Sunday, July 26, 2020

Proper 13 Series A

Proper 13
(2 August 2020)
Series A

Isaiah 55:1–5
Romans 9:1–5 (6–13)
Matthew 14:13–21

Christ Jesus, the Living Bread from Heaven, Feeds the Children of God

By the Gospel of “the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever” (Romans 9:5), we are “the children of God” (Romans 9:8), “not because of works but because of him who calls” (Romans 9:11). Therefore, “listen diligently” and “hear, that your soul may live.” By His sacrificial death in His flesh and blood, He has made “an everlasting covenant” for us. Since He now calls us to Himself, we come to Him “and eat what is good, and delight … in rich food” (Isaiah 55:2–3). He has come with divine  compassion to save us from sin and death and to feed us with Himself. As our Lord Jesus once took bread, “said a blessing,” broke the loaves “and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds” (Matthew 14:18–19), He also now takes bread, blesses it by His Word to be His very body, and distributes it to His Church by the hand of His called and ordained servants. Just as “they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces,” there is more than enough for His whole Church to eat and to be satisfied (Matthew 14:20).
You Give Them Something to Eat

“They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” (Matthew 14:16)

In the account of the miraculous feeding of the 5,000, Jesus invites His apostles to feed a crowd which likely exceeded 15,000 people!  How could the Apostles obtain sufficient food for this mandate?  Interestingly the Apostles would be the ones to distribute this miraculous meal, but they were not the ones to purchase or create it.  Jesus blessed the bread and fish, then Sunday’s Gospel records, “Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.” (v 19b).

Through the centuries theologians have seen a connection between the feeding of the 5,000 and the feeding of God’s people in the Lord’s Supper.  Parallel to the Eucharist, Jesus blesses the food, breaks the bread, and then gives to the Apostles for distribution.  Though this meal for the 5,000 men is NOT a celebration of the Lord’s Supper, yet it is a Holy Supper celebrated in the presence of the One who blessed the food.  Though we cannot see the Lord Christ when we partake of the Lord’s Supper, yet He is every bit as present as when He fed the 5,000.  Interestingly early church art also frequently depicted the Lord’s Supper as a meal of fish, no doubt calling to mind all the miraculous fish-meals blessed by Jesus, uniquely reminiscent of the miraculous feeding of the 5,000 and then the feeding of the 4,000.  Oscar Cullmann explains, “Early Christian art frequently represents the Lord’s Supper under the form of a meal of fish.”[1]

A person seeking Christian truth might ask how it is possible that Christ could, in Holy Communion, sacrificially feed the millions of Christians throughout the centuries with His “finite” body and blood.  As if anticipating this question, Jesus, as recorded in all four Gospels, fed the 5,000 men with five loaves and two fish—with more left after the meal than when the meal began.  Including women and children, the number that Jesus fed likely exceeded 15,000!  Christ truly and miraculously fed around 15,000 people with merely a handful of bread and fish.  If Christ can feed 15,000 with the truly finite elements of fish and bread, can He not feed millions His body in which the fullness of deity dwells?  In the Lord’s Supper Christ, though His flesh and blood are truly eaten, is not consumed or used up; the body and blood of Christ will not run out, something taught by the continually flowing bread in this miraculous feeding of the 15,000.

As the Apostle Paul rehearses the foundational meaning of the Sacrament of the Altar in his first letter to the Corinthians, he rhetorically reminds us, “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” (10:16). Though this verse is rightly used to explain the belief in the Real Presence, note also that Apostolic distribution of the Sacrament underlies the verse.  The cup of blessing that WE BLESS…The bread that WE BREAK.  The “we” doing the blessing of the cup and the breaking of the bread is indeed the Apostles and then those who carry on this Apostolic work as pastors.  Though Christ’s blessing at the institution of the Sacrament is the source and power behind the miracle of the Lord’s Supper, yet even as He told the Apostles at the feeding of the 5,000, “…you give them something to eat,” so it continues today as the Apostles and those continuing their work are called upon to give God’s people the holiest food.  It is a food far holier than the bread and fish in the feeding of the 5,000, for it is the very body and blood of God.

[1] Oscar Cullmann and F. J. Leenhardt, Essays on the Lord’s Supper, (London:  Lutterworth Press, 1958), First Essay:  “The Breaking of Bread and the Resurrection Appearances,” 10.

Rev. Dr. Daniel J Brege

Romans 9:2 I have great regret/grief unceasing sorrow...because they have thrown Christ off...there is no hope...they have confidence in themselves, their heritage, their background...

V. 8 is critical -

Matthew 14:13–21
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

Matthew 14.13 
Ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἀνεχώρησεν ἐκεῖθεν ἐν πλοίῳ εἰς ἔρημον τόπον κατ’ ἰδίαν• καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ ὄχλοι ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ πεζῇ ἀπὸ τῶν πόλεων.
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 

Matthew 14.14 
καὶ ἐξελθὼν εἶδεν πολὺν ὄχλον, καὶ ἐσπλαγχνίσθη ἐπ’ αὐτοῖς καὶ ἐθεράπευσεν τοὺς ἀρρώστους αὐτῶν.
When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 

Matthew 14.15
ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης προσῆλθον αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ λέγοντες• Ἔρημός ἐστιν ὁ τόπος καὶ ἡ ὥρα ἤδη παρῆλθεν• ἀπόλυσον τοὺς ὄχλους, ἵνα ἀπελθόντες εἰς τὰς κώμας ἀγοράσωσιν ἑαυτοῖς βρώματα
Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 

Matthew 14.16
ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς• Οὐ χρείαν ἔχουσιν ἀπελθεῖν• δότε αὐτοῖς ὑμεῖς φαγεῖν
But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 

Matthew 14.17 
οἱ δὲ λέγουσιν αὐτῷ• Οὐκ ἔχομεν ὧδε εἰ μὴ πέντε ἄρτους καὶ δύο ἰχθύας.
They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” 

Matthew 14.18 
 ὁ δὲ εἶπεν• Φέρετέ μοι ὧδε αὐτούς.
And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 

Matthew 14.19 
καὶ κελεύσας τοὺς ὄχλους ἀνακλιθῆναι ἐπὶ τοῦ χόρτου, λαβὼν τοὺς πέντε ἄρτους καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας, ἀναβλέψας εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν εὐλόγησεν καὶ κλάσας ἔδωκεν τοῖς μαθηταῖς τοὺς ἄρτους οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ τοῖς ὄχλοις.
Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 

Matthew 14.20 
καὶ ἔφαγον πάντες καὶ ἐχορτάσθησαν, καὶ ἦραν τὸ περισσεῦον τῶν κλασμάτων δώδεκα κοφίνους πλήρεις.
And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 

Matthew 14.21 
οἱ δὲ ἐσθίοντες ἦσαν ἄνδρες ὡσεὶ πεντακισχίλιοι χωρὶς γυναικῶν καὶ παιδίων.
And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

 ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software

No comments: