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Luke Study #51 – What Time Is It?

The Gospel Of Luke

Luke 5:33-35 (CEV)

33 Some people said to Jesus, “John’s followers often pray and go without eating, and so do the followers of the Pharisees. But your disciples never go without eating or drinking.”

34 Jesus told them, “The friends of a bridegroom don’t go without eating while he is still with them. 35 But the time will come when he will be taken from them. Then they will go without eating.”

What Time Is It?

The Pharisees were really into fasting. Fasting for the Pharisees was all about remembering all of the bad things that Israel had done in the past, repenting of them, feeling bad about them, and hoping that by being a little bit better maybe they could undo the bad things that had happened in the past.

I couldn’t help wondering, actually, as I was writing this whether or not this party is being held on a ‘fast’ day? And if it was, just what it looked like for the Pharisees to be sitting at this dinner party, long-faced, not eating anything. And it reminded me of a wedding that I attended years ago. The people who were at the wedding seemed to have been a bit confused by the invitation. They sat and ate small amounts of food at a completely dry wedding and talked quietly with each other. There was no dancing. There was no laughter. And before it was even polite to do so, people started making their excuses and leaving one by one.

I kind of wonder whether that was what was going on here? Whether the Pharisees were trying to have a boring, somber fasting evening and instead Jesus and the rest of the crowd are living it up? Because clearly the Pharisees get frustrated. Clearly they’re annoyed by what’s happening. So they channel their annoyance into asking Jesus why his disciples aren’t fasting? Why they’re not keeping the feeling bad rules. And his answer is pretty simple – it wouldn’t make any sense to keep rules about feeling bad in the midst of a wedding, now would it? It wouldn’t make any more sense than a bunch of wedding guests refusing to dance and refusing to stay for the party!

See, I think the Pharisees have missed what time it is.

They think it’s time to fast, but actually it’s celebration time – Jesus had come!

They think it’s time to mourn, but actually it’s celebration time – no long faces here!

Yes there had been some mess-ups and some things to feel grief and sadness over. Yes, Israel had kind of screwed up (a bunch of times, actually) and there was going to need to be some change if things were going to get better, but the change was coming because Jesus was here. So it was time to celebrate, not fast!

I think some of us can still sometimes struggle with “what time it is”. It’s easy to get pulled down by the weight of the challenges that face us in life. More than that, it’s easy to get sucked into the experiences we’ve been through in our pasts and find ourselves living our everyday lives fixated on that pain and brokenness.

And when we do that, it’s easy to miss out on the life that is right in front of our very eyes.

The writer of Ecclesiastes says that there is a time for everything. “… for crying and laughing, weeping and dancing … for finding and losing, keeping and giving …”

Jesus knows that there is lots we have to grieve from our past. He knows that we need to work through that process. But I think the Pharisees show us that it’s possible to get so caught up in our shame and our guilt from the past that we miss the hope that has come – the hope of Jesus that now sits right in front of us, right at the table.

If this is you, Jesus says ‘don’t miss the party’.

If this is you, Jesus says ‘come join the dance’.

If this is you, Jesus says ‘can I pass you some more …’Journal Questions:

  1. Do you find that you spend a lot of time living in the past?
  2. Do you feel that you have lots of things to make amends for, or feel ashamed about or feel guilty over?
  3. Do you find you keep circling back over and over these same things, but find it difficult to move forward?
  4. Do you find it easy or hard to join in with the dance?
  5. The past is real. It happened, and often there are things we need to work through to get to the other side. But we’re not supposed to stay in the past. If this is you, I encourage you to reach out to Roy, Christina, Nathan, or me (Heather) or someone else you trust and have a conversation. Maybe there’s a need for some counseling. Maybe there’s a need for some coaching. But this is not the place you’re designed to stay in. You’re invited to the party. You’re invited to join the dance.

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