Language Sites
  • UCAN China
  • UCAN India
  • UCAN Indonesia
  • UCAN Vietnam
Gospel Reflections » International

“Why Do Your Disciples Not Fast?”

February 15, 2013

Mail This Article
(For more than one recipient, type addresses separated by commas)

All religious groups have ways of behaving which make them recognizable, and fasting at certain times is one of them. John the Baptist’s followers as well as the Pharisees  were known for  their fasting, but not Jesus’s disciples. This occasioned comment and criticism, and led to Jesus being asked why his disciples did not conform to public perception.


Jesus answers by way of metaphor, likening his sojourn with his disciples to a wedding feast. As such it is to be considered a time of joy and festivity, when fasting and other signs of  mourning are out of place. Jesus does not reject fasting as such, but only says that there are times when it is not suitable, and so, is not an obligatory practice.


The Endtime is often compared in Scripture  to a wedding feast, a sign of  the messianic times, to which all and sundry are invited, and where the food and drink is abundant. Jesus affirms that with him the messianic times have arrived. Still there is a brief  allusion to his own passion and death, when “the bride-groom will be taken away from them”, and that will be the time for his disciples to mourn.


This is just one of many metaphors Jesus uses to tell the crowds that the kingdom of heaven he proclaims is not derived from conventional religious values. Conventional religion makes practical demands of devotion, but does not call for a new heart, a transformed life. But it is this that Jesus brings, and it shatters all conventional thinking. This is why his metaphors too – “the wedding feast”, “new wine into fresh skins”, “pearl of great price”, “the mustard seed” – challenge his hearers to re-think their lives and re-form their behaviour.


Want more stories like this?
Sign up to receive UCAN Daily or Weekly newsletters (You can select one or more)
Want more stories like this?
Sign up to UCAN Daily or Weekly newsletters
You can select one or more
First Cut
Morning Daily
(Morning Daily)
Full Bulletin
Afternoon Daily
(Afternoon Daily)