Mark 2:1-3:6, Psalm 150
As Jesus performs signs and miracles, eats with sinners, and teaches His audience, everyone learns a new era for Israel is being inaugurated. When Jesus heals the paralytic he claims the ability to forgive sins, something God alone could do. When Jesus eats with tax-collectors and sinners, he embodies a new way of relating to moral outsiders and traitors. As Jesus permits His closest disciples to pluck grain on the Sabbath, then heals with a withered hand on the Sabbath day, he shows that he has the healing power that Sabbath is intended to reflect and has authority of God over Sabbath. Jesus’ inauguration of a new age in Israel’s history is made plain when he points out that you don’t patch up old clothing by tearing new clothes or ruin a new wineskin by placing old wine, and in the same way Jesus doesn’t intend to maintain the status quo only with slight variation. Rather Jesus has come to do a radical new work, which requires new responses. In that situation, Jesus tells people that His disciples do not fast while Jesus is present, for the purpose of fasting reflects a desire for the coming of God’s work. Jesus is doing God’s best work, the work of salvation and inaugurating the Kingdom of Heaven , so why fast? By implication, fasting will change when the bridegroom, Jesus, has gone. Though fasting will return, we must fast as those that know the King’s will and the love of our Lord. It is a new day indeed, and may all of our fasting, praying, reading, solitude needs be done in light of the groom that has come to save us and give us gifts better than bread and meat, like rest and healing.