Speaker 4: You should take your Bibles if you have them and turn to the book of Mark. Mark, chapter number two is we're going to be tonight. I'm. Mark, Chapter two, verse number 18, and if you have found your place there, you wouldn't mind join me standing in honor of reading God's word. Mark Chapter two Verse number 18.
Speaker 2: Bible says and the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast and they come and saying to him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast? But thy disciples fast? Not. Jesus said under them, can children of the bride chamber fast while the bridegroom is with them long as they have the bridegroom with them? They cannot fast, but the days will come. The bridegroom shall be taken away from them. Then shall they fast in those days? No man also saw with a piece of new cloth on an old garment. Else, the new piece that filled it up. Take it away from the old and the rent is made worse, and no man put it new wine into old bottles. Else, the new wine doth burst the bottles and the wine is spilled in. The bottles will be marred, but new wine must
Speaker 4: be put into new bottles. Let's pray, Lord, I ask you to help us now as we look into your word, I pray that you would bless the people that are here. Help them to pay attention to what is said and apply what they hear their lives. Please give me the words you have me to say,
Speaker 2: as in Jesus name, I pray. Amen. Thank you. May be seated. All right. How many of you would generally say old things are generally better than new things? OK. How many of you tend to prefer new things to old things? OK, now I think I think the issue here is we just have to find the right things. And then you have to make a determination as to whether or not you prefer the old or the new. As I understand it, I'm not that old, so I wouldn't know. But as I understand it, the technology for creating or for for manufacturing needles has gotten much better over the years.
Speaker 4: So, you know, when you were a kid,
Speaker 2: perhaps you went to the doctor and the needle that they were using was like, this big. Now you go to the doctor and the needles like this big
Speaker 4: and you're like, How is that thing even strong enough to puncture my skin? I don't even know.
Speaker 2: I mean, can we agree right there that maybe the new thing is better than the old thing? What about safety systems on a car? Could it possibly be said the new safety systems are better than the old? I mean, if not, I've got a sixty seven Volkswagen.
Speaker 4: We can go for a spin and run it into something and see how well we fare. I mean, that thing, it's it's like a death on wheels. I think probably I saw one guy he actually welded a knife into his steering wheel. And it says on the sign, There we die like men, you know? So I don't think he actually drives it with that on there, I think he takes it off. But you know, it's for show
Speaker 2: old versus new. What would you say that was better when it was old?
Speaker 4: Maybe kitchen appliances, maybe they last longer. Things today seem to be designed to break the ice. It's meant to go out of, you know, out of operation within five years, because then they know that you had to buy a new one. Anything else? What else can you think of
Speaker 2: any clothes used to be made
Speaker 4: better? Remember when I'm shopping at different place? And she said, this
Speaker 2: is like single use clothing you wear at one time. Throw it into the washing machine. It comes out, there's a hole in it, clothes.
Speaker 4: Maybe they were better at one time than they are now. All people,
Speaker 2: this is your chance. Come on, old people are better than new people. Furniture Hey, that's a good one.
Speaker 4: Yes. Not a fan of IKEA. I take it. What is it houses? Yes. Very good. You love your asbestos, I know. It's a good lead in that paint, huh?
Speaker 2: You think old TVs are better than new TVs, new TVs are better than old DVDs?
Speaker 4: Oh, you got it?
Unidentified: Yeah, huh? What is it?
Speaker 4: OK, yeah. Good. Oh, yeah, yeah. What else? Any other thoughts? So the air controllers, OK, tires? Oh yeah. Don't get me started on tires. Goodnight.
