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Lesson # Matt. 9:14-15
Study Material - Matt. 9:14-15
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.
14 Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, 'Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?' 15 And Jesus said to them, 'The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.
Jesus answers the question of the disciples of John the Baptist, with the very words that John had used when these same disciples were talking with John in Jn. 3:29. There John referred to himself as the friend of the groom, and therefore rejoiced at His presence (that is the presence of Christ). Christ was present in the flesh back in those days, but we have Christ present through His word in our current day.
There are two things functioning here. First the Pharisees are instigating turmoil between the disciples of John the Baptist and those of Christ. John is in prison but still has a following loyal to him. Nothing wrong with that.
His followers have embraced the practice of the 'many' fasts that the Pharisees practice, but probably because of John's absence. They miss him and that too is normal. John fasted but for different reasons. His fasting was for principles of doctrine, or the abstinence of sin in his life, not for spiritual growth or for some higher purpose due to his own efforts. John knew of Gods policy of grace and the worthlessness of mans efforts within Gods plan.
To suggest that Johns disciples were fasting more than those of Christ, implies that one or the other of the groups were wrong. Either John's disciples were fasting too much, or Christ's disciples were fasting too little. If this would achieve a comment from Christ such that one or the other of the groups were in error, then discord would or might arise within the two groups and the break up of these groups would follow.
Christ was wise to their plot, and wise to the real answer desired by the disciples of John the Baptist.
They missed their leader, but their leader was a follower of Christ, the real groom. John was but a friend of that groom. Fasting is fine for displaying grief. But too, fasting is a personal matter as is grieving, and is to be done in private. In the privacy of ones own soul or ones own home, or even within ones own family. It is not a public event to gain sympathy, popularity, or notice from the masses.
The Pharisees were interested in sustaining their own popularity, and in the demise of these two groups - that of Christ and of John.
The friends of the groom rejoice, they have freedom. The friends of the bond-woman, Hos. 9:1, Gal. 4:25, do not rejoice. Slaves have nothing to rejoice about. They are tied, chained, without any rescuer, and have no hope. Only in Christ is there hope. Christ is the only person to whom anyone can look to for freedom from the slave market of sin and death. Those who reject Him, elect to remain in that slave market of misery.
There are two instances when we lose the groom. First when He departed from this world in His ascension, and second when we ourselves turn our back on our daily Bible study.
When we are in fellowship and studying our Bibles daily, we are in His presence, as it were, and our study is in effect our worship and rejoicing. When we get out of fellowship, when we get away from our daily study, when we get away of the application of His Word in our daily lives, then our rejoicing turns to misery. The sphere that is absent of spiritual food is a form of fasting and therefore a grieving of sorts sets in.
If we extend our rejection or apathy of doctrine to weeks, months, years, then we really grieve due to the trouble that we encourage in our lives by our chosen pursuit of jungle life.
Fasting gains you nothing, unless your objective is to lose weight of course. But spiritually it does you no good. None of mans efforts or works in life will enhance your spiritual life.
What is the spiritual life? Living inside the sphere of fellowship, studying Gods Word and in so doing transferring it into your soul, and mastering Gods word learned through its application to your daily life. The spiritual life is not dressing in black, not fasting, not attending the tallest cathedral in town, not holding ones head and eyes downward toward the ground. The spiritual life has nothing to do with what you do, but what you think. Your soul is the key, not your actions. Actions consistent with the spiritual life will follow knowledge. That should be obvious. Actions do not create knowledge, they are a result of knowledge and understanding.
If you are positive toward Gods word and feel somewhat out of place if you get away from it for even a day, and feel happier and contented when you get back into your studies, then imagine how your life will be when you actually experience being face to face with Christ one day in the future. Imagine still further, your feelings if you have stayed the course in Bible study and advance to maturity and then receive the highest of honors from Christ as your personal evaluation before His Judgment Seat after the rapture!
In that respect we fast spiritually because there is far more for us in eternity, which we have to wait for during our life here on earth. But one day, all things which are absent in our lives now will become available and then the 'fasting' or going without, will end.
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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