Jesus scandalous? It certainly seems that way from the passage for today. In the first story, Jesus is eating and drinking (feasting!), that is sharing fellowship, with notorious sinners. More than simply uncouth, good pious Jews of the time would not think of eating with such people. To share table fellowship was to identify with your company. Tax collectors were overt traitors to Israel and sinners were unclean. Yet Jesus not only eats with them, but challenges His challengers. In the proverb Jesus shares in v. 17 who are the sick and who are the righteous? Perhaps Jesus is challenging those who think they are not sick to see righteousness in a new light – those who are well aware of their need for a physicians touch!
In the second story, the people question Jesus why His disciples do not fast like the disciples of the Pharisees and John the Baptist. Jesus’ presence among them is a time to celebrate and feast on His word. Jesus notes that in His absence is a time to fast. In Jesus’ next proverb points to the need for things to fit together: unshrunk cloth doesn’t fit on an old cloak (coat) and new wine should go in new wine skits. The Pharisees and others response (condemnation in the first story and lack of awareness of Jesus’ authority) isn’t a fitting response to the Gospel.
How might Lent serve as a time for us to feast with God and with neighbors?
How might/are you taking on a time of fasting during Lent?
Why do you think fasting has become an unpracticed spiritual discipline?
What do you think Jesus is saying about discipleship in verses 21 and 22?