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Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

July 18, 2021 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Pentecost

Passage: Mark 6:30–6:44

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†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Mark 6:30-44
Date: July 18th, 2021; Pentecost 8; Series B
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
  • 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 his disciples were in need of a break.  
  • Great crowds of people were flocking to Jesus and the disciples were kept very busy - they needed some time to 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 an isolated wilderness area to catch their breath.
  • But, as we heard, the crowds of people figured out where Jesus and his disciples were headed.
  • So 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 thousands of people.  
  • Only this time they were out in the middle of nowhere. 
  • We heard that, “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).
  • As the Good Shepherd, Jesus saw them as sheep without a shepherd - helpless, vulnerable, confused, and lost. 
  • And what was the first thing that Jesus did for these lost and helpless sheep?  
  • He taught them.  
  • The primary act of our Lord’s 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, in the wilderness, without food.  
  • Their spiritual hunger to be with Jesus and receive his gifts 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’s likely that some of them had their families with them.   
  • Well 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 to him why feeding all of these people was impossible.  
  • In spite of all that they had witnessed 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 abundantly provided for the huge crowd of people with only 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 - although it certainly does that.  
  • It also gives us a picture of the Holy Christian Church.  
  • Jesus did not personally walk up to every person and hand them 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.  
  • This is a nice picture of the church because Jesus has miraculously done everything necessary for the salvation of the world.
  • He himself is the cornerstone who accomplished it all - and pastors simply distribute his gift of salvation.
  • 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 guilt and punishment - and then through the water of our baptism - he cleanses us of our sin and clothes us in his righteousness.  
  • The Church, through her pastors, distributes that righteousness from God as the nations are baptized.  
  • Jesus faced a "guilty" verdict for our sins so that pastors can stand in his stead and declare you "not guilty".  
  • Jesus offered his body and shed his blood 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. All of it. 
  • And just as the disciples simply handed out the bread and fish that Jesus’ miraculously provided, so his pastors simply distribute the miraculous salvation that he has won for the world. For you.
  • Our gracious Lord has had compassion for you.  
  • He sits you down in the green pastures of his church and abundantly provides everything needed for your salvation.  
  • 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 so that you are filled and satisfied for all of eternity.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.

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