Speaker 2: Food, you think old
Speaker 4: food was better than new food? One more. How about air travel? They used to be better than it is now? Yeah, I think so. All right. I can tell you guys really getting into that
Speaker 2: here in this passage, we actually have a little bit of an issue going on that Jesus is going to try and deal with regarding the old way of doing things versus the new way of doing things that that he was instituting. And in verse number 18, we see a question that is presented to Jesus. It's this question that says, Why are your disciples not fasting? We see the disciples of John, we see the disciples of the Pharisees, and they're fasting all the time. But your disciples? That's not. We want to understand why. Why were they motivated to ask this question? Well, part of the answer comes from who is it that's asking the question Is it the is it just normal people that are coming up and asking the question, or is it perhaps the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees that were mentioned at the beginning of the verse? Well, in order to fully understand all this, we have to think about the fact that fasting was a huge deal in the days of Jesus. You have to raise your hand because I don't think that's really what we're supposed to do. But just kind of think to yourself, how often do you fast for spiritual reasons? I would venture a guess to say that for most of us, we rarely fast for spiritual reasons, but for them, they fasted a lot. Now we also need to know that God had given them. The law had only required one fast day for the whole year. That was on the Day of Atonement. There was only one mandated fast day that God had set up for them. The Pharisees, however, I know this is going to come as a shock to you. The Pharisees had actually added many fast days that the people were expected to observe. And so that's pretty much how things usually go. God says, I want you to do it just this one time and then says,
Speaker 4: No, no, no, no, no, no, you must do it many times.
Speaker 2: That's not the way God intended it. The Pharisees themselves claimed to fast twice a week, two days a week. They they claim to fast fasting for them was the ultimate indication of piety. You wanted to prove you were more spiritual than somebody else. You just fasted more than they did. The more you fasted, the more spiritual you were. Now, keep in mind that the Pharisees considered fasting to be the ultimate sign of spiritual, a sign of spirituality. It's easy to see why they would ask Jesus this question. If the disciples of the Pharisees are thinking that fasting equals spirituality, then the fact that Jesus's disciples were not fasting that would have since sent up some red flags. There would have been some warning signs for those people that Jesus's disciples were not fasting, so therefore they must not be what spiritual? Now, when Jesus was healing people, they put up with it because, I mean, it's kind of like a novelty, you know, he's doing
Speaker 4: tricks and, you know, we don't really
Speaker 2: know how he's doing it. Perhaps these guys are, you know, they were placed there
Speaker 4: and, you know, he's got some kind of
Speaker 2: trick up his sleeve that's pulling this off. It's just it's entertainment for a lot of people to go and watch and see the show. But by this point in the book of Mark, Jesus is not just healing people, he's also preaching and he is trying to trying to. He has elevated himself to a position of spiritual leadership within the community. And so as Jesus becomes more of a force among the people, the Pharisees are threatened. And so the people here are coming to find out, are your disciples? Are your followers? Are they spiritual or are they not? And the question seems to be an attempt to make Jesus and his disciples appear less spiritual in the eyes of the community. So the Pharisees are trying to belittle Jesus if perhaps as we see in verse 18, there are also some of the disciples of John that are asking this question. It kind of makes us wonder why would the disciples of the Pharisees and the disciples of John have anything in common? Those two don't seem to mix. In fact, the Pharisees, they hated John almost as much as they hated Jesus, and these
Speaker 4: two groups suddenly found some common ground for the
Speaker 2: for which they can unify. Well, I don't think so. I think the disciples of John were concerned with the effectiveness of their fasting. So whereas the disciples of the Pharisees are saying, Why don't you disciples fast? Because they're trying to say, you're not spiritual? The disciples of John are coming and saying, Teacher, why aren't your disciples fasting? Is fasting not an effective way of getting God's attention? Is this something that perhaps we're doing where we're withholding things from ourself that we shouldn't be? It is highly probable that the disciples of John were fasting and praying in hopes that God would intervene for them in a specific matter. And by this point in Jesus's ministry, it is most likely that John himself is already in prison. And so can you imagine having a spiritual leader that you loved and were close to and they get arrested, they're placed in prison doesn't seem like there's any hope for them to get out. And so the church, not the church, but the people, the followers are there. They're praying to God. They're fasting, asking the Lord to free John from prison. And then you see Jesus, this other
Speaker 4: spiritual leader and his
Speaker 2: disciples aren't fasting at all. Are we wasting our time? Is there something more effective? So they're trying to find out if fasting was an effective means of getting God's attention. Now, as we move down the verses 19 and 20, we see that Jesus is going to answer the immediate question Why don't your disciples fast? But he's going to answer the question by getting the people to follow a train of thought. Have you ever been sitting there in silence?
