Monday, July 20, 2015

+ 8th Sunday after Pentecost – July 19th, 2015 +

Redeemer Lutheran, HB
Series B: Jeremiah 23:1-6; Ephesians 2:11-22; Mark 6:30-44

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Holidays. Sporting events. Church picnics. Food is a great people magnet. Just ask the hobbits.

Mark’s account of the feeding of the 5000 is no different.

Jesus and his disciples went out to a deserted place by themselves, yet the crowds followed them.  The day grew late.  Stomachs began to growl.  The people grew anxious.  And the disciples became frustrated.  But there was In ‘N Out burger, Costco pizza, or taco trucks in sight.  What everyone needed seemed impossible to provide.

But the problem was worse than being stuck in the boonies with a hungry mob.  Immediately when Jesus came ashore He had compassion on the crowds because they were like sheep without a shepherd.  There’s the real problem – the crowd was lost.  The food was important, but Jesus’ Word came first.  A feast of God’s Word followed by a feast of bread and fish. 

Mark 6 demonstrates wonderfully how Jesus shows compassion for His people.  For Jesus, compassion gives birth to action.  Jesus’ love does the impossible. Jesus the Good Shepherd satisfies our needs of body and soul.

For we like sheep have gone astray. We too are lost sheep.  Like the crowds, we’re powerless to provide what we need in body and soul.  God’s Word identifies the problem…and the problem is us.  This is what we confess in at the beginning of each service…we confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean.  We get hungry, we get anxious, we get frustrated.  We wander away from God’s Word and prayer. 

And we are poor shepherds, for apart from Christ we can do no good thing.  Apart from God’s Word we feed on all kinds of spiritual junk-food.  Apart from Jesus who is the Truth, we wander in our own ways.  Apart from Jesus who is the Way, we search for direction and guidance in all the wrong places.  Apart from Jesus the Life, we eventually die physically and spiritually like sheep without a shepherd.

And yet, we’re not without a shepherd.  Jesus doesn’t abandon us in our need.  Jesus feeds us in both Body and soul.  Jesus sees our need. Jesus has compassion on us. Jesus returns us lost, wandering, sheep to our place in His flock.  Jesus is the only shepherd we need.

I am the Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

 Nothing – not hunger, not illness, not a bad economy, not worry, not doubt, not our old sinful nature, not the devil and his prowling ways – will snatch you out of Jesus’ hands.
I AM your Good Shepherd, Jesus declares.  The Good Shepherd lays down His life for you, his sheep.  This is who Jesus is. 

When the disciples asked Jesus to send the crowds away to the villages near by to get food for the evening, Jesus provided.  Food and fellowship – it was all there.  Jesus was present with them.  Jesus took the bread and the fish and looking up to heaven said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people.  They ate.  They were stuffed.  There were left-overs. 

This is what Jesus does.  Jesus shepherds you.  Jesus saves you.  Behold I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out…I will rescue them where they have been scattered…I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and will strengthen the weak.

This is the work of the Good Shepherd. Jesus taught crowds in the desolate places and was later surrounded by crowds who rejected His teaching, spat in His face and mocked Him.  Jesus, who listened to the cries of those in need and later heard the mob yelling, Crucify Him, Crucify Him!  Jesus, who is the Good Shepherd laid down His life for the sheep.  In find us, Jesus became forsaken.  In order to bring us back from wandering, Jesus walked the road to the cross.  In order to bind up our sinful wounds, Jesus was bound and beaten, bruised and bloodied.  In order to save his sheep, Jesus lays down his life for you.

And so it is…on the night when He was betrayed Jesus took bread and when He had blessed it He broke it and gave it to His disciples…take eat, this is my body; take drink this is cup is the new testament in my blood.

Jesus is your Good Shepherd. Here is your pasture – this font where Jesus’ promise is washed over you in water and word. This altar – where Jesus’ body and blood are given for you. Jesus’ Word – spoken to give you life.

In compassion Jesus feeds us with himself as food for body and soul.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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