Devotional #9 (11/26/12). Jesus doesn’t care about traditions but instead a person’s heart.
Intro: The last devotional went over Jesus healing people and forgiving sins. He also called the tax collector Matthew.
This Week’s Reading: Mark 2:18-28.
v. 18. Fasting is when a person stops doing something (usually eating) so they can concentrate. Most religions fast so they can focus on God and pray to Him. In Jesus time the Pharisees fasted twice a week. And John’s disciples fasted also. But many of the people thought fasting was necessary to be religious or as if God liked you more if you fasted. So since they cared more about their tradition than their heart towards God, they judged Jesus’ disciples for not fasting. As if Jesus was a bad teacher for not having his followers fast. It is important to note that John the Baptist’s ministry was to show people they needed to repent of their sins so that is why his disciples fasted.
vv. 19-22. Jesus answers them in a parable. A parable is using common things to explain a point. So the people Jesus was talking to would know about a groom at a wedding (“bridegroom”), clothes (“garments”) and wine bottles (“wineskins”) and would have understand His answer. Let’s start simply with His answer and then the parables will make sense. Jesus answers them that since He is God the disciples don’t need to fast to focus on praying to Him because they can just talk to Him. But He does acknowledge when He goes away (later when He is crucified and then goes back to Heaven) His disciples will need to fast in order to focus on speaking to Him. Now that we understand His answer let’s look at the parables:
Jesus compares Himself to a groom and Christians as a bride. He is saying later we will be joined to Him not as a literal husband and wife but as a perfect, loving union of saved humans with their loving Lord. He is saying that groomsman don’t miss the groom when he is with them but only once he’s gone.
Next Jesus explains that if you don’t wash a patch before putting it on a hole then it will rip away from the clothes and not stay. This idea is the same as the next part with the “wineskins”. A “wineskin” had a goat bladder inside of goat or leather skin and was used to hold liquid (Source 1). So if you put new wine in an old wineskin the fermentation pressure would burst the brittle wineskin. Jesus point is that the religious leader were trying to push Jesus’ new ways into old rituals and that wouldn’t work. David Guzik says, “Jesus came to introduce something new, not to patch up something old. This is what salvation is all about. In doing this, Jesus doesn’t destroy the old (the law), but He fulfills it, just as an acorn is fulfilled when it grows into an oak tree. There is a sense in which the acorn is gone, but its purpose is fulfilled in greatness” (Source 2).
vv. 23-24. Jesus and His disciples were walking through the outside of a field and picking heads off grain and eating them. This wasn’t stealing because God said that the outside of fields shouldn’t be harvested so travelers could eat (Leviticus 23:22). But since it was the Sabbath the Pharisees had made a law that a person couldn’t eat grain like that.
vv. 25-28. Jesus answers with a story from 1 Samuel 21:1-6. Read it and you’ll see that David had to break a tradition so that he and his men wouldn’t starve. The Pharisees wanted to make sure they kept the Law of not working but were so worried about keeping the Law they let it rule over them and, again, they were more worried about a tradition than a hungry person eating. Lastly, notice Jesus calls Himself God by using “Lord of the Sabbath” because God was the master and maker of the Sabbath.
Summary: We got to see that it is more important to love God with our heart then to fast or try to keep unimportant rituals. Do you think that being a Christian is about how many times you read the Bible, go to church or say a certain prayer? Jesus says it isn’t about going through a bunch of boring steps but it is about allowing Jesus to change you. For me reading the Bible, church and praying were boring but then I started wanting Jesus to love me like He loved the disciples. I started asking Jesus to help me understand who He was and what He wanted me to know. He gave me a love for reading His Words! He helped me love going to church so I can praise Him! He helped me realize it’s not special words that should be prayed but talking to Him like you do a best Friend! He made the boring stuff actually exciting and it was because I understand what He did for me by dying on the cross. He saved me from my sins but he wants me to live an amazing and adventurous life—not slowed down by rituals and traditions but totally alive in Him!
Source 1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bota_bag