The disciples of John approached Jesus


The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?”

Sometimes when I read this question , I always misidentify who asks it. The disciple is one of John the Baptists disciples, and not a mistaken Pharisee. It is  a question of simple curiosity and not one of deceit or trickery. In today readings this might be missed because the Old Testament reading describing the succession from an aging Isaac to his sons Jacob and Esau is a tale of deceit, or intrigue or gamesmanship depending on ones point of view. It describes the extent Isaac’s relatives go to in order to inherit Isaac’s reign.It provides for intriguing thought on choosing a successor with a battle between hierarchy (or birthright) versus intelligence, ambition, ability and drive. After reading through that first account, I automatically assume Johns disciples question is like so many of the questions of the Pharisees that are asked only to lay a trap. It is not though, Its a simple straightforward question; “Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answer is simple, though perhaps not so easy to understand by John’s disciple or by a Pharisee. John’s message was Repent and make way for the Lord. His message was all about fasting and repentance for ones sins. It was about turning back to God. It was about preparation. I wonder if when John’s disciple asked this question of Jesus, if perhaps that disciple felt a bit envious of Jesus disciples and also maybe a bit angry as that disciples time was spent fasting while others feasted. Jesus’s response though does not argue against the Baptists preaching. It instead says the fast is over and the time now calls for a festive celebration. Like the first reading there is a succession from Johns message of preparation to Jesus message of ‘the kingdom of God is at hand.” If John had planted the seeds of that Kingdom perhaps now is the time to enjoy the reward. The time which John has so diligently prepared had indeed arrived. I wonder though if Johns disciple looked at Jesus’s disciples as as separate opposing group? The truth though was that Jesus was what they had prepared for, and it was time for those disciples of Johns to join in the feast. Johns disciple asked a simple question, and got a simple answer without deceit. The time for fasting was over and the time for celebration had begun.

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