not follow my religion, may I follow Jesus. May all my actions be prompted by following Jesus.
Written by Andrew Mellor