Lent 4, 2020

The Epistle – Galatians 4:21-31

The Gospel – St. John 6:1-14

 

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

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In our text for the Gospel for Lent 4, we find the account of Jesus feeding the 5000.

 

At a time like this, when gathering as a Church family… in person…on a Sunday…in the Church is forbidden by local authorities, this account is timely.

 

 

 

 

When we are deprived of one of the central elements of the Church experience…Holy Communion, this account comes at the right time.

 

The Word of God can be conveyed audibly or even visually as it is here today. The Sacrament of Holy Communion cannot. The Lord’s Supper cannot.

 

So, this account of Jesus, feeding the hungry crowds of 5000+ people must suffice to feed our hunger at this time.

 

Jesus has crossed over the Sea of Galilee or The Sea of Tiberius, named after the Caesar bearing the same name.

 

 

He has just finished the last chapter by speaking about Moses. He says, “…if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. [47] But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (ESV)

 

So, it makes sense that Jesus would go on to now perform a work similar to the one God did through Moses in feeding the people the Manna from Heaven.


Now, Jesus, recalling this miracle to the minds of the people, once again, as God, feeds the hungry people.

 

But in both cases, whether it was God feeding people through Moses in the Old Testament, or Him feeding people through Jesus in the New Testament,

the message is the same. …

God is the provider of all things. He is the provider of all we need.

He not only provides food for the stomach, but food for the soul.

 

Jesus says later on in the same chapter…probably purposefully placed there by John to keep continuity with the Feeding of the 5000, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (ESV)

 

This is what God meant in the Old Testament. Come to Him…follow Him…obey Him and you will neither hunger nor thirst. He will take care of you.
This is what Christ meant when He fed the 5000. Come to me and you will not hunger nor thirst.

 

I am not here just for the miracle of food…but I am real food you will find nowhere else.

 

He is the source of life. He gave us life in the beginning. He sustains our lives now, and He will be the one who takes us into eternal life on the last day.

 

Feeding on Him through Holy Communion is a command of Jesus. He said If you do not eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you.

 

 

 

So, it is vital that we do so through the Holy Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, and yet this is not all.

 

At a time like this when we are separated from one another, we are never separated from Christ. He remains with us spiritually.

 

Paul says that “…neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, [39] nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (ESV)

 

 

 

 

We have the benefit of the elements of Holy Communion to hold and touch and feel and taste and to smell, which excite the senses, and bring an extra layer of reality to what we eat and drink….

 

….but we are still in Him and He in us when we cannot partake of Holy Communion as well.

 

When Paul wrote letters, he would say to them things like, “For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit…” (ESV)

 

Holy Communion, as our own Prayer of Consecration tells us is the working of God’s power in those sacraments so that He may dwell in us and we in Him.

 

The real physical elements of bread and wine convey the spiritual realities of Christ’s dwelling in us and sanctifying us.

 

Jesus’ actions that day, were repeated at the table with His Disciples at the Last Supper.

 

Today we hear, “Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated.”

 

This is what He would do later at the Last Supper and this is what we continue to do as a body today.

 

 

 

The very word communion brings to mind community and coming together and connectedness.

 

Everyone knows John 3:16. Well there is another 3:16….1 Corinthians 3:16

 

“Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?” (ESV)

 

Recall this from a few weeks ago. We are indwelt by the Spirit of God, which is how Christ dwells in us.

 

Paul says, in Philippians 4:9

“What you have learned and received and heard and seen [from him]…he says…. “practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (ESV)

He writes to the Corinthian Church in his second letter, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, [4] who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

 

[5] For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” (ESV)

 

In a time like this, that we can to some degree call suffering, know then that Christ dwells in each of you.

 

 

 

He is present in each of you as you are indwelt by the Spirit.

 

This is told to us by Paul because he wanted his readers and us to know that whatever they were going through, God was there and that fact should be a great comfort to us.

 

The very same God Paul spoke of is still here today and with us. Christ, who 2000 years ago fed the 5000, still feeds us today.

 

He knows of our difficult situation we are in. He has not left us. He still dwells in us. ..and we in Him.

 

 

 

So, in the meantime, we are to minister to one another. We are to comfort one another and to pray for one another.

 

So, reflect again this week on the account of Jesus feeding the 5000 and really think about the implications of what Jesus did.

 

He gave by miracle, the evidence that He was God.

He gave by example how the Disciples would continue this action as they would set up Churches in their coming ministries after Jesus was gone…and they would feed their flocks.

 

 

 

 

And He gave by example how even in a difficult situation with very little He has the power to be with His people and feed His people.

 

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

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