Ellen G. White Writings

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From Heaven With Love, Page 180

being a glutton and a winebibber. They would not consider that Jesus was eating with sinners in order to bring the light of heaven to those who sat in darkness. They would not consider that every word dropped by the divine Teacher was living seed that would germinate and bear fruit to the glory of God. They had determined not to accept the light, and although they had opposed the mission of the Baptist, they were now ready to court the friendship of his disciples, hoping to secure their cooperation against Jesus. They represented that Jesus was setting at nought the ancient traditions, and they contrasted the austere piety of the Baptist with Jesus’ feasting with publicans and sinners.

The disciples of John were at this time in great sorrow. With their beloved teacher in prison, they passed their days in mourning. And Jesus was making no effort to release John, and even appeared to cast discredit on his teaching. If John had been sent by God, why did Jesus and His disciples pursue a course so widely different?

The disciples of John thought there might be some foundation for the charges of the Pharisees. They observed many rules prescribed by the rabbis. Fasting was practiced by the Jews as an act of merit; the most rigid fasted two days every week. The Pharisees and John's disciples were fasting when the latter came to Jesus with the inquiry, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but Thy disciples fast not?”

Tenderly Jesus answered. He did not try to correct their erroneous concept of fasting, but only to set them right in regard to His own mission. John the Baptist himself had said, “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full.” John 3:29, RSV. The disciples of John could not fail to recall these words of their teacher. Taking up the illustration, Jesus said, “Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them?”

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