Todd A. Peperkorn, STM
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Trinity 7 (July 23, 2012)
TITLE: â€œThe Divine Care from Godâ€
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ. Our text for this morning is the Gospel just read from St. Mark chapter six. Dearly baptized.
When God created Adam and Eve, things were simple. God formed Adam from the dust of the ground. Adam and Eve had a connection to the earth, to the land. They came from the land, and so they participated in Godâ€™s good creation by tending to it and caring for it. That tending and caring was their identity. They received all good things from God, and in turn, they extended Godâ€™s love for them by caring for the things of this world.
But it broke. With the Fall into sin, this relationship of receiving and giving was messed up, almost beyond all recognition. Now instead of receiving from God and giving and caring for His Creation, we try and receive from His creation and maybe, maybe we want to give back to God. Itâ€™s all backwards and upside down. Now instead of serving our neighbor, we take from him. Rather than protecting and caring for each other and for the earth, we take and take and take and take and take. We are slaves of sin, as St. Paul reminds us in Romans 6 (verse 20ff.). Now it is almost as if the things we inherit from the earth, well, they cause more harm than good.
I think that this is a part of what motivates the organic movement in our day. There is a desire to get back to the simple, to cease interfering with the earth and how things take place by nature. But what the organic movement misses is that the earth is the Lordâ€™s and the fulness thereof. It is true, God gives us this earth to care for it, but most importantly, God uses the things of this earth to give us Himself, to care for us. But if we never get past the stuff, if all we ever have is the things of the this world, well, then we are no longer caretakers and fellow stewards of Godâ€™s creation. Now we are just slaves to our own passions. We may dress it up. We may even use nice, pious sounding words, but apart from God, we are in slavery. We are slaves to sin, we are slaves to our desires, we are slaves to Satan and everything around us that would lead us to impurity and lawlessness. God have mercy upon us.
So this brings us to our Gospel for today, the feeding of the 4000 from St. Mark chapter six. The people had been with the Lord for three days. They had nothing to eat. They were lost, like sheep without a shepherd. There was no one, so it seemed, who could lead them to the still waters and feed them with what they had need of day in and day out. So in comes our Lord. Our Lord looks at them gathered together, hungry and in need, and our text says that He had compassion on them. His guts turned over for them, and He longed to be their God and to care for them in all things. He then said to His disciples, “â€œI have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.â€” (Mark 8:2â€“4) But when Jesusâ€™ disciples heard this, they couldnâ€™t see it. They could not imagine how Jesus could help them. All they could see was the desert, and the crowds and crowds of people in need. â€œâ€œHow can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?â€â€ (Mark 8:4)
We can understand the disciplesâ€™ dismay. It is easy to forget who is God. It is easy to look at the things of this world and think that this is all there is. If you are true to yourself, you know that there have been many times when you have looked at your trials and said to yourself, This is it. I canâ€™t do anymore. God cannot get me out of this. Iâ€™m done. You certainly get that picture here in our text.
But something remarkable happens. Jesus takes what is before Him, and spreads a table out to care for His children. He takes a few loaves of bread and a couple skinny fish and creates a feast beyond their imagination. The text says that they ate and â€œwere satisfiedâ€. This is one of those throw away phrases that is easy to miss. Literally it means more like they are stuffed. They have received everything they could possibly receive, and then a little bit more on top. So what are we to make of all of this. How is it that Jesus cares for you and I today? And what does this mean for those who are ever in need, ever in want and who are never satisfied with what is placed before us?
It means this. God will provide. Itâ€™s that simple. God promises that He will take care of you, body and soul. Your very life is in His hands. He is the one who feeds you and clothes you. He is the one who cares for you in ways that are far beyond what you might even know or understand. He does this only out of Fatherly divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in you. He does this because thatâ€™s who He is. He is the Compassionate One. Itâ€™s what makes Jesus tick. It is who He is. He is, above all, the one who shows mercy and compassion to His fallen children. Thatâ€™s you and mean, friends.
Whatâ€™s more, Jesus gives you a foretaste of the Eternal Banquet in the Supper of His Sonâ€™s body and blood. It isnâ€™t everything. It isnâ€™t the fulness of His revelation to us. But it is enough. No, it is more than enough.
So if you want to know where God is and how is it that He cares for you, flee to the Lordâ€™s Supper. It is here that Jesus has compassion on you. It is here that Jesus gives His won body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. It is here that compassion is larning. And God will give you the strength to go on. Even if it doesnâ€™t make any sense. Even if isnâ€™t fair, whatever â€œitâ€ is. Even if you canâ€™t see it. Even if you canâ€™t feel it. Especially if you canâ€™t feel it. Godâ€™s promises are sure even we cannot possibly put all the pieces together. Remember again the words of Job, â€œThough he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face.â€ (Job 13:15)
God longs to draw you into His loving embrace. Receive His gifts, then, this day. Come and rejoice that God Himself has satisfied every need you can ever possibly have that ought to be filled. Believe it for Jesusâ€™ sake. Amen.