Speaker 4: I got kids. No silence in my house.
Speaker 2: OK? Try to think back to when you could sit in silence and think maybe you're in the car and you're not listening to the radio, you're just driving down the road and you're thinking to yourself.
Speaker 4: And so you're thinking about something that pops into your head.
Speaker 2: That thing makes you think about another thing that makes you think about another thing that makes you think about another thing. And before you know it, you have gone down this train of thought and you're like, How did I even start thinking about pickled cotton candy, which I did not know existed?
Speaker 4: So my son got some this week
Speaker 2: pickle cotton candy.
Speaker 4: That just sounds gross to me,
Speaker 2: but Jesus is going to take them along a train
Speaker 4: of thought and help them understand fasting
Speaker 2: a little bit better. He asked them this question verse from 19, he says, Can the children of the bride chamber fast when the bridegroom is with them? Do people fast during a wedding? Now you remember, our wedding in those days meant up to a week of feasting and not just like, not like a buffet, like going to see seats. You know, CCS is a buffet. But who really wants to eat that much since the pizza place? Now some of you like to cruise. I'm not talking about Main Street. I'm talking about on a big boat. You know where they have amazing food. Night after night after night, some of those
Speaker 4: places have
Speaker 2: buffets and you walk up to that buffet and you're like,
Speaker 4: All? You can eat crab legs,
Speaker 2: all you can eat shrimp. All you can eat steak. Holy moly. You know, you start gaining weight just looking at the buffet. I haven't eaten dinner
Speaker 4: yet, my mouth starting to water as I think about this food
Speaker 2: man. A wedding back in those days was a week of feasting on some of the best food you could find. And so saying that you were going too fast during a wedding was worse than saying that you were going to try and go on a diet right before you went on a cruise. I mean, who does that? I mean, if you're going to be on the boat, you're not dieting, right? Right? OK. I was worried there. I didn't think we had any common ground, and Jesus found common ground with these people who are questioning him, I thought surely we
Speaker 4: could find some common ground here.
Speaker 2: But he does. They all went to weddings. Jesus went to weddings. Jesus loved going to weddings. One of his first miracles was that a wedding. And so he asked them this question, and regardless of what they thought about him, they all said, Oh yeah, that's true. When you're at the wedding, you don't fast. As long as the bride groom is there, you eat. You see, based on their question, Jesus is obviously identified identifying himself as what the bride groom, his disciples. Those are asking him the question. They're the guests at the wedding. And as long as the bridegroom or as long as Jesus is present, there is no need for his disciples to fast with Jesus being present on the Earth. There was no need for those men that were following him to fast. When you think about their, their criteria are their rationale for why you would fast to prove your spirituality to get a hold of God. I mean, if you wanted to prove your relationship with Jesus while Jesus was walking on the Earth, all you had to do was follow Jesus. You know, there was no question of Are you really spiritual? Are you really following Jesus? I mean, you're either here or you're not with Jesus. There was no need to fast to prove to other people your spirituality. And if you think about the disciples of John, if you wanted to be sure that God heard your prayers, all you had to do was not just talk to Jesus. He's sitting right over there. You even imagine what that must be like. I mean, I know about you, but praying can be work, right? You have to make sure you get into the right frame of mind. You have to try and get rid of the distractions. You have to find the time to to to spend time talking to God. But when Jesus was on the Earth, Peter just faster. And he would just start talking, is there? Well, that's what we can do today. We can still talk to Jesus like that. I know. But isn't it? I mean, isn't there something different about talking to someone that's here and and praying they got to just talk to Jesus and you could watch his facial expressions? What did Jesus face do when they
Speaker 4: were asking him some of the
Speaker 2: very intelligent things that they said? Like, who is the greatest in the kingdom? You know, Jesus grimace that he smirk. I don't even know if you roll his eyes. Jesus tells them there will come a day when my disciples will fast, but it will not be while I am on the Earth with them. This is what he says there in
Speaker 4: verse No 19 and 20
Speaker 2: days will come when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them and then shall they fast. In those days you say, Oh oh, I like this. This means we will have to pass with as good, OK, new way of doing things out with the old in with the new, we don't have to fast. No weird during that time where the bridegroom has been taken and we do, or we are expected to fast
Speaker 4: on Sunday mornings. We're going through the sermon on the Mount and we're going to talk about
Speaker 2: how should a disciple, a true disciple of Jesus, how should they fast? It's not necessarily a matter of should I fast, but it's more of a matter of how do I fast? So that deals with the specific question of fasting, why are your disciples not fasting? Jesus, though, is not through dealing with the issue. Did you ever go to your parents or maybe your boss and ask them a question that you think will just be a simple yes or no answer? But that person and authority over you then takes the opportunity to expound upon your question and fill you in on a little lesson about how you should be thinking about the matter.
