Vicar Chris' Message from the Sunday Bulletin
How many times does Jesus need to do the same thing before His disciples understand? The Gospel lesson this morning tells us Jesus miraculously feeding four thousand people. Does this not sound quite right? Shouldn’t it be the five thousand men? Well, no. That is what happened earlier in the gospel of Mark, in chapter 6. But in chapter 8, Jesus again feeds an extraordinary amount of people. He is in a Gentile land, but it is the same story. A crowd of people are following Jesus, and they did not bring enough food. Jesus sees that the people are hungry and does not send them home, because they might faint on the way. The disciples are worried about what the people are going to eat. They are once again blind to see the Manna from Heaven standing before them and crave earthly bread. Jesus provides bread for them to eat, so much so that there are seven baskets full of leftovers. It is an ironic story and comes at a critical point in Mark, and one that does not paint the disciples in a good light. These Jews, who had been following the Son of God, were worrying about what they were going to eat. But the Gentiles, who were following Jesus and listening to Him teaching, did not worry about food. They did not bring any, but followed Jesus and were fed by His teaching for three days. Jesus knows the physical limitations of the bodies He created and does not send them away to faint on the road. Instead, He provides them with both earthly bread and heavenly bread and sends them away satisfied. In the same way, He feeds us as we pray confidently, "Give us this day our daily bread", knowing that He will. He feeds us when the pastor announces that we are forgiven. We eat bread and wine for the Lord's Supper. He provides for our physical needs through various means, and feeds us with His own body and blood for the forgiveness of sins and the strengthening of our faith. Though we, like the disciples, are often blind to this, Jesus continually and graciously showers us with His good gifts. These gifts not only include food clothing, house and home, but also forgiveness, life, and salvation.