In this episode, people once again come at Jesus sideways, so He has to set them straight.
When someone asks Him why His disciples do not fast, Jesus essentially says: This ain’t a wake; it’s a wedding! How can the groomsmen fast when the bridegroom is here?
When Jesus claims to be the bridegroom, He is using a metaphor found throughout Scripture – a metaphor that is loaded with meaning (cf. Hos 2:14-20; Is 54:4-8; Is 61:10, 62:5; Eph 5:25f.; 2 Cor 11:2; Jn 3:28-30).
In spite of the spiritual adultery (Jer 3:1, 6-10; Eze 16:6-25) of His people (His bride (Jer 2:2, 3:1f.!), through His prophets, the LORD foretold that He would be a Husband to His bride once again (Jer 3:11-14 and passages in paragraph above)– and institute a new marital covenant.
I argue that when Jesus claims to be the bridegroom (Mk 2:19), He is claiming to be the One who will bring about that new covenant in His blood (cf. Ex 24:8; Jer 31:31-34; 1 Cor 11:25). He is the One who brings about a reconciled relationship between God and His people.
In light of this, His disciples shouldn’t be fasting, they should be feasting. For they are experiencing a foretaste of the everlasting wedding banquet between God and His people (cf. Mt 22:1-14; Mt 25:1-13; Rev 19:7, 9, 21:2, 9, 17).
So, Church, let’s not cheat on our Husband; let’s love the LORD with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our strength (cf. Dt 6:5; Mt 22:37-38). And, let’s be prepared for the final wedding banquet.
There’s a lot more we can say on this passage, so I hope to finish up Mark 2:18-22 next week (see Part II here). I’ll hope to discuss more about how Jesus uses even more metaphorical language to explain how He came not to merely reform, but to transform.
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