How are you teaching?
14 Next, Yochanan’s talmidim (disciples/students) came to him and asked, “Why is it that we and the P’rushim (Pharisees) fast frequently, but your talmidim don’t fast at all?” 15 Yeshua said to them, “Can wedding guests mourn while the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them; then they will fast. 16 No one patches an old coat with a piece of unshrunk cloth, because the patch tears away from the coat and leaves a worse hole. 17 Nor do people put new wine in old wineskins; if they do, the skins burst, the wine spills and the wineskins are ruined. No, they pour new wine into freshly prepared wineskins, and in this way both are preserved.”
These verses seem quite strange... Talking about a bridegroom and mourning. Patches on an old coat. Wine in wineskins. Jesus was quite clever in how He spoke.
If you notice, it was John's disciples who came to Jesus and asked the question about fasting. John was known as a teacher/rabbi and had students following Him. Because He knew Who Jesus was, John would not have taught anything different than Jesus did, but he may have encouraged the practices to be carried out a little differently. I know that John probably required mikvahs to be done more often than other "sects" of the day.
In this case, take fasting, for instance. It is required in Torah for a few occasions, but it isn't a main focus. However, it is said that it can be done. So, John and his followers observed fasting one way. The Pharisees must have as well. Jesus and His disciples chose not too. Jesus, knowing that He would be going away and then there would be the opportunity to fast more often because they would be mourning the fact that the bridegroom is away. Both groups know that fasting is important, it is just the hows and whens for it to happen. It doesn't make one camp "right" and the other "wrong."
There have been lots of teachings done on the wineskin. I think once again we have to understand that when we teach, we must be careful how we teach, and look at the audience to whom we are bringing the message. Can we give them meat, or does it need to be milk? Are they new wineskins, or a bit seasoned and can handle the older wine?
In my thoughts, this is all missing today in the world of denominations and ideas. Everyone wants to hold onto the "We are right" mentality. God made us a body. We have to figure out how to work together. We cannot compromise Truth, but along the way, if someone fasts more often than another, should that matter? If someone lights a candle differently than another, should that matter? There are basics that we cannot digress from, and yes, we need to hold each other accountable for Truth and discuss openly with the Word of God in front of us. However, we cannot divide ourselves over trivial matters.
Teaching... how are you presenting His Word? How are you sharing His thoughts with others? Is it bringing people closer to an understanding of the Word? What a challenge for all of us today.
Love and blessings,
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