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Jesus Provides

August 6, 2017

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Ninth Sunday after Pentecost                      Trinity Lutheran Church

6 August 2017                                                  Murdock, NE

 

 

Matthew 14:13-21

 

The disciples would scatter and send away. “Look here Jesus. We’re out in the sticks. It’s late. Send the multitude away. That way they can go to Hy Vee, Wal Mart, etc. and buy food for themselves.”

 

Jesus does just the opposite. His heart goes out to the crowd. He gathers. He takes care. He feeds. “Don’t send them away. You boys give them something to eat.”

 

The disciples only see the impossible. 5,000 not counting the women and children. They’ve taken the food inventory. Five bread rolls and two fish. Seven. Can’t be done.

 

Reminds me of Matthew 28 when Jesus tells the eleven to make disciples … of ALL NATIONS. In other words to church all the world. Really? Eleven can do that? Well, no, not on their own! Jesus will see to it that it gets done with His promise, “Lo, I am with you until the end of the age.” He would use the eleven as His instruments to make disciples of all nations.

 

So now here similarly in Matthew 14. Humanly speaking the massive crowd cannot be fed with such measly means. However, the Lord Jesus is there. He is with them! He’s just healed their sick. Surely He can feed them too. And the apostles can be along for the ride!

 

So Jesus goes to work. Serving. Giving. Daily Bread. (Remember the Fourth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer? “Give us this day …”) “Bring the bread and fish to me. Sit down everyone. Yes, on the grass. And my disciples will be my stewards.” He blesses it. Breaks it. Hands it to the disciples for them to give out. Everyone ate. Full as ticks. So much they couldn’t eat it all. The leftovers filled twelve baskets full! He gives daily bread.

 

The compassion of Jesus is immense. The disciples at first didn’t see it. Do you? Do you have a limited view of Jesus. Do you only see a bothersome crowd sick and hungry people? Jesus sees a mission field. He sees a world for which He would give His life to save.

 

The same compassion that brought Jesus to the shore to heal the sick now drives Him to gather the crowd around Himself to feed them. To care for them. To church them. Jesus did not come to scatter but to gather. His will is to have a church. A bunch of hangers-on. Sinners who are dependent on Him. Who will pray: “Give us this day our …”

 

This is the Jesus who never missed a dinner party, whether at the table of the Pharisee or the tax collector. This is the Jesus who was known throughout Israel for His eating and drinking with sinners – who caused many Pharisaic eyebrows to rise and many religious tongues to wag for eating with the lowest of the low. Jesus showed that there was no longer any obstacle between God and sinners in Him. All sinners and every sin are forgiven by Him and so they can eat and drink undisturbed in the presence of God that has come in the flesh of Jesus.

 

Like Israel in the wilderness Jesus is teaching you to trust in His care and provision. Just as God fed Israel bread from heaven during their time in the desert to train them to look to Him for every need of body and soul, so Jesus is doing the same with His disciples and with you.

 

We look at our families, our communities and the world for whom Jesus died. It is a great and diverse crowd. There the diseased and healthy, the rich and the poor, the religious and the unreligious, people with tattoos, people who grew up in Omaha, in the Sudan or China. Jesus has told His church: “You feed them.” “Make disciples by baptizing and teaching.” “Bring them into table fellowship with Me at the Lord’s Supper where I can feed and nourish them in this wilderness world.”

 

In the end the feeding of the 5,000 is more than a story of miraculously multiplied bread and fish. There is always more with Jesus. There are little pointers all over the story, tiny details that push us deeper. Grass. They sat down on grass. Mark says it was green grass. John says there was much grass. Much grass points to Psalm 23 and the Good Shepherd who leads His flock to green pasture. Jesus, the Good Shepherd was pasturing His flock, churching them, gathering them around Himself and spreading a rich table before them. The green grass tells us it was spring, the time approaching the Passover, the celebration of Israel’s exodus to freedom. Jesus, then, like Moses, was feeding His people, His Israel, in the wilderness on the way to His exodus of death and resurrection for all people.

 

The people might have recalled the miraculous manna from heaven, the bread the fell every morning to feed the Israelites in the wilderness. They might have remembered the time that the prophet Elisha miraculously fed 100 men with 20 barley loaves. Someone greater than Moses, greater than Elisha was in their midst. They might have even remembered God’s invitation through the prophet Isaiah to eat and drink at His feast of salvation

 

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk, without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me and eat what is good. And your soul will delight in the richest of fare.” (Isaiah 55:1-3)

 

The feeding of the 5,000 was a foretaste of a greater feast to come. That feast was the one in which Jesus took bread, gave thank, broke it and distributed it to His disciples with the words, “This is my body.” The feast in which He took wine and gave it to His disciples with the words, “This is my blood.” The One that multiplied bread in the wilderness, multiplies the bread of His body and the wine of His blood. And great as the feast of the Lord’s Supper is, it points to a yet greater feast to come when we will eat and drink in the face to face presence of Christ in His kingdom of the resurrection and eternal life.

 

Where Jesus sits at the head of the table, where Jesus presides at the meal, salvation is given without money or without cost. The feast of salvation is utterly free for you because Jesus died FOR YOU. We eat and drink from salvation’s feast as Jesus’ guest, out of His compassion FOR YOU. Jesus is your host, your cook, your waiter, and your food. He is the bread of life. Eat His flesh and drink His blood and you have eternal life and He will raise you up on the Last Day.

 

So, come then, you whose throats are parched by the wilderness heat, who feel the burning of God’s law testifying against you. Come to the cooling water of Baptism and the forgiveness that Jesus died to speak to you. Come, you who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Come to the Word and to the Supper and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Come, you who have nothing to give to God but a broken and contrite heart, a broken life, you who have no merit or worthiness in yourself – come and be filled at a table that was bought FOR YOU with the blood of Jesus.

 

No need to worry about there not being enough. With Jesus there is always enough and more. Bread. Fish. Forgiveness. Life. Salvation.

 

In the Name of Jesus.

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