Jesus said to them, “Can the groomsmen fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they can’t fast. – Mark 2:19
This was our Lord’s answer to those who thought His religion was too bright and optimistic – that it didn’t have enough days for fasting in it. They thought that religion was only genuine when it made people sad, and that its quality was just in proportion to its gloom. But Christ’s reply showed that mournful faces are no essential indicators of a reverent and contrite heart. Should His disciples be mournful and sad when He was with men, filling their lives with the gladness of His presence? Should Christians claim to be heavy-hearted, looking as though life is not worth living, when in fact they are really filled with joy, and when there is no excuse for sorrow? Why should anyone who has been saved by the Lord Jesus and who is rejoicing in the fact they have eternal life, go about in sackcloth and ashes? Is there any godliness in a sad face? Does God love to see his children looking miserable? Is human joy displeasing to our Father?
All these questions are answered here in our Lord’s words. He does not wish His disciples to go mourning and fasting when they have no excuse for it. His words are a defense of Christian joyfulness. Christ wants His friends to be happy. There is a complete contradiction in a sad and downcast Christian life. By its very nature true religion is joy-filled! Our sins are forgiven. We are adopted into God’s family. We are heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. The covenant of love arches its shelter over us continually. All things in this world work together for our good, and then glory waits for us beyond death’s gate. With all this to look forward to, why should we be mournful and sad?
While we enjoy the smile of Christ, the consciousness of his love, the assurance of his forgiveness, and the hope of heaven and eternal life, what should make us sad? We should have radiant faces.