Why Are They Not Fasting?

Should the disciples stay in joy? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

After the events described in Matthew 9 concerning the calling of Matthew, Jesus is asked why He and His disciples don’t fast. This is not really a hostile question seeing as it comes from the disciples of John the Baptist. It’s a valid question to ask. Shouldn’t good Jewish boys be observing the fast?

Jesus’s answer is highly eschatological. How is it that His disciples can enter a time of fasting normally attributed to mourning and sorrow when the bridegroom is there with them? Wedding language is normally used in the Old Testament to describe the relationship of God and His people and the same happens in the New to describe Jesus and the church.

When the wedding is going on, there is to be joy and celebration. You don’t fast, but instead you feast. Jesus is saying that with His coming, the time of the marriage is at hand. The people are all there to celebrate.

This was typical for weddings in the time of Jesus. They would normally last a long time in the sense of the celebrations. The people gathered would celebrate the marrying of the couple and then the consummation of their marriage. To get an idea of that, just imagine spending your honeymoon with all your family right there and knowing what happened on the wedding night and celebrating that openly.

But Jesus does say there will be a time of mourning later. Here, He hints that His visit is just that, a visit, and He will not be there forever. We have no indication in the text that His disciples asked Him about this. We know a number of times they wondered about what He said without asking Him.

For now though, the celebration was on. Jesus was with His people, and not just His disciples but Israel. What is the good news about Jesus’s coming? That will be discussed more in the life of Christ as we continue later on.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)