Mark 2:18–22 (ESV)
A Question About Fasting
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.”
Fasting is done in a time of sorrow or penitence. Jesus is making the point that while he is here, it is a time of feasting. There will be plenty of time
for fasting after his death, resurrection, and ascension. When we get to heaven, there will be a big feast. Jesus is bringing in new promises and new ways that are not to be added on to the old way. The old ways are obsolete, Christ ushers
in a new way of living. This is why he makes the two statements “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.” What these statements mean is that if you sew on a new unshrunk patch on old shrunken clothes,
the patch will shrink and will not work. Just like when making wine, you put new wine into new wine skins. In the fermenting process, the wine skins will stretch and not break. But if you pour new wine into old wineskins, the skins are already
stretched, so when the wine is fermenting and expands, the old skins would break... thus ruining the wine. So what does this mean? The old way of the Pharisees and the Scribes does not work anymore, Jesus has brought in a new way through
grace and mercy. The way of the Law is dead, the new way is through the Gospel.
I pray: O Lord, There is much to fast over, but at the same time, there is much to celebrate with a feast.
Fasting because I know what I have done, and feasting because you have forgiven me. It does sadden me that often I choose my own ways instead of your ways. I know that when I chose to do it my way, I am making myself God... and I know that this
is wrong. I repent of my sins and want to do better. I trust in you, my resurrected Savior for the forgiveness of sins. Thank you Lord Jesus. Amen.