Speaker 4: That never happened to you. Oh dear. OK. It happened to me too, for sure. You see, the Pharisees
Speaker 2: and the disciples of John were both dealing with an underlying issue that Jesus addresses in the next two verses. He says no man. So also saw the piece of new cloth into an old garment else. The new piece that filled it up. Take it away from the old and the rent is made worse, and no man put his new wine into old bottles else. The new windows burst the bottles and the wine has spilled. The bottles be marred. But the new wine must be put in the new bottles. Have you ever noticed that good things can become bad things when they are given too much importance?
Speaker 4: Good things can become bad things when we give them too much importance?
Speaker 2: Fasting was and is a good thing, but the people who are asking the question have a misunderstanding of the purpose of fasting. Once you go back and think about the Pharisees, the Pharisees, a Pharisee simply means a pure one. They were trying to fight against the secularization of Judaism. They were trying to protect the Jewish religion, the Jewish way of life from the corruption of the Greek mindset. They were so concerned with ensuring that the people kept the law that they begin to require people to do things that even God had not required them to do. And so it's kind of like that old thing that you dealt with, maybe as a child where you know you would get as close as you could to the edge without trying to go over, right? How far can I push the envelope without getting in trouble? And so maybe your parents would say to me,
Speaker 4: like my parents say to you, like my
Speaker 2: parents said to me, Why do you have to live right on the edge? Why don't you get back over here where it's safe away from the edge? Now I want you to notice the farther I get from the edge. Am I safer from falling off? Oh, yeah, sure. Was there a lot of good, stable ground between me and the edge? Yes. Pharisees had pushed the edge so far back, trying to protect people that they had added so many rules to the people's lives in the course of trying to prevent people from following the ways of man. They set up their own way based on the traditions of men. And so despite their noble beginning, the Pharisees had become a version of what they had set out to combat. This is common among mankind. We have a propensity for taking something that is good and diluting it or weakening it until it no longer resembles what it was originally.
Speaker 4: And so by the time of Jesus's life, this is what had happened to Judaism.
Speaker 2: There were following man's rules, and that was more important than a relationship with God. This is what we're dealing with in the sermon on the Mount. If you didn't follow man's rules, then in this matter of fasting, then you wouldn't be heard by God. I'll let me run that one by you again. You didn't follow man's rules. God wouldn't hear you. Does that sound familiar to anybody? So what we still see today, you will do, as I say, or you are not spiritual, you will do as I say or God will not hear you. Because of this, Jesus tells the people, look, I didn't come to repair the old way. I didn't come to patch the garment. I came to give you a new garment, you see. Even back then, when clothes were washed, they were beaten. They were soaked in different types of soaps that would clean the garment, but also shrink it and weaken it. And so if you got a hole in your coat, then you would need to find a piece of cloth that had already been shrunk. Otherwise, when the new clothes cloth began to shrink, it would pull the original cloth and make the hole worse. Jesus did not come to put a new patch on an outdated coat. He came to provide a new coat. Jesus also didn't come to add something new into the existing system. OK, so the first picture is you've got a cloth with a hole in it. Cloth is the old way of doing things. There are some problems we see. Jesus, I'm not coming just to patch it. I'm going to give you a new one. The other the other illustration that he says, is, Look, I'm also not coming to put something new in the something old illustrates this by reminding them of what happens when you try to put new wine into old wine skins as wine ages. It releases gas that causes the wine skin to expand. You know what else does this coffee? Have you ever seen the little valve on the coffee bag and you, you know, you scoop your
Speaker 4: stuff out, you wrap it back
Speaker 2: up. Pinch it shut. And then you press the air out of it. And it's like.
