What if I don’t have to have the story, the understanding, the application out of this one event that we read in Mark?


The followers of John and the people who followed closely the teachers of the Pharisees were looking at the ways that the followers of Jesus were not, apparently, closely following the fasting requirements.

Jesus says, “No one puts new wine in old wineskins”.

It turns into a wall quote for change.

“You can’t do new things in old structures.”

“You can’t do fresh things in church in the stodgy old patterns.”

“You have to change the old ways.”

I don’t know.

In this chreai, this story, there is also a reminder that Jesus’ followers will fast soon enough. That this time with Jesus, walking with Jesus, eating with Jesus, learning from Jesus, is a time to be celebrating, but that soon enough there will be seasons of not celebrating, of giving up food for a season.

What if there is more to this story about who Jesus is than there is about what I can disrupt today? About what I can get away with?


As I’m sitting with this story, looking at the people who were involved, I’m seeing familiarity between the groups.

Andrew and John had been followers of John before they became followers of Jesus. John, we later read, had access to the high priest’s house the night before the crucifixion.

What if this is not a random questioning but is about some people who were part of a couple groups of honestly religious people talking to their friends who were following the new religious person. They are troubled. Understandably.

It’s easy to hear their voices: “You leave the faithful pursuit of holiness, and now you get to break the rules?”

What might be going on?


I’m restarting a monthly newsletter. Called “Finding Words“, it will have some of my writing about finding words in hard times and will have links to words I’m reading and listening to. It’s different than this site, but it’s still me. I’d love for you to subscribe.