There are two major takeaways from the next section of Matthew 9 that I want to share. I’ll share the first one today and the other one next week.
The first is from the first two verses:
Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. – Matthew 9:14-15
John’s disciples (as in John the Baptist, JTB) came to Jesus with a question. The question was why they and the Pharisees fasted frequently (for religious purposes) but Jesus and His disciples never fasted.
And Jesus’s answer to them is my first takeaway. And it’s something I really needed to hear right now.
In my current life situation, I am involved in a project with several incredible Christian believers. These are people I want to be like when I grow up! Seriously. After spending time with them, I feel so honored and so blessed.
And sometimes later on I start feeling not so blessed. Because I try to go after the things some of them are doing – and I can’t do it all. I want to be like them in their area of strength, but I can’t. It just doesn’t ‘fit’ right now. And it may never.
And that’s why Jesus’s answer gives me freedom. In essence, what I think Jesus is saying is that at the exact same moment in time, it was okay for JTB’s disciples and the Pharisees to be fasting and for Jesus’s disciples to NOT be fasting.
How freeing is that?!? We’re all different. And we’re all in different places. And it’s okay. Jesus meets us where we are and we need to trust Him to take us where He wants us to go . . . when He wants us to go there.
Whew. So just because my good friend is spending hours a day praying and fasting, I don’t have to feel guilty because that’s not where God has me right now.
Notice that Jesus didn’t say His disciples would never fast again. In fact, He said they would. So it doesn’t mean I won’t go after some of the things my friends are so good at—but it’s just not for me right now. I have other things He wants me to focus on.
Whose gifts are you trying to adopt into your life?
What does God want you focused on instead?
Here’s the second takeaway.