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Delivered By
Pr. Mark D. Lovett
Delivered On
August 3, 2014
Central Passage
Mark 8:1-9
Description

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

There is much to be heard from our Lord today in the holy gospel. Mentioned there are “3 days” certainly indicative of our Lord’s resurrection. The multitude, having eaten nothing for three days, having fasted, is at the point of fainting and perhaps dying if they tried to make it home. Our Lord’s food revives and sustains them on their way. His food is food of resurrection and life. His food sustains and gives strength. His food sees us home, not to our earthly homes but to our heavenly Father’s house.

There is also our Lord’s words that “He took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, He broke them and gave them to His disciples.” Again, the word placement and tenor take us from this feeding of four thousand to the feeding of the Twelve on the night when our Lord was betrayed. Of course, with this heavenly food our Lord does not merely feed a measly four thousand or a measly twelve, but feeds millions upon millions in every generation and age. He continues to multiply the bread and wine that are His Body and Blood, satisfying our hunger for righteousness and eternal life. By it He sustains us on our way home. This is our manna from heaven, our food in the wilderness, in this desolate place.

There is, too, the desolate place, the wilderness. It is in the wilderness that the Lord meets His people. He met them in the wilderness in the days of Moses the prophet, and He meets us too in the wilderness. For what is written has been written for our instruction. This teaches us through location how we are to view the world in which we live. It is a wilderness, a desolate place. There are no oasis or sources of food. Never mind for this mortal body. No matter how much water you drink or how much food you eat, no matter how health a lifestyle you live, this mortal body will pass away. So don’t be so concerned with it. Isn’t that what our Lord says when He says, “Do not worry about tomorrow; what you will eat or what you will put on?” It’s not that your body is unimportant. To the contrary, by the incarnation of our Lord your body has become the Temple of the Most High and is of immeasurable value. Which is why we do not profane our bodies with the passions of the flesh. But neither do we worry and fret over it. Your heavenly Father knows what you need. Just as the shoes and clothes of the Israelites did not wear thin in the wilderness, so will our God supply all your needs.

More than that, He knows what you need for faith. That is what the Lord truly feeds. He feeds our faith by His word, His promises. He feeds your faith by the holy absolution. He feeds your faith with the faith of others, one to another giving a spiritual blessing as you live in your faith. Did you know that you are a blessing to those around you? Out in the world, to be sure, but more so here and now. You are blessing to your brothers and sisters who see your faith by what you do. You gather to the Lord and eat from His table. You sing hymns of praise and rejoice in the salvation of our God. That feeds the faith of others, even me. It sustains and nourishes our faith. Others feed on your faith, which is what it means to build one another up. That’s not psycho-babble to encourage one another in life’s endeavors. That’s spirit-talk to walk in the faith that others may see your faith and be built up. So the Lord feeds your faith by the faith of others and feeds the faith of others by your faith.

The Lord also feeds your faith by His faith in His heavenly Father. Consider when our Lord gave thanks for the few loaves of bread and fish. He didn’t give thanks when everyone had eaten their fill and when all the bread and fish was set before them. He gave thanks when there were only a few loaves and a few fish set before Him. No doubt some, if not all of the disciples were wondering – surely the crowd, too – what this Man was giving thanks for. There was so little. How difficult it is for us to give thanks when there is so little. How often we give way to fear when there seems to be not enough. Not enough food. Not enough money. Not enough love. Not enough friends. Not enough control. Not enough votes. Not enough good times. We are nearly consumed with not enough. We would do well to be reminded that the multitude that would be fed by the Lord fasts in the wilderness. The multitude that would eat the Lord’s food waits upon the Lord who will renew their strength.

Our Lord is not afraid of not enough. He is not afraid of going without or of suffering in this life. He is not afraid because He clings to the promises of His heavenly Father. So even at His Passion, when He was suffering and dying for the sins of the whole world, He was not afraid. For perfect love casts out all fear. And the Father loves the Son perfectly and gives Him all things. That is why it is good to meditate on our Lord’s Passion. It gives us strength. For there we see perfect love casting out all fear. There we see the strength of the Lord Jesus’ faith, trusting that His heavenly Father gives Him all things. Whatever the Son asks, the Father gives. So our Lord says to us, “Whatever you ask the Father in my name, He will give you.” Asking the Father in Jesus’ name is nothing more than praying in the faith of Jesus who prayed to His heavenly Father for daily bread and also for life and salvation. Not because Jesus needed to be saved from sin, but because He entrusted Himself to His heavenly Father who would raise Him up on the third day.

And you, too, in a way, don’t need to be saved from sin for Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. By the death of Jesus you have already been saved from sin. All sin has already been taken away by the Lamb of God. Those who do not believe will not be saved. Not because their sin is not atoned for, but because they do not believe and so call God a liar. Their sin will return to them.

Now we are living in the final day, the day of the resurrection. Now the Spirit of Jesus is your Spirit and His life is your life. Now His God is your God and His Father is your Father, and our Father is glorified through the Son among all nations. Now you are His brothers and sisters, adopted by grace through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit whom He pours out on us generously.

So you needn’t be afraid of anything, for perfect love casts out all fear. And the Father loves you perfectly because you believe on the Son. And in believing you have eternal life. Death and the devil stalk us at every turn, just as they hunted that multitude that day in the wilderness. So they hunt us too; even our loved ones; our parents and grandparents, even our children. But you needn’t be afraid. Your Lord feeds you in this desolate place. Daily bread, to be sure. But all the more He feeds you the bread of heaven and the water of life so that eating you never hunger and drinking you never thirst. Your hunger for life and thirst for salvation are quenched in Christ Jesus.

For death has no dominion over you because it has no dominion over our Lord and Savior who feeds you His heavenly food; and this food sustains you and satisfies your need for hope.

+ In Nomine Iesu +