SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY – JULY 19, 2015
TEXT: MARK 8:1-9; ROMANS 6:9-23; GENESIS 2:7-17
CHRIST HIMSELF FEEDS YOU
TO KEEP YOU FROM FAINTING ALONG THE WAY!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


To all those at Luther Memorial Chapel who are loved by God and called to be saints, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Dear hearers of the Word made flesh:


Weakness - weariness –– exhaustion – lack of energy – being on empty - fainting away!  These are not conditions that you actively seek to attain. These are conditions that passively come upon you as you seek to attend to daily duties in a deficient world. To His disciples Jesus states – If I send them away hungry to their homes, (using then a passive verb – becoming undone – being unloosed) they will faint on the way. They weren’t planning to collapse or pass out as they travelled along the path to home. They are not even recorded as being concerned about it. Jesus is the observant one - the concerned one – the one taking action to meet the challenge of fainting on the way home.


I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat.  They had heard of this Messianic healer. Some had perhaps seen him restore speech or sight or drive out a demon. Some may have been the very ones healed by the word and touch of Jesus. By the scores and then by hundreds and then by thousands they flocked to the presence of this miraculous man. In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said to them, “I have compassion on the crowd.   His insides were moved with sympathy and kindness for this great throng of people. Some may have carried along a meal as they first set out to find him and to hear him. But their following and listening to Him had been so absorbing that three days had passed. Some were now a great distance from home. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.

SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY – JULY 19, 2015
TEXT: MARK 8:1-9; ROMANS 6:9-23; GENESIS 2:7-17
CHRIST HIMSELF FEEDS YOU
TO KEEP YOU FROM FAINTING ALONG THE WAY!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


To all those at Luther Memorial Chapel who are loved by God and called to be saints, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Dear hearers of the Word made flesh:


Weakness - weariness –– exhaustion – lack of energy – being on empty - fainting away!  These are not conditions that you actively seek to attain. These are conditions that passively come upon you as you seek to attend to daily duties in a deficient world. To His disciples Jesus states – If I send them away hungry to their homes, (using then a passive verb – becoming undone – being unloosed) they will faint on the way. They weren’t planning to collapse or pass out as they travelled along the path to home. They are not even recorded as being concerned about it. Jesus is the observant one - the concerned one – the one taking action to meet the challenge of fainting on the way home.


I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat.  They had heard of this Messianic healer. Some had perhaps seen him restore speech or sight or drive out a demon. Some may have been the very ones healed by the word and touch of Jesus. By the scores and then by hundreds and then by thousands they flocked to the presence of this miraculous man. In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said to them, “I have compassion on the crowd.   His insides were moved with sympathy and kindness for this great throng of people. Some may have carried along a meal as they first set out to find him and to hear him. But their following and listening to Him had been so absorbing that three days had passed. Some were now a great distance from home. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.


And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?”  This was a question they had already seen Jesus answer. This was a question that displayed their stubborn Christian amnesia!  Shortly after this feeding Jesus asked His disciples – Do you not yet perceive or understand?  Are you hearts hardened?”  Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear?  And do you not remember?  When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?  They said to him, “Twelve.”  And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?  And they said to him, “Seven.”  And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”


“Do you not yet understand?”- that is to say – do you not yet see that I am the Lord God (who) planted a garden in Eden, in the east – that I am the Lord God who made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food – that I am the Lord God (who) formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life? Do you not yet understand?  Their question showed they did not. “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?”  


These 4000 did not ask for bread!  In His presence – hearing His word – it seems they lost track of time and of the necessity of food. It is remarkable how Jesus meets the needs of this multitude as they choose to be nourished by His Word rather than by bread. On this day Jesus demonstrated the truth of His clear teaching, Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew l6:33).


These thousands eagerly followed Jesus into a desolate place rather oblivious to their daily needs. It’s as if they thought – “as long as we are in the presence of Jesus we have everything we need.”  It’s as if they were once again in the Garden of Eden – a place of delight – a place without care. God help us to learn from this little company and from Jesus care and concern in feeding them. He is the One who kept them from fainting on the way home.

 

Notice he doesn’t say – “just buck up” – “you can handle it!”  He demands no “iron man” or “iron woman” strength or mentality from those following Him. Rather, He is the One who takes action to keep His hearers from fainting along the way. He asked them (his disciples), “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.”  And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd

 

In compassion Jesus acted to serve the weary and hungry crowd through the hands of His disciples. In compassion Jesus Christ – God’s Son – Savior – gave thanks – and blessed – and commanded that this sustaining food be distributed. And they ate and were satisfied (filled).

