And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them?
Days and days of rain combined with social distancing has put a damper on golfing and just about every other activity we enjoy. Somehow weekend days have become like regular week days and week days feel like weekend days because of our altered work situations. Through it all we see God’s work in allowing us a time to grow stronger in prayer and His word because much of our normal life has been eliminated. This reduction is not a fast because the change is not voluntary. This temporary new life has been forced upon us out of respect for those around us.
Like the Pharisees and scribes who criticized Jesus, the world may wonder how we can still be joyful, have hope, and continue proclaiming the goodness of life in Christ in times of trial. They asked Jesus, “Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?” They questioned how could they eat, drink and be merry while John and his disciples are fasting and drinking.
There are many teaching truths applicable today in these verses. First and foremost, we see that are never deprived while in the presence of our Savior. He never wants us fast on His Spirit. When we voluntary eliminate physical and earthly provisions by fasting, we further realize we are actually feasting – feasting upon His greater presence and His great provision. Second, Jesus teaches us that there is a time for celebration while in His presence. The rigid teachings of the Pharisees could not contemplate such a congregation of Jesus among sinners. When the world is able to see our ability to deviate from our ordinary routine while still worshipping our Savior, it is able to see the reality of salvation. The old is made new as we celebrate our Savior his Facebook lives, conference calls and devotions via the internet. The foundation of gospel is not being altered, but being transmitted in possibly a greater means!
The Pharisees today might bemoan the fact that church doors are closed while we “social distance” ourselves. The strict adherence of physical church at 11 am and 6 pm is being forsaken they might say. In verse 38, Jesus taught that, “new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.” When we keep the “main thing, the main thing” which is worshipping Christ irrespective of the means and abiding in His presence through His Word and prayer, we are preserved and our faith is strengthened.