Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.
Matthew 9 : 14 – 15
If John’s Disciples were anything like their teacher they must have been a pretty severe bunch. John the Baptist was known for wandering the wilderness in his camelhair shirt, preaching repentance while living of wild honey and locusts. Following a man like John must have involved a pretty hard lifestyle. By contrast Jesus’s disciples had just had a meal courtesy of Matthew the tax collector, who could probably afford a good spread! They led a much more comfortable life visiting towns, staying with friends and occasionally the odd party.
So John’s disciples questioned Jesus, but Jesus gave a simple answer. There will be plenty of time for fasting in the future but now is a time to celebrate. He knew the disciples had a hard road ahead of them, so now was the time to be happy and enjoy being in Jesus’s presence.
Throughout a life of faith there will be times for mourning and fasting. There will be times when we feel defeated and need to grieve. But there will also be times when the only right thing to do is celebrate. There will be happy times when we are full of joy and want to share that with others. Both are part of the journey. A mature faith is one that knows how to grieve when it’s time for grieving, and how to celebrate when it is time for celebrating.
Choose which prayer feels most appropriate today:
Loving God, today is a joyful day and I want to celebrate it with thanksgiving. Help me to be like a guest at a wedding, appreciating every moment and sharing joy with the people around me. May I feel your presence and know that you are with me.
Loving God, today will be a difficult day and I will need your help to make it through. Help me to process my own feelings and to take care for those around me in need. May I feel your presence and know that you are with me.
Action: Take sometime to figure out what season of life you are in. A time of growth, mourning, celebration, apathy, change? Have a think about what sort of role your faith can play in this season.