John’s students and the legalists were fasting. So people came to Jesus and asked, “Why do John’s students and the students of legalism fast, but your students don’t?”
“Nobody goes to a wedding reception,” Jesus answered, “and doesn’t eat the food when the groom is right there celebrating. While the happy couple is in the room, you’ve got to eat the food. Someday, after the bride and groom are swept away, it will be time for going on a diet.”
Well, maybe there are dieters at a wedding reception, but more often than not they use it as an excuse to take a break from their diets.
Jesus’ point is similar to the famous line from Ecclesiastes: “For everything there is a time, and a season for everything under heaven.” (Turn, turn, turn.)
Any comedian will tell you that timing is everything. And so will just about every stock trader, real estate agent, fertility clinic, and auto mechanic.
Where we run into trouble is when our timing is off. We’ve misread the situation and show up to a black tie dinner in bluejeans and a sweatshirt. We wear white to a funeral and black to a wedding. Or, we miss the chance to be a part of something wonderful because we, “just didn’t see it coming.”
John’s students and the legalists aren’t doing wrong. They’re just doing it at the wrong time.
Three hymns and a sermon aren’t wrong. It’s just that their time is past.
Camping out in Zuccatti Park isn’t wrong. Staying there for days and days wasn’t wrong either. But it’s time for something else.
Windows of opportunity open and close. That’s life. You can take it or leave it. But Jesus’ advice is that when life opens one, take it.