A New Way of Life

25 June 2017 AM – Mark 2:18-22 – Mr17 – Scott Childs

Introduction: Jesus and His disciples had just been at Levi’s evangelistic dinner. Evidently John’s disciples and the Pharisees had been fasting while Jesus and His disciples were enjoying their meal. This raised questions in John’s disciples and anger in the Pharisees. The Old Testament only required one day of fasting. That was on the Day of Atonement (Le 16:29). “But as time went on traditions grew, customs developed and by this time the Pharisees were fasting twice a week (every Monday and Thursday, which just happened to be market days in Jerusalem!). What was intended to be a quiet and humble religious discipline had become an elaborate act of religious showmanship and spiritual pride.” David Hewitt, “Mark” p. 49

Jesus came to this earth as the God/man, the Christ, the Anointed one, the Messiah. He was preparing to set up His kingdom. In His kingdom He will be like a husband married to a bride. His bride will be those who placed their faith in Him. Jews were to be part of His bride, but as a whole the nation of Israel rejected Him and He turned His focus on the Gentiles. Jesus viewed his earthly ministry as preparation for His wedding that would precede His kingdom. Jews in Jesus’ day did not understand His marriage plans nor the kingdom that he was preparing.

Transition: Jesus’ response to the question about fasting was unusual. He answered with three short parables that teach us truths that are very important to our eternal destiny.

1.        He was preparing for a wedding feast

a.         Christ’s followers were with the bridegroom preparing for the wedding.
1)         The marriage of the Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, is described for us in Revelation 19:1-10. That marriage will take place in heaven during the 7-year Tribulation on earth.
2)         If you think it strange that Jesus was preparing for the wedding while He was on earth and it has not taken place yet, just remember that time is not an issue with God.
3)         If you have repented of your sins and placed your faith in Jesus Christ to forgive your sin and give you eternal life, you are part of His bride. If you have not yet trusted Christ, I urge you to do so.
b.         In Jesus’ first answer to the fasting question He said it wasn’t right to fast during wedding preparations.
1)         Fasting is a mournful, sad and unpleasant time.
2)         People do not fast in times of joy, therefore, Jesus and His followers did not fast during His joyful earthly ministry.
c.          They could fast when the bridegroom was left.
1)         The bridegroom would leave once the preparations were ready and he would at the time appointed come to get His bride and have the marriage.
2)         After Jesus paid sin’s debt in full on the cross and then rose from the dead victorious, He returned to heaven.
3)         We presently live in the time while the Groom is away and has not yet come for His bride. That day will be at the Rapture. It could be at any time. If you are not prepared to meet the Lord, you better get prepared!

2.        His kingdom would be like a new garment

a.         The Jews lived under the Old Testament
1)         The Old Testament was governed by the law. Though the law did not require regular fasting, religious Jews had added ritual fasting to their worship. Ritual fasting was among many manmade rules added to God’s law by the Jews.
2)         The Old Testament law did not save anyone. It only showed men their guilt.
b.         Christ’s kingdom would begin a New Testament
1)         Jesus’ second answer to the fasting question was that ritual fasting was not part of His Kingdom.
2)         Jesus illustrated this with the parable of the new cloth sewed to an old garment to patch a hole. When washed, the new cloth will shrink and make the hole even larger. A patch is not the solution to the Old Testament.
3)         Jesus’ kingdom of salvation is not a patched up old kingdom (v.21).
a)         No one could keep the OT law.  It was a burden too difficult for man. The Ten Commandments alone condemn each of us. We have each broken several of them. James wrote, (James 2:10) “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”
b)         The kingdom of salvation that we now are invited into is totally new. Jesus provided forgiveness and eternal life to all who will believe when He died and rose again from the dead. (Romans 4:25) “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”  That will take care of the complete guilt of sin. (Romans 8:1) “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” He then gives to every believer His Holy Spirit to enable us to fulfil the righteousness demanded in the law. (Romans 8:33) “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.” (Romans 8:34) “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” He is our advocate ready to forgive us if we do sin and then confess it to Him. (1 John 1:9) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

3.        His kingdom would be like a new wineskin

a.         Jesus’ kingdom would be totally new (v.22).
1)         Jesus used a grape juice illustration. We must remember that the NT word for wine is a generic word that refers to anything that comes from a grapevine (grapes, fresh juice, raisins, grape paste, and wine).
2)         Jesus’ illustration of this grape juice (called wine) was not placing his approval on drinking alcohol. The scriptures are clear that alcohol is a curse to mankind.
3)         (Proverbs 20:1) “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”
4)         (Proverbs 23:31) “Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.”
5)         Alcohol is not a friend. It is a foe! It has ruined many marriages, shattered many homes, wasted hard earned wages and shortened many lives.
b.         Look closer at Jesus’ illustration
1)         In Jesus’ day, they stored grape juice in bags made of animal skins.
2)         Jesus’ illustrated that placing fresh grape juice in a previously used skin would not work. The bacteria in the old skin would cause the new juice to ferment and break the skin. New juice must be placed in new skins.
3)         By this, Jesus was again illustrating that His new kingdom would be placed within the hearts of men and women made new by faith in Christ. (Romans 8:3) “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:”
c.          This same principle is true today.
1)         When a person trusts Christ, God gives him a new heart and the Lord lives in him.
2)         Warren Wiersbe wisely notes, “Well-meaning but spiritually blind leaders have suggested that we take ‘the best’ from each religion, blend it with what is ‘best’ in the Christian faith, and thus manufacture a synthetic faith that would be acceptable to everybody. But the Christian faith is exclusive in character; it will not accept any other faith as its equal or it’s superior. ‘There is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved’ (Acts 4:12)”

Conclusion: Jesus and His followers did not fast because they were preparing for His wedding and His kingdom would not be like the Old Testament. The question for us today is, “Are you part of Christ’s bride and part of His kingdom?” If Christ has saved you and given you new life, you are. If you have not repented of your sin and trusted Christ to forgive you and give you eternal life, you are not a part. Now is the time to trust Christ. Tomorrow may be too late.

Song: Are You Washed in the Blood – 208