18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and he disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.” ESV
Mark has put a story about feasting (2:13-17) with a story about fasting. The Jesus movement was celebratory in practice which seems far removed from the ascetic lifestyle of the followers of John of the twice-a-week (Luke 18:12) fasting of the Pharisees. Why is the Jesus movement so different from other reform movements in Judaism. The answer to this, in part, is due to the eschatological time. The bridegroom is here, its the time for celebration, a time of new beginnings, a time of abundant joy. We have already seen how Jesus, as portrayed and as historical future, ministry is shaped by the promises of Isaiah. He brings good news, a time of restoration. Is it not possible/probable that Jesus, using the life script of Isaiah, is using wedding imagery of Is 61:10, 62:4-5 see also Hosea 2:14-20.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself llike a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the Lord God will cause nrighteousness and praise
to sprout up before all the nations.
You shall no more be termed uForsaken,1
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,2
r but you shall be called vMy Delight Is in Her,3
and your land Married;4
for the Lord delights in you,
and your land shall be married.
5 For as a young man marries a young woman,
so wshall your sons marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so xshall your God rejoice over you.
Jesus as the bridegroom, if Isaiah is a life script for Jesus ministry, is somehow the embodiment of YHWH. Jesus brings with him the presence of God. In this passage Jesus also predicts his shortened life, the bridegroom will be taken away (ἀπαρθῇ ). This word suggests it is by forceful removal and not natural.
Jesus desciples and ministry cannot be contained or put in the box of Judaism of the time. New wine has arrived, new wine skins are needed. New praxis, new theology for the time of the eschaton, new wine is here (Luke 2: 21-22)