A New Thing!
Reading: Luke 5 v 33 - 39
Our reading today tells of a time when Jesus is head to head with the Pharisees, a legalistic religious group of the day.
They question Jesus as to why his disciples do not fast. Jesus basically replies with another question (as he often does) - why do they need to fast when God is with them in the flesh? He links fasting with his presence. Then Jesus goes on to tell them a parable about garments and wineskins and the utter futility of repairing an old garment with new cloth or pouring new wine into an old wineskin.
Why does Jesus place fasting and this particular parable together? The answer lies in the reality of a new future hosting the presence of God.
Jesus is leading the conversation to a time in the future when He will no longer be with His disciples in the flesh. He’s pointing them to the time when the Holy Spirit will come. Fasting cultivates a desire for God’s presence in our lives, while the presence of God - through the Holy Spirit - is looking for ‘vessels’ (the hearts of people) that are pliable enough to allow God to speak, move, lead and redeem in new ways.
Jesus is talking about a new thing - a new way to cultivate a life - giving relationship with Him and from that relationship comes a willingness for us to encounter Christ through the Holy Spirit in ways we’ve never known.
As a church, this is the heart of why we’re fasting - to cultivate a relationship with Jesus that keeps our heart pliable enough to encounter more of the Holy Spirit in new ways.
As you’re determining when and how you will fast in January, get ready to develop your relationship with Jesus to new levels of intimacy and expect the Holy Spirit to lead you to new things in 2017.
‘Dear God, thank you for leading me to fast and pray with my church in January. I’m excited to grow closer to Jesus while becoming more open to what the Holy Spirit will say and do. In Jesus name, Amen.’