Getting Christianity

Mark 2:18-23

by Pastor John

Why don't you get Christianity? It could be because you're thinking of it in a very wrong way.

There are always new things to learn, and ideas to wrestle with, but at its very core, faith in Jesus is so different than any other way of thinking or relating.

Some people saw that others were fasting and were curious why Jesus' disciples were not.

Jesus responds with three word pictures.

First, Jesus talks about himself as a Bridegroom. It makes no sense to fast when the Bridegroom is right there in the room with you. Fasting is about seeking after God, but in Jesus, the presence of God was right there with them. There was no need to fast.

Second, Jesus mentions clothes and patches. In Jesus, religion is about to be turned upside down. Religion is about spiritual advice and tips on trying a little harder. Jesus is saying that is the old way of doing things, and putting a new cloth on an old coat won't work.

Third, Jesus mentions new wine and old wineskins. The old way of doing things can't contain the Kingdom Jesus brings with him.

Why don't you get Christianity? Maybe it is because you're still trying to secure God's presence with you by something you do for Him, rather than resting in the fact that Jesus comes to you. Maybe you're thinking of the faith as a list of rules, rather than a relationship. Maybe you're trying to hold onto a little religion, rather than grasping that the Kingdom of God has come on earth through Jesus.

Tom Wright says, "Christians look back to the time of Jesus as the one-off moment when God did the great new thing that had long been promised. Everything is different as a result of what he did. But that doesn’t stop us, sadly, from trying to combine the new things the gospel offers with the old things from the world all around us — or, indeed, the old and often unnecessary traditions from the church of former years. When God is doing new things, we should join the party, not grumble because the new wine is threatening to burst our poor old bottles. A good deal of day-to-day Christian wisdom consists in sorting out the new from the old.