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Lesson # Mark 2:18-20
Study Material - Mark 2:18-20
You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
18 And John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and they came and said to Him, 'Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?' 19 And Jesus said to them, 'While the bridegroom is with them, the attendants of the bridegroom do not fast, do they? So long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 'But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.
We previously mentioned in the study of Luke 5, that often times tradition, ritual, and custom when practiced often enough and for an extended period of time, become their own end, heir own religion or authority.
The Old Testament authorized fasting at the time of the Day of Atonement, which occurred only once per year in the seventh month, and no where else, Lev. 16:29. The Pharisees extended this requirement to twice a week, Luke 18:11. Actually you can find the hypocritical prayer of the Pharisee in that passage, Luke 18:11.
Their thoughts are only of themselves and they look down on others who do not fall into compliance with the standards they themselves have set. God did not prescribe fasting twice per week. The Pharisees looked to fasting as evidence of their righteousness and correctness with Gods requirement.
Fasting is an abstinence and nothing more. It is intended as a result of spiritual growth, not the mechanism of spiritual growth. The purging of the soul through fasting is a false concept as it is presented in various beliefs of meditation and such. The fasting of the Bible is really an abstinence of the old way of life, that which is promoted by the sin nature. We are to abstain from that sinful pattern and replace it with a new pattern of life, that which is prescribed by Bible doctrine.
Christ has already presented Himself as the physician, the repairer, the healer, the origin of a new life for the soul, and now he presents himself as the Bridegroom of the soul. It is not enough to be healed, but there needs to be a relationship, a fellowship, an intimacy that you find only in marriage and between the marriage partners. Jesus is the Groom. We as believers are the Bride. He presents doctrine, we receive it in intimate fashion into our souls, filling our life up with purpose, meaning, and an eternal relationship with God.
While there is Christ with us, or Christ in us, there is no need to fast. Doctrine takes the place of all sorrow in the life. Christ left the world (physically) on two occasions. The first time was during those three days in the grave. The second time is in our current dispensation when He has been absent for about 1972 years (assuming that you begin the date of His departure with His ascension in 30 A.D., therefore 2002 minus 30 = 1972. You can check my math.). During the first departure, which is herein prophesied, just as in Luke, the apostles were struck with helplessness and lack of leadership.
Man on his own effort is truly helpless. Only when Christ returned from the grave (resurrection) and then sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, was there a mechanism for sustaining and guiding mankind. Gods word combined with the filling of the Holy Spirit (which we call fellowship) is the mechanism for our spiritual growth and of our sustaining power while here on earth.
The Pharisees were living in a world of expectation of a new kingdom to come at their convenience. They made their plans for life and life did not comply with their self designed plans. Tat is probably true for most of us. We spend our life making the best plans, then life takes us on a different course.
The Pharisees were looking to a royal leader. Someone with dynamic and personality of leadership which they envisioned within their own mind. But now Christ hints to the time when He would leave. And His word for leave is 'aparthe', for a violent departure, or the Cross. This probably took them by surprise and confused them.
Ever have a hero who you make up to be invincible, but then reality set in and that hero turns out to be human with big flaws? Kind of like many sports hero's turn out. They have problems in their lives and such. The Pharisees did just that. They initially looked to Jesus as a type of hero on the one hand, but then He was also a competitor, one with ideas contrary to their own. This relationship will in time turn to hate, plotting, and eventually violence as we all know.
Their reality was in the rituals. But rituals are only as good as the principles they are intended to teach. The Pharisees were stuck on the ritual, the habit of activity, and forgot the points that were being taught by the rituals. A ritual without a reality is in effect meaningless. Fasting for the sake of fasting is a worthless task.
The outward action has to be tied to the inward foundation. Bible doctrine in the soul produces the outward pattern of life, the habits, the morals, the norms and standards of the Christian life. As we will see again in the next couple of verses, you cannot mix the two patterns of life - the old with the new - and expect successful results in your spiritual life.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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