Thursday, July 30, 2020

July 30, 2020 – Thursday prior to Pentecost 9 – Proper 13

Matthew 14:13-21 God our heavenly Father through Jesus Christ His Son, provides food for our bodies. Jesus feeds five thousand people with five loaves and two fish. We usually address the miracles of Jesus in this manner - Someone’s in trouble. Jesus helps. Everyone’s happy! End of story.  But, if you see only one miracle, you miss the point. This miracle is so important that ALL four gospels record it. Today, we will look at this miracle from Matthew’s perspective.

Only Matthew gives us the context of this miracle. And it’s huge! This miracle is linked to the death of John the Baptizer. Herod had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought in on a platter… John’s disciples, came, took away the body and buried it. And they went and told Jesus. When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. Vv. 12-13

Jesus is in mourning. For John. And for Himself. He knows what’s coming. He will be the next to die. And it will be a violent death. Just like John. He departs to pray. Only Matthew says that Jesus goes by Himself. To a desert place. Yet He will turn this desert into a paradise! Whether Jesus finds Himself, be it in an isolated space or whether the crowds surround Him, the cross always looms over Him. He can’t escape it.  It’s always there. You can never separate Jesus from the cross.  

And Jesus’ disciples? They’re heartless as ever. When little children were brought to Jesus, that He should put His hands on them. The disciples rebuked them.( Matthew 19:13) When they see the crowd, they say to Jesus, literally, "destroy" the crowd, “that they might find daily bread for themselves.”v.15 They are weary. Tired. Annoyed. It had been a very long day. The last thing they wanted to do was provide a meal for these unwashed masses, which had been coming to them. Again!  

–CS Lewis reminds us, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”[1] Here is the heartbeat of the miracle. It is a greater factor than the power to bring food for 5,000 out of five loaves of bread.  Because of His love for the hurting and the hungry. Jesus is moved to help and heal.

Unique also to Matthew’s gospel is verse 21. – 5,000 are fed. Not including women and infants. What’s the seating capacity of Mackey Arena in West Lafayette? 14,240! That’s close to the assembled crowd on that day. With meager means, the many are fed. They are fed in abundance. When Jesus acts on behalf of His children, He will always provide abundantly. They ate and were satisfied!   

Almighty God, grant us a steadfast faith in Jesus Christ, a cheerful hope in Your mercy, and a sincere love for You and one another.”…Pour out upon us, O Lord, the Spirit to think and do what is right, that we, who cannot even exist without you, may have the strength to live according to your will. [2]

[2] Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Image of loaves and fish copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things 

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