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Proper 13 A

July 31, 2011

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Proper 13                                                                                          Trinity Lutheran Church

31 July 2011                                                                            Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +


Matthew 14:13-21


John the Baptist, the forerunner and proclaimer of the Christ, has been executed.  Made shorter by a head thanks to Herod.   


The beheading of a prophet like John is big news.  Jesus hears about it.  He isn’t surprised.  That’s the way it goes with God’s prophets.  How much more with the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior Jesus Himself!  He is rejected by his own hometown of Nazareth.  He has become the object of superstitious fear at King Herod’s court.  Herod senses that the powers he feared in John have returned from the dead in the person of Jesus.


What’s happening in Nazareth and at the king’s court is happening in all of Israel:  Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior is being rejected.  He suffers Himself to be rejected.  He forces Himself on no one.   


So He withdraws.  Takes a boat ride to be all by Himself.  Perhaps to mourn John’s death.  And to contemplate what will happen to Him.  He knows where His ministry is leading.  It’s taking Him to the Cross.  Betrayal.  Brutal suffering.  A horrific cruciform death.  He wants to be by Himself for a while. 


That doesn’t last long.  Crowds from the cities look for Him.  Crowds.  A whole mass of people.  Jesus comes back to the shore.  And as usual, Jesus has compassion on them.  He’s not there for Himself.  He’s come as the Christ for all people.  Whether they reject Him or receive Him.


He heals their sick.  And after a long day the crowds are still there.  The place is desolate.  Everyone is hungry.


He tells His disciples:  “You feed them.”  And their answer:  “We have so little.  Five loaves of bread.  Two fish.  That’s it!  Nothing else.  How can we feed all these folks with that?  We can’t possibly do it Jesus!”


They can’t trust Jesus with five loaves and two fish.  How about you?  What is it in your life that seems so immense that you won’t bother Jesus?  What problem is so gargantuan that you can’t tell Jesus?  What sin is it that you won’t trust with Jesus?  Too big for Jesus you say?  Too hard for Jesus?  Nonsense! 


With Jesus there’s always enough and even more!  More than you could ever expect.  Whether it’s your sin or guilt, death or hell, or even five loaves and two fish to feed thousands.  Jesus is a bigger Savior than we could ever imagine.


His compassion has no bounds.  “Bring the bread and fish to me.  Sit on the grass everyone.  Relax.  I’ll take care of you.”  Then he looks heavenward.  Blesses the food.  Breaks the bread and says to His disciples:  “All right boys, start handing it out to these poor folks.” 


The miracle happens as Jesus makes as little fuss as possible.  No hocus-pocus.  No lengthy praying.  No holy exhortations like:  “I’ll feed you only after you give your hearts to Me!”  Just break it up and pass it out.  Jesus so underplays it that the bread and fish probably reach the back row of the crowds before the first row figures out what’s going on.


“They all ate and were satisfied.”  Jesus took care of them.  And much more than they ever expected.  “And they picked up what was left over of the broken pieces:  twelve full baskets.”  


Can you trust a Jesus with only five loaves and two fish?  Can you.  Yes.  And with anything else.  In fact, with everything!  Especially the most troubling problems of all:  sin, death, and hell.  For that there’s Calvary.  Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!  Salvation achieved.  Salvation accomplished.  He died for you.  Your sin is His.  So is your death and hell. 


And now today He says to come forward.  Take a little bread and a little bit of wine.  What is that in the midst of all our enormous problems and sins?   It’s the Lord’s Supper.  His Body.  His Blood.  And His promise.  Eat and drink it for the forgiveness of your sins that He won for you on the Cross.  And with this meal are more promises:  life and  salvation.  It is the medicine of immortality!   


His compassion for you knows no bounds.  No problem, no sin, no guilt, no death is too big for Jesus.  You can trust Him with anything and everything!  With Jesus there’s always more.  More than you ever expected.  What a wonderful Savior!


In the Name of Jesus.   


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