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New Reality

SUFFERING KING: THE BOOK OF MARK:
New Reality: Mark 2:18-22
Pastor John Weathersby
Sunday February 9, 2020

1) Jesus communicates about temporary reality, and future change.
2) Jesus disciples and others contrasted.
3) Joyful following of God.

Mark 2:18–22 (ESV)
A Question About Fasting
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?”

Interesting point of note, John’s disciples and the Pharisees. John is in prison at this point and the Pharisees we introduced last week, if you were’t here quick re-cap. These folks were a religious sect of Jews who held the Pentateuch scripture in high regard but also had their standards and laws of some 600 rules. They were separatists and thought of themselves as more holy than commoners, Luke 18:11 shows the attitude:

Luke 18:11 (ESV)
11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.

Or,

Matthew 23:13 (ESV)
13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.

Fasting in the law was required once, at the Day of Atonement Leviticus 23:27, but the Pharisees would fast up-to twice a week. To the point that Jesus even said in Matthew 6:16 in his sermon on the mount:

Matthew 6:16 (ESV)
Fasting
16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

On Amazon, I found over 10,000 books on fasting generally. Over 3,000 under faith and spirituality, here were some titles: “Fasting: opening the door to a deeper, more intimate more powerful relationship with God” by Jentezen Franklin who also wrote “The Spirit of Python” you can buying his accompanying book “the fasting journal” or even “The fasting Edge: recover you passion, recapture your dream, restore your joy” – not sure what dinner with this guy is like. Or John Eckhardt’s Fasting for breakthrough and Deliverance:

I want to be cautious here and not make fun of this too much – but, there is a tendency to turn something into an exploited opportunity where there is an element of truth, and suck it dry for money. The “christian” book industry is a great example.

Look at the “Daniel Diet” / plan, cook book, 20 minute recipes, weightless God’s way,

Romans 14 says to us that:

Romans 14:17 (ESV)
17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

We quoted from Jesus in Matthew 6’s sermon on the mount in verses 16 he states “and when you fast”. So there is this ritualistic twice a week (Luke 18:12) going on for attention getting and then there is a believers fasting that is more akin to, Hannah, Saul, David and Johnathan, Elijah, John the Baptist, and so on and so on including Jesus himself. What do the people as Jesus:

Luke 18:11 (ESV)
“Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”

I like negative examples. They help me understand things, but this is a negative, already. SO we may have to do some math…. Let’s see.

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.

“Can”, are they able, this is a word of ability no desire. They cannot fast why, because Jesus is with them. Fasting is a kind of seeking after God, for some decision, or direction, or understanding – why would you do that with Jesus right in front of you.

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.”

In scripture, we see fasting attached with prayer – when mourning, grieving, or repentance is needed or in the face of a BIG decision or trial where God’s favor or wisdom is needed. In Esther, when she is risking her own life by going into the King’s presence, against the law, to speak for her people she calls for a prayer of the people and prays herself.

Esther 4:16 (ESV)
16 “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”

Paul and the missionaries starting church fasted and prayed when appointing elders.

Acts 14:23 (ESV)
23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

Peoples revelation of sin has caused them to fast 1 Samuel chapter 7, they realized their sin of idolatry and fasted, 1 Kings 21 ahah heard about his sin and fasted, Ezra 10, mourned because of the sins of those who were carried away.

But Jesus’ disciples had him, there was no mourning over sin, there was not seeking God’s direction – the remedy to the day of atonement was among them, the way, the truth, the light the way to God was among them.

The people asked, how can we make an understanding of how to rightly worship and live. Jesus gave them a principal that I think is well presented in

Hebrews 7:12 (ESV)
12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well.

Jesus is that new priesthood. Don’t just try to take the law and older understandings before Jesus and stitch them onto or into the new reality of Jesus church after he’s been here. Putting a patch of new cloth on a old garment is a waste of both, will destroy both. Adding OT covenant and law to Jesus NT reality ruins them both, or ruin the wine and the wine skin, Jesus is VERY CLERALY talking about not mixing the old and new realities.

The book to the Hebrews which was to tell a Hebrew people about God’s reality in Christ spoke well to this in:

Hebrews 8:1–2 (ESV)
Jesus, High Priest of a Better Covenant
1 Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,
2 a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man.
The true tent the Lord set up, not man. The previous tent was a picture of heavenly realities, the systems of OT worship, was a shadow of what was to come. Jesus is saying, don’t look back into the shadow(s) for ceremony, look into the light.

1) Jesus communicates about temporary reality, and future change
2) Jesus disciples and others contrasted
3) Joyful following of God

The 1st point is – temporary reality and future change:

Contrast helps us see dimensions, depth, and nuance – injected into the body allows us to see better a scan. One recent example was a tweet I saw: someone tweeted, “is it too soon to call the KC Chef’s a dynasty” by contrast another person replied, is it too soon to call my first born a sextuplet”? Contrast…

The two realties before christ (Priesthood in Moses and OT Law) post Christ Law fulfilled, new priesthood in Christ – joyous living for a period, in the transition while Jesus is with the disciples there is a temporary reality that shadows the future, no more tears or sorrow, just presence in a world without sin –

That’s the 2nd point, Jesus disciples and other contrasted.

Jesus’ disciples are feasting while others fast – they’re with Jesus the God man, when the spirit falls everything will be different – God’s presence will be with all in the church age. That’s where we are now, church age. How will you live as someone who celebrates that new reality, that your joy in all circumstances would point to the grace and goodness of a living graceful God about salvation!?

On fasting its self Martin Lloyd-Jones stated: “[…]only when I feel let by the spirit of God to do so, when I am intent on some mighty spiritual purpose, not according to rule, but because I feel there is some peculiar need of an entire concentration of the whole of my being upon God and my worship of Him. That is the time to fast, and that is the way to approach the subject.

Church we live in a reality that is after Jesus’ coming, the God man – he ushered in the final days where the Church on earth represents God’s presence in Him. Where we get to live as people impacted by Grace for the purpose of being drawing salt to the truth of light.

IN that we should rejoice, we should live in thankful rejoice as a beacon to God. That the 3rd point, joyful following of God.

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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