January 19 – Chronological Life of Jesus Day 13
After a warm weekend of refreshing play outside, I think I just may survive winter after all. Warm days in the middle of a Nebraska winter are like gifts straight from God and directly to me. I’m glad you enjoyed the warmth too, but I’m claiming that gift was made special just for me as I praise Him for the warm weather. He knows exactly what I need before I need it (Matthew 6:8). God can do incredible things through a personal relationship with Him. When I come to Him personally, I can see what He is doing in me and for me personally and acknowledge and glorify Him all the more. And just the fact that there are billions of people who ever lived and God has the infinite capacity to have a personal relationship, caring about every single detail, for each one of them is mind-blowing. He can do this in you and for you too if you seek Him and let Him draw close and truly acknowledge that, yes, He is the Creator of the Universe, but He also cares deeply for you, from your mundane everyday tasks to your pits and struggles.
READ: Mark 2
I’ve probably read the story in Mark 2:18-22 about ten times in the last few years, and every single time when I get to that part about the patch and then the wine, I’m clueless—I have no idea what Jesus is trying to express here. Today, I’m craving that knowledge because I’m in the midst of a fast, and I really want to know what the Bible says about fasting so that I’m doing it in alignment with God. I’m feeling like one of those people Isaiah is talking about in Isaiah 6:9-10, and Jesus also alludes to in Matthew 13 when the disciples ask him why he speaks in parables: “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” I don’t want to be one of those people, and I seek God daily, reading His Word and writing about it to process and understand it. There’s hope for me. Isaiah and Jesus were talking about non-believers, but 1 Corinthians 4:3 says, “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing” (those who are perishing are those who don’t believe and thus don’t have eternal life), and Jesus himself says to his disciples in Mark 4:11: “…’The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables.’” That means when I don’t understand what I’m reading in the Bible, as a believer, I can expect that God will reveal it to me when I seek Him. In fact right after this verse in Mark 4:11, Jesus explains a parable to his disciples because they just didn’t get it either.
Now what about the patch and the wine? Before, I didn’t seek God to reveal this to me; I just skipped to the parts I understood better. Today, mostly because God is convicting me through the role of facilitator of this Bible study, I don’t want to skip the hard parts any more. After some research, I now get it. The new patch and the new wine are Jesus, and the old clothes and old wineskin are the time-worn Jews. The Jews fasted in looking and begging for their Messiah to come for thousands of years. It was part of custom and tradition for them to fast on certain days as reported in Mark 2:18. But even if Jesus screamed at the top of his lungs, “Guys! Don’t you get it? I’m here! Why are you depressingly fasting, wishing I’d get here soon, when I’m here right now,” their hearts would still be hard. So, he takes a gentler approach through parables. But what he is saying is that they won’t be able to accept their Messiah and salvation unless they change their hearts, unless they make themselves new and are open to Jesus’ teachings. If they keep following their old ways and traditions instead of accepting the new Way through Jesus, Jesus’ teachings will make their hearts harder, and they’ll be presented before God on judgment day like a ripped up coat or busted wineskin that won’t hold any wine.
Have you used Jesus like a patch on your life? Sticking to your old ways but not really changing? Acknowledging Jesus on the surface but not letting Him into the fabric of your life? It can only be a personal relationship if I let Him in.
The Spirit took me away on the journey above, but there’s lots more in Mark 2. Each of the stories in this chapter are covered by the other gospel authors too, so we’ll address them when we get to them there. But if God is speaking to you through the other parts of Mark 2, please share in our Comments section below this post on the website.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Thank You for new understanding from a patch and wine. Thank You for revealing Your truths to me when I seek You! Please continue to build in me a new heart, open to Jesus and what You are teaching me every day.