In his epistle written around A.D. 66, John Mark began his letter by introducing John The Baptist, God’s messenger by describing how his role was to announce the coming of the Messiah, and baptize Him in the Jordan River so Jesus could fulfill all righteousness, and be identify with those He came to redeem.
After He was baptized, Christ was tested by Satan in the wilderness for forty days but the Messiah persevered and resisted temptation as He prepared for His ministry, which He started in Galilee while John The Baptist was imprisoned for rebuking Herod Antipas.
The Lord’s ministry began along the Sea of Galilee where He recruited His first four apostles, Simon, Andrew, James and John, who were all fishermen from Capernaum, a small fishing village located on the northern shore of the lake. This was the location where Jesus performed His first recorded miracle when He healed a possessed man, delivering him from a demon. Jesus followed His first miracle with another when He miraculously healed Simon’s mother in law who was gravely ill, then as word spread about these healings, the entire population of the city gathered outside the house door where Jesus answered the call to heal the sick.
The next morning, Jesus rose before sunrise and departed to a solitary place to pray and prepare for the day which He used to preach the gospel and heal more people in need as He embarked on a missionary journey through the region which eventually lead him to Levi, the tax collector who became one of His apostles.
“18 The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were fasting. Then they came and said to Him, “Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.” (Mark 2:18-19)
Pharisees fasted twice each week, on the second and fifth day of every week, hoping to turn away God’s wrath and thus protect the Jews from major divine afflictions. As a sacrifice involving personal will, others fasted privately to humble their souls before God in repentance of their sin.
When they noticed His disciples did not fast, the Pharisees questioned Jesus as to the reason why they did not partake in the Jewish ritual. Jesus shared an analogy that presented a situation that dictated rejoicing instead of fasting as the bridegroom, Himself was with his friends thereby eliminating the need for mourning and sorrow associated with fasts.
“20 But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” (Mark 2:20)
Here, Jesus shared a prophecy about the forthcoming day when He would be taken from His disciples, those days when He was captured and crucified. During that time period, Jesus’ disciples were expected to mourn, fast and pray.
“21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; or else the new piece pulls away from the old, and the tear is made worse. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.” (Mark 2:21-22)
To reinforce His point to the Pharisees, Jesus continued His exhortation with two more parables, the first one described mending an old garment with an appropriate patch, making certain not to mix old and new cloth so to avoid tearing or ruining the garment.
The second analogy involved wineskins, containers made of animal skin typically used to age and carry wine. Since old wineskins lost their flexibility over time, they were not suited for new wine which would expand as it fermented. In these parables, Jesus explained the division between Judaism and Christianity, the old and the new, and revealed the time had come for the new covenant which was based on faith rather than works, on grace instead of rituals such as fasting. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives,
We praise you Lord for the wisdom found through the gospel of Mark,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we continue to learn more about you through your word.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your ways, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre