GOSPEL LIVING

Tuesday January 21,2020

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Hebrews 5:1-10   Psalm 110:1-4   Mark 2:18-22

18 Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people 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, "Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; if he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but new wine is for fresh skins." 

Meditation: It was just a couple of days ago when a Deacon reminded me of his Priestly Ordination to be held shortly. A person dear to me, he felt turned down when I expressed my helplessness in attending the ceremony due to my busy schedule. His face read silently that he had longed for my presence at the auspicious moments of his dream coming true. No hunch when someone states, “Bodily presence adds flesh to friendship.” It is true down to earth.

Mark 2, 18-22 underlines the aforesaid verity. 

The word for friends, philoi, is related to a verb meaning "love", phileo. It signifies a greater sense of intimacy. Jesus makes it clear emphasizing the significance of friendship, that the intimacy is availed to reveal the design of Salvation. In John 15, 15b, we read thus, “I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” 

In the Gospel extract in consideration, Jesus gives expression to this intimacy in yet another way: 19 Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. Certainly, the wedding guests in Jesus’ depiction are close friends of the bridegroom who in no way could be separated from him at those precious moments of intimacy – moments of sharing dreams, designs and feelings – moments of communion. A meditation on the latter carries us easily to the implications of John 15, 15b. What the Lord wants is that his friends (disciples) should be at the level of communion with him rather than that of the observance of fasting. In other words, “presence” is more important than “observance” or “rituals”. Here, the depth of His teaching challenges the subtleties of our prayer and worship. Spirit of this message, new wine, should be accommodated in the freshness of our spiritually renewed heart, fresh wineskin. 

Bro. Joseph Joyson