Luke 5:33-35 – They said to him, "John's disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking." Jesus answered, "Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast."
John the Baptist’s ministry was characterized by a sober message and a strenuous schedule. Spiritual disciplines would have been the norm for him and his close followers. Certain of the Pharisees would have had similar reputations. They were known to be very serious minded and highly disciplined in their daily practice of faith and life. The same Pharisees and teachers of the law that wondered why Jesus partied with tax collectors and sinners, now press the issue of fasting and prayer – religious discipline! “John’s disciples fast and pray, the disciples of the Pharisees do too, BUT NOT YOURS JESUS!” What’s the deal? What kind of religious leadership is this anyway?
Jesus’ answer to their inquiry is intriguing. “Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them?” John the Baptist had plainly stated that he himself was not the Bridegroom but the friend of the Groom. Now, Jesus plainly identifies Himself as the BRIDEGROOM. His leadership is not about RELIGION and spiritual disciplines, but rather it is about RELATIONSHIP that celebrates intimacy and friendship with the One that the party is for! The Bridegroom is with us! We are His special friends and guests! This is a time of joy and gladness! This is the season of the Lord’s favor! It’s time to recall His inaugural Scripture reference: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." – Luke 4:18,19.
There will come a time when Jesus’ disciples WILL fast and pray, but it won’t be for religious reasons! It will be because the Bridegroom will be taken from them! There will come a time when the party will be disrupted and the Bridegroom will be absent. Their loss of personal contact and interaction with the Bridegroom will move His disciples to prayer and fasting. While He was with them, Jesus never turned down a good celebration and His disciples enjoyed great freedom to party that disciples of the Pharisees never experienced. Likewise today, the disciples of Christ may enjoy great spiritual freedom while we know His presence. No need to go around somber and long-faced. This stands in bold contrast to all other religions and their practices. Our Savior has sent His Spirit to be with us and in us. That intimate and abiding relationship allows us to celebrate and enjoy the party in honor of the Bridegroom!
I was told today, by someone who has been observing me for some time, “You’re way too happy!” “What’s the scoop with you?” I’m just a thankful disciple of Christ Jesus my Lord! I’m enjoying the party that He’s prepared for His wedding guests! I’m so happy, and here’s the reason why – Jesus took my burdens all away! Once my heart was heavy with a load of sin; Jesus took the load and gave me peace within! Now I’m singing as the days go by; Jesus took my burden all away! There’s a party going on in honor of the Bridegroom! I’m glad I was invited – it’s a terrific party! You’re invited too! Why not join in?
- Meet together with at least 1 or 2 other believers to enter the Throne Room of Grace.
- Thank God for the joy of knowing that our sins are forgiven!
- Pray for the Good News families of the week: Matt & Megan George (Nicole), Pete & Laurel George (Annabeth, Luke, Josiah), Pastor Dave & Cindy.
- Praise God for the gladness that results from being at peace with Him!
- Give thanks for the happiness we experience because Jesus took our burdens all away!
- Partner with us in “In Touch” Prayer meeting at the close of Worship Service.
- Pray that others may join the celebration in honor of the Bridegroom.
- Celebrate that Christianity is not a RELIGION but a RELATIONSHIP with the BRIDEGROOM!
- Praise God that this RELATIONSHIP is one of Love, Joy, Peace… and it goes on forever!
Prayer Challenge: Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. – Psalm 95:1,2,6,7