 

Dear Christian – everyone grows weary!  Everyone faces draining times - even exhaustion – being on empty!  Christ takes it for granted that you will grow weary in this deficient and decaying world!  He invites, “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28). The sense of the Greek is that one grows weary as a result one’s work – one’s life. In your weariness Jesus is your rest. In compassion He continues to speak to you and to feed you to keep you from fainting on the way home.


Nothing else will do!  Adam’s desire and hunger went wrong and we follow in his train. Instead of longing to hear God’s Word – we hunger to speak our own word. Our hearts can actually convince us that hearing God’s Word is a burden and that separation from God is freedom rather than death. Our Old Adam will always see lawlessness as freedom – doing it our way – seeking lasting refreshment from a host of dead-end paths. Desolate places of pride or lust or greed or rebellion can be seen as a garden spot – a little Eden – a sheltered place of lasting delight. That lie comes from the same one who said of eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – you will not surely die.

 

Countering that primal falsehood and the flood of false views concerning death cascading down through the ages to our age the Holy Spirit caused St. Paul to write - The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. He is the one all Scripture testifies to!  He is God’s answer to every promise. He who commanded the waters that flowed out of Eden to water the four corners of the land is He who commanded the water of your baptism in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. In your walk from those waters of rebirth to your eternal home His compassion is at work to keep you from fainting.

 

God preserve us from the Christian amnesia displayed by the disciples in this desolate place!  For we also do not fully and constantly understand what wonders the Son of the living God is doing for us!  Unbelief is so deeply rooted in our hearts that we do not fully trust God in the desolate places of life. Weakness – weariness – fainting away. Your know places like that.


Jesus does too!  He did faint along the way back home – which is also our way back home. We were coming from such a distance of sinful separation that we could never again have arrived in God’s holy and eternal presence. In the beginning of time the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. In the fullness of time, the Lord God raised up one tree abhorrent to natural sight and repulsive to natural taste for food. On that tree – the tree of the cross – good and evil met in frightful enmity. On that tree – the bread from heaven was torn open for the life of the world. He did faint on the way back home – weak – weary – exhausted – empty of life – crumpling in the full and total fall of death and burial.


How can one feed these people with bread that is the Bread of Life in this desolate Place?  It all depends upon who that One is!  Do you understand who is among you?  His cross of death could not prevent Him from planting again a new tree of life in this troubled earth. He swallowed up death forever!  Of the Table He prepares He promises not death but life for those who eat in faith. Where there is forgiveness of sins there is also life and salvation. How can One feed others with His own body and blood in this desolate place?  It all depends upon who He is!  Risen from the grave the living Christ invites – “take and eat” – “take and drink.” 

 

He is the One who calls you to cast every idol from its throne. He is the One who calls you from lawlessness to holiness and love. Your sanctification isn’t a gradual climb until you get holy enough to attain the victory. Your sanctification, your holiness is the daily forgiveness of all your sins – the new life you have in Jesus!  Your sanctification is Christ in action in you!  That’s why sin bothers you – why you’re ashamed of and confess what you’ve done and left undone before God. That’s why you keep turning from sin to the mercy of Christ. He is the One who keeps you from fainting on the way home - all the way to your eternal home with Him! 


In the meantime – it is good to recall the blessed little company these 4000 were – so intent on hearing the Word of Jesus. They had great concern for the food that endures to eternal life. Right now the mission field is ripe with hundreds of thousands – even millions of human beings hungry for the Gospel. While deadness and even hostility to the Gospel increases in our land – in Africa and Asia and other regions throngs of people are asking for pastors to teach in their seminaries and missionaries to preach the Gospel. Our synod is sending out scores of missionaries in response. These individuals and families have to raise their own financial support. Gaugert, Askins, Ersland, have recently spoken here. Jastrum is noted in the bulletin. I have received requests from several more.

 

Beloved, let us not grow weary in hearing of the harvest field – the opportunities – abroad and right here in our midst – and thankfully responding to them. We do understand who Jesus is – our life - our light – our all!  There is nothing more important than what He does in our midst for us and what He desires to give to all people. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a