Speaker 4: Harvey, you know, it just smells so good. But all of the endorphins loose in your brain and you just start thinking about how great that cup of Joe is going to be and you're just like, Oh, cannot wait for this to be brewed.
Speaker 2: Well, the reason that Valve is there is to let the air as the coffee ages let the gases out
Speaker 4: as they don't sit there and ruin the coffee
Speaker 2: beans. Well, with the wine skins once the skin has expanded. If you try to put another batch of new wine in the skin, you're going to put more wine in than before because the skins have expanded. And then when it starts to age and the gases are released again, what's going to happen to the skins that have already been stretched? They're going to burst. Jesus is trying to sell them. Is that Judaism had served its purpose? What was the purpose of the law and the sacrifices? That's the point to Jesus. Well, now Jesus is here. So what are they pointing to now? Really, the only thing left they can point to is our own sinfulness and how unworthy we are to measure up to this standard. Jesus was on the Earth to initiate a new phase in history. The old institutions would be unable to accommodate this new system. And so the whole emphasis of this passage can be summed up in the idea that Christianity is the sounds cliche. Please forgive me. A relationship based faith rather than a rules based faith. So what's your relationship to Jesus Christ? Not how many of the rules are you following? Jesus died on the cross as he knew we could never live up to a rules based faith. If if Jesus hearing your prayer was based on how many times you had fasted, you and I can never fast enough we would die of starvation before before we could get the attention of an almighty god. If our spirituality was solely based on how many times you fasted, we could never fast enough to be spiritual. Is this making sense?
Speaker 4: No, I'm sorry. We can talk about it later.
Speaker 2: The point is that Jesus Jesus wants a relationship with us, a relationship that is based not on weak and not on what we can do to earn his favor. But what on Jesus did on the cross? You see the Pharisees, the
Speaker 4: Pharisees and the disciples of John had it all backwards.
Speaker 2: The old way said, Do the right things and you will become the right person. Jesus laid out a whole new way that says, Be the right person and you will do the right things. How can we be the right person, God to get that righteousness from someone else? We have to be changed by someone else.
Speaker 4: And that is Jesus. So what is your emphasis on tonight? Are you more concerned about
Speaker 2: doing the right things
Speaker 4: or are you more concerned about
Speaker 2: being that new person? You could do all the right things and be the most spiritual
Speaker 4: person in the room.
Speaker 2: How have you been talking about on Sunday morning? You could never kill anybody and still be filled up with hate from this last Sunday. You may never commit adultery, and yet your heart is full of lust. So we must be learning, we must learn to be concerned with the health of our relationship with Jesus because of our relationship with Jesus is right and we will do
Speaker 4: the things that he wants us to do. We've been predestined as believers to what to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.
Speaker 2: It's already been decided. You got saved. You would be conformed
Speaker 4: to Jesus Christ image that happens through a relationship with him. It doesn't happen from you coming up with a list of rules on how to be more spiritual than somebody else. Disciples of John, the disciples of the Pharisees, had it wrong. I hope in our minds tonight we've got it right. Let's pray every father we think for this day, for the folks that are here tonight, those that are watching a live stream. Pray that you bless them for being part of the service tonight. Be with those that are out of town dealing with sickness. I pray that you would heal them and bring them back to us soon. Or thank you for the emphasis
Speaker 2: that you have placed upon our relationship to your
Speaker 4: connection to you. Pray that we would
Speaker 2: find our identity and our being in
Speaker 4: you and not on the things that we do. So in Jesus name, I pray Amen