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. “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse.  Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”Matthew 9:14-17 NIV
Today is the Saturday between Good Friday and the Resurrection celebration. It is the Day of Silence, a day of waiting and contemplation. I believe that silence, contemplation, is a small discipline that yields big results in enriching our walk with the Lord. In the high tech, noisy age in which we live, it;s a distinct challenge for us to find a place of silence. Hopefully, we can cultivate it more than once a year. Fasting, prayer, contemplation… all are good things. As we prepare to celebrate the centerpiece event of the Christian faith, let’s contemplate which side of the Cross we’re on.
When Jesus was questioned about fasting by the disciples of John the Baptist, whose lifestyle we believe was quite ascetic, He had a three -fold reply:
- Don’t mourn when the Bridegroom is with you. For them, the Bridegroom was standing right in front of them. For us, He is living right inside of us. Don’t let religious thinking move you into a place of longing for a Presence that is already in you. He promised us, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Because of that promise, we need never be afraid. Contemplate that! (Heb 13:5-6)
- You are saved by grace, not works. Jesus didn’t come to add one more set of doctrines and rules to the Law of Moses. He came to fulfill it. In doing so, He became our new High Priest ever living to plead our case on the basis of His blood, not the Law. No amount of fasting, or praying, or feeling sorry and unworthy can add to what He did. It’s the blood, not the Law. Your new garment is perfect. It is finished. Contemplate that! (Romans 10:1-4)
- You are a New Creation. You are saved by the grace of God through faith in the completed work of Jesus Christ on Calvary. You are born again by the power of His resurrection. He didn’t pour His Spirit into your old man. You died and the life you now live you live by the new life you received. You are a child of God. Think like it, live like it, pray like it. Contemplate that! (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)