The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
Passage: Mark 6:30–6:44
†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Mark 6:30-44
Date: July 22nd, 2018; Pentecost 9; Series B
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
- Jesus teaches us to pray in The Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11).
- Our Gospel reading for today illustrates our Lord’s answer to this petition.
- We all have physical and spiritual needs - and our Lord has promised to meet them.
- Jesus recognized that the disciples were in need of a break. People were flocking to Jesus and this also kept the disciples busy - they needed some time to relax and recuperate.
- Jesus said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31).
- The plan was to get away for a while, to take a break, and recharge.
- So the disciples got into their boats and headed out across the water toward a wilderness area that should have been isolated. They were hoping for some down-time.
- But, the crowds of people figured out where Jesus and the apostles were headed.
- They walked around the Sea of Galilee on foot and as they were making their way to the other side, many other people joined them as they passed through the towns along the way.
- Though they wanted some peace and quiet to rest for a while, Jesus and the disciples found themselves once again surrounded by people.
- Only now they were out in the middle of nowhere.
- We heard, “When [Jesus] went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6:34).
- Jesus had deep and powerful compassion for these people.
- As the Good Shepherd, he saw them as sheep without a shepherd - helpless and lost.
- And what was the first thing that Jesus did for these lost and helpless sheep?
- He taught them.
- We can get so wrapped up in the “wow factor" of the miracles, that we forget that teaching was the important thing for Jesus.
- The primary act of his compassion for his sheep is teaching - proclaiming the message that, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).
- The crowds were so absorbed in Jesus' teaching that they forgot that they were out in the middle of nowhere without food.
- Their desire to be with Jesus and receive his gifts had caused them to forget about planning for their physical hunger.
- The disciples, on the other hand, were very aware of what it would take to feed these people.
- Just the men made up a crowd of 5000 – and it is very likely that quite a few had family with them.
- This crowd was out in the middle of nowhere. There was no Sobey’s or CO-OP down the street. There was nothing.
- Over 5000 hungry people crowded around Jesus and the disciples - this seemed to be an impossible situation.
- But, Jesus had an easy solution.
- He simply said to his disciples, “You give them something to eat” (Mark 6:37).
- The apostles had just returned from a mission where they witnessed and performed miracles. They healed the sick. They cast out evil spirits.
- You would think that by now they would trust Jesus. You would think they would ask Jesus how they could help him feed the huge crowd.
- But, instead, they began explaining why feeding all of these people was impossible.
- In spite of all that they had seen and experienced with Jesus - they still looked to themselves to solve this problem.
- We have a tendency to do this too, don’t we?
- Instead of relying on Jesus and his promises, we try to do it our way and by our own strength.
- But our Gospel lesson teaches us once again that nothing is impossible for God.
- Jesus provided for, and totally satisfied, the huge crowd of people with five loaves of bread and two fish.
- Even more, when the meal was over, there were more leftovers than the original amount of food that they had to begin with!
- This miracle does more than show us the power of God.
- It also gives us a picture of the Holy Christian Church.
- Jesus did not personally walk up to every person and hand them their food one at a time.
- Instead, he gave the food to his disciples to give to the people.
- This is the way the Lord does things. He does the miracle and then distributes his gifts through his disciples.
- The feeding of the 5,000 provides a good picture of Jesus' church.
- Jesus has miraculously done everything necessary for the salvation of the world - and pastors simply distribute his gift of salvation to God’s people.
- Jesus accomplished the miracle of our salvation by dying on the cross for our sins and rising again.
- Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, miraculously taking upon himself our sins and our guilt - that we be made holy and righteous.
- The Church, through her pastors, distributes that righteousness from God as they baptize all nations.
- Jesus faced a "guilty" verdict for our sins so that pastors can stand in his stead and declare you "not guilty".
- Jesus offered himself on the cross as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
- His pastors distribute that very same flesh and blood for God’s people to eat and drink for the forgiveness of their sins and the strengthening of their faith.
- Jesus has done the work.
- His pastors distribute the gifts to his people that they may receive his forgiveness, life, and salvation.
- Our gracious Lord has had compassion for you.
- He sits you down in the green pastures of his church and he provides for you.
- God miraculously fed and nourished a crowd of over five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish.
- Today, God miraculously feeds and nourishes you spiritually with his Word and sacraments that you may be filled and satisfied for all of eternity. Thanks be to God! Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.