Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Wineskins, Witness, and Waiting: Jesus Responds to Critics ( Mark 2:18-22)

Mark 2:18–22

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 destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.” (ESV)


The Context: 

I love reading Mark of all the synoptic gospels for some reason. It may just be the flow of it....
but as we read to this point, we see growing crowds


1:37 “Everyone is looking for you”

1:47 “Yet the people still came to Him from everywhere”

2:2 “So many gathered, there was no room”

2:13 “A large crowd”

And the growing crowds always seem to increase the growing conflict.

These particular verses seem to indicate concern that the disciples of Jesus were not living up to the expectations of the status quo
2:18 “Now John’s disciples AND the Pharisee’s were fasting”


The Confrontation:

Speculation regarding the questioners
- ‘And people came ….” - human nature never really changes. Dishonest questions are as brutal now as they were then... were these people asking an honest question or was their question merely a cover for their already hardened hearts?

I can't help but read the tone of their questions as plain SNARKY!

Jesus answers the questions by providing 3 illustrations:

Illustration 1- Wedding…… The Bridegroom will leave, but don't live in the future...celebrate the NOW.

Illustration 2- Patching a garment- the age of the patch needs to match the age of the garment and an improper repair (application) can be worse .

Illustration 3- Wineskins……again, new versus old. The new will need to stretch under pressure or the result will be great loss.

All three illustrations together suggest a common principle.... the time for fasting will come, but the time is not now. Jesus is in process of something new.

There are MANY principles from the passage: patience, authority, ritualism... but I wanted to focus on how we respond in conflict and criticism.

The World of CONSTANT CONFLICT...
Unfortunately, we never escape THE FRAY... it is always there. The battle never rests and we live in a world of endless opinions.

Negative opinions brew in the dark, they are spread in whisper campaigns

The Lord of Time
As humans, we don't do time very well..... I have always quipped...“God is never LATE….. but He is seldom early” . It is SO HARD to wait on Him. Can we embrace God’s sovereignty as it relates to HIS TIMING?

Applications:
Never Aid, Comfort, or Enable the Enemy. If you participate in whisper campaigns or believe that your right to know is an entitlement, you are helping negativity to sap life out of all that is around you.

Be Steady in the Storm…. And Celebrate THE GOSPEL! Jesus stood firm and stood above the fray. He was not naive... He knew the hearts of the critics... but He was never dismayed or knocked off mission by them

Ask God To Enlarge Your View of Him. It is OK to live with a God who operates on a 'need to know basis'... He is big enough to handle your waiting game

Never Underestimate the Power of the Status Quo. As a follower of Jesus, never be afraid to upset the apple cart in your allegiance to Him. Many will hate you for that, but God supports those whose hearts are set on Him.

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