Mark 2:18-20 (CEB)
When to fast
John’s disciples and the Pharisees had a habit of fasting. Some people asked Jesus, “Why do John’s disciples and the Pharisees’ disciples fast, but yours don’t?”
Jesus said, “The wedding guests can’t fast while the groom is with them, can they? As long as they have the groom with them, they can’t fast. But the days will come when the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
Hey, Jesus – see those other disciples over there? Why are they fasting and abstaining while your followers are partying and getting jiggy like rude-boys? huh?
It must have been noticeable. Jesus is accused of being a drunkard and a party animal and staying too late at parties with all the “wrong” people. They say he’s a drunken glutton who hangs about with prostitutes and tax-collectors.
And here’s his answer… “The wedding guests can’t fast while the groom is with them, can they?”
Other words for hanging out with the groom and partying while he is here would be – “enjoy the stag night while you’re out with the groom – it won’t last forever…”
Of course Jesus is being provocative here. His whole life with his disciples is anything but one long party – though it does have its moments… But Jesus is ace when he is being provocative – he’s daring them to think deeper and grasp a fundamental truth about life. What characterises life in Christ if it is not fulness of life? Life in Christ is not a half-life, a cautious life, a don’t-do-that life; it is not a po-faced life, a thou-shalt-not life, a keep-your-head-down life. Life in Christ is full and passionate and energising and scary and daring; life in Christ isn’t fearful of getting it wrong for want of trying to get it right.
As Jesus said in the not-so-famous apocryphal book of Wenceslas… “Hey, James, John, Peter – remember our trip to Prague? I’m still buzzing! Let’s do it again!”
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