Mar 22, 2015
Two pressing questions that are asked of Jesus:
1. “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” (v. 18)
o The only yearly fast mentioned in the New Testament was on the Day of Atonement, and in the Old Testament it was the only required fast.
o There are four fasts mentioned and observed following the Babylonian exile. (Zechariah 8:19)
o Jesus fasted while being tempted in the wilderness.
o John’s disciples fasted, more than likely, in keeping with the Day of Atonement and perhaps in anticipation of the coming Messiah.
o The Pharisees fasted ritually and as a show of piety. (Matthew 6:16-18)
§ Scripture warns against fasting with wrong motives (Isaiah 58:3-6; Zechariah 7:5-6)
· Fasting reveals our longing for the presence of God, which ultimately will be satisfied at His second coming. (v. 19-20)
· Jesus didn’t come to bring religious reformation as much as He came to make us righteous through His redemption. (v. 20)
· Jesus came to replace the shadow of God’s glory, with the reality of God’s glory.
§ Jesus fulfills the old covenant of the Law and institutes the new covenant by His blood. (Matthew 5:17; Mark 14:24,25; Luke 22:20)
§ Jesus is not something to be added to an existing religious system or tradition.
· New cloth (v. 21)
· New wine (v. 22)
2. “Why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
· God established the Sabbath to be set aside as holy. (Exodus 20:8-11)
o In Scripture, Sabbath was from sunset on Friday until sunset on Saturday.
o Sabbath is set aside as a day of rest.
· The Sabbath is to be a blessing, not a burden. (v.27)
o Jesus shatters their legalistic, self-righteousness with His sovereign authority.
· Legalism will deceive you into thinking you are spiritually full when in reality you are spiritually famished.
Questions for Discussion . . .
1. Jesus is not an addition to religious systems, but rather is the only way to God. How would you respond to someone who asked you if there are several ways that lead to God?
2. How was the Pharisees’ desire to fast commendable? In what ways did they get it wrong?
3. What is the purpose of fasting? What is the point that Jesus is making in verses 19-20?
4. Under what circumstances would you consider fasting?
5. How should a follower of Christ respond to God’s command to honor the Sabbath? What is important about honoring the Sabbath? In what ways are you keeping Sabbath currently?
6. How do we make sure we are teaching what Scripture says rather than adding to it and making our own rules?
7. Were the Pharisees justified in condemning Jesus for His disciples’ actions? Explain.
8. Discuss the statement Pastor Shawn made, “Legalism will deceive you into thinking you are spiritually full when in reality you are spiritually famished.”