TEXT: Matthew 9:14-17
14 Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?
15 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.
16 No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.
17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.
Warren Wiersbe said, “As the Physician, Jesus came to bring spiritual health to sick sinners. As the Bridegroom, He came to give spiritual joy. The Christian life is a feast, not a funeral.”
As this passage continues, it appears that Jesus is still at the feast that took place after He called Matthew to follow Him. Many sinners and publicans are gathered there. The Pharisees came with their criticism and questions, but Jesus dismissed them with the encouragement to go study the Scripture that they might learn the true nature of God. Now, the disciples of John the Baptist come to Jesus with a question of their own: “Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?”
In the gospels, Jesus is only described as fasting once — during his 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness. We do not read of the disciples ever fasting in the gospels. However, Jesus is described as eating, drinking, and feasting with his disciples and others numerous times. At one point, Jesus even defends his disciples who had gotten hungry and picked grain on the Sabbath so they could eat. John MacArthur notes that “the Old Testament prescribed only one fast, the one on the Day of Atonement. But Jewish tradition had come to require fasting twice a week, and these disciples [those of John and the Pharisees] were careful to follow that practice.” But, why didn’t Jesus and His disciples fast as ritually as the Pharisees and other religious groups?
Jesus responds to John’s disciples in the context of a marriage, saying, “Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them?” A wedding in that day normally lasted seven days and was a time of great celebration and feasting. In this context, Jesus is speaking of Himself as the groom and His followers as the “children of the bridechamber.” According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, the children of the bridechamber “were friends or companions of the bridegroom or bride, and were usually very numerous. Any wedding guest might be included in the expression, or anyone who took part in the bridal procession and remained for the wedding-feast.”
With Jesus with them in the present, the disciples had no reason to mourn. Although it is likely that they did not fully understand it, they were in communion with God. They awakened each day in the presence of God in the flesh. If they believed that Jesus was indeed “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” as Peter confessed, they had no reason to go about what had become a perfunctory and often insincere practice. David Guzik said, “It wasn’t right for Jesus’ disciples to imitate the Pharisees in their hypocritical shows. Nor was it right for them to imitate John’s disciples in their ministry of humble preparation, because the disciples lived in the experience that John tried to prepare people for.”
As the angels declared on the night of His birth, Jesus’ coming heralded peace on earth and good will to men. Hundreds of years of expectancy and longing were fulfilled that night. And during his three year ministry, those who followed Jesus closely lived in harmony with that reality. Because the bridegroom was with them, they had no reason to fear, fast, or mourn. One day, the bridegroom will be with all of His followers, not just in a spiritual sense, but in a physical sense as well. And, this time, the benefits of His presence will be eternal.
Johann Rist wrote:
Arise, sons of the kingdom!
The King is drawing nigh;
Arise, and hail with gladness
The ruler from on high.
Ye Christians, hasten forth!
Your praise and homage bring Him,
Naught else your love is worth
And glad hosannas sing Him.
Arise, ye drooping mourners!
The King is very near;
Away with grief and sorrow,
For lo! your help is here.
Behold, in many a place—
We find Him, our salvation,
Through Him, we receive grace
What blessed consolation!
Arise, ye much afflicted!
The King is now not far;
Rejoice, ye long dejected!
Here comes the Morning Star.
The Lord will give you joy;
Though troubles now distress you,
Even death He will destroy.
And with comfort He will bless you!
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at [email protected] and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.