Thursday, January 30, 2014

Drinking Deep (Luke 5:33)

And they said to Him, "The disciples of John often fast and offer prayers, the disciples of the Pharisees also do the same, but Yours eat and drink." (Luke 5:33 NASB)

The scribes and Pharisees were questioning Jesus. For a teacher, His ways were dramatically different than their norm. It is interesting that they give the example of students of John and students of the Pharisees. Those two groups were, in many ways, at opposite extremes of the spectrum. John the Baptizer is to thought to have been a part of the Essenes, (a religious group who lived communally. Qumran, the site of the Dead Sea Scroll discovery, was an Essene community). John's ministry was marked by fasting, baptism, and self denial with the objective being personal spiritual purification  John dressed in a camel hide robe and was a kind of wilderness preacher. 

The Pharisees were more inclined to enjoy an urban lifestyle. They were religious scholars who were leaders of the day. Their disciples also fasted, but it tended to be more a matter of ritual than of purification. 

Their question was why His disciples did not fast when the two extremes of the spectrum practiced fasting on a regular basis. "Your disciples eat and drink," they complained. We will see what Jesus said tomorrow, but this word for "drink" is worth exploring. The Greek word used here is "pinĊ" and it does literally mean to drink a liquid. www.blueletterbible.org clarifies it a little further. 

"figuratively, to receive into the soul what serves to refresh strengthen, nourish it unto life eternal"

Those Pharisees had their answer already. The disciples following Jesus spent those three short years soaking up refreshment and nourishment for their souls. They were gaining eternal life. 

When we spend time in prayer and Bible study, we, too, should be "drinking in eternal life".  Does our quiet time provide nourishment and refreshment for our souls or have we allowed it to become a Pharisaical ritual?  

Today, spend time being quiet before our Lord and be still long enough to allow Him to refresh and nourish you. Spend time worshipping Him and thanking Him for all the blessings He has bestowed already. Thank Him, too, for all the answered prayers we will eventually see. 

"Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end"
Hymn by Katharina von Schlegel 1752