We are reading the Bible through together this year, using the Discipleship Journal Reading Plan published by the Navigators. You can download it free of charge from: https://www.navigators.org/resource/bible-reading-plans/
Today’s 4 readings are: Matthew 9:14-26; Acts 13:26-52; Psalm 22:1-11, Genesis 48.
The Disciples of John came to Jesus with a curious question about fasting. Fasting in Jesus day had taken on some aspects we see even today. Throughout the Old Testament fasting was always tied to some aspect of mourning. It expressed grief over war, famine, loss and especially in repentance after a spiritual decline. But it wasn’t long before fasting became somewhat superstitious – a means to somehow bend the arm of God to do something for us that He was reluctant to do. And it became a symbol of one’s personal piety.
Jesus in his answer to them, bids them to remember that fasting, like so many other things is tied instead to certain seasons. Seasons like I mentioned above. And thus, it would not be proper for Jesus’ disciples to be fasting right at this moment, for He, the Bridegroom was with them. It wasn’t the season for fasting but for rejoicing. Their days of mourning would come in time. But not now.
And this bids us all to remember that even in nature, God has built in the idea of seasons. As the Writer in Ecclesiates reminds us: Ecclesiastes 3:1–8 (ESV) — For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”
Seasons come and go. None are permanent. We are not meant for unalloyed joy yet. There will be days of sorrow and grief. And, we are not made for nothing but misery now. We keep our eyes open for a change of season, even the great change when we shall see Him in His return. Don’t faint at your present season if it is troublesome. It will not last. And don’t cling too tightly to a present season of ease and joy as though it is meant to always be that way and something is horribly wrong if for a time such joy departs. Trust in the God of the Seasons. Find the treasure in each. Commit yourself to Him in each. The Great Day of Christ’s appearing – is just before us.