Sermon for the Seventh Sunday after Trinity at

Luther Memorial Chapel, Shorewood, Wisconsin

Genesis 2:7-17; Rom. 6:19-23; St. Mark 8:1-9

Rev. Ben Hertel 

 

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

 

To you all who are beloved of God in Shorewood, called as saints:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

            

Who speaks to you all today, saying,

“I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat.”

 

How fortunate for those people back then! How wonderful a miracle to behold, having had nothing to eat for three days, then to be fed by only 7 loaves of bread and a few fish. What I wouldn’t give to not have to pay my own grocery bill each week. I would give much more in order that God would enact this miracle today, in front of me.

 

Yet, everyone continues to try and convince me that there are miracles every day. That I just have to look hard enough, and I too, can experience the miraculous power of God, just like those 4000 did on a hill in Galilee.

 

However the miracles they bring to my attention are everyday things that happen to everyone else, as well. To be sure, it is a great miracle that God looks after me and daily and richly supplies me with all that I need to support this body and life, but what about my enemy? What about God’s enemies? Why are they also well fed and cared for?

 

The curse of the Law is written on more than just your hearts. It is etched into your bones and scratched into all of creation. You get hungry. You starve unless you don’t eat. This is a law as well. You must eat to survive. 

 

Jesus could have done a lot better with this miracle. He could have made it ongoing. Each generation could be fed with the amount of food produced by this miracle. Starving children in China would be a thing of the past. World hunger would finally be eradicated and UNICEF be put out of business.

 

Sermon for the Seventh Sunday after Trinity at

Luther Memorial Chapel, Shorewood, Wisconsin

Genesis 2:7-17Rom. 6:19-23St. Mark 8:1-9

Rev. Ben Hertel 

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

To you all who are beloved of God in Shorewood, called as saints:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

            

Who speaks to you all today, saying,

“I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat.”

How fortunate for those people back then! How wonderful a miracle to behold, having had nothing to eat for three days, then to be fed by only 7 loaves of bread and a few fish. What I wouldn’t give to not have to pay my own grocery bill each week. I would give much more in order that God would enact this miracle today, in front of me.

Yet, everyone continues to try and convince me that there are miracles every day. That I just have to look hard enough, and I too, can experience the miraculous power of God, just like those 4000 did on a hill in Galilee.

However the miracles they bring to my attention are everyday things that happen to everyone else, as well. To be sure, it is a great miracle that God looks after me and daily and richly supplies me with all that I need to support this body and life, but what about my enemy? What about God’s enemies? Why are they also well fed and cared for?

The curse of the Law is written on more than just your hearts. It is etched into your bones and scratched into all of creation. You get hungry. You starve unless you don’t eat. This is a law as well. You must eat to survive. 

Jesus could have done a lot better with this miracle. He could have made it ongoing. Each generation could be fed with the amount of food produced by this miracle. Starving children in China would be a thing of the past. World hunger would finally be eradicated and UNICEF be put out of business.

 

Because that’s what Jesus is really trying to tell you here, right? That social evil must be stamped out and providing free food for everyone is exactly how you crush corrupt governments and tyrants bent on holding sway over their people by starving them. If everyone had food, we could then move on to weightier matters, like world peace.

 

If only you could call on God for a food-multiplying miracle right now and not have it show up in just some metaphorical way. Jesus does do this and even places the onus on you. Jesus says, “You feed them.” Jesus says that its YOUR job to give them something to eat. If it is your job, why multiply the food at all? 

 

Repent. Jesus puts the feeding of the poor directly into your lap. Jesus gives you His law in order that you follow it and exceed the righteousness of both the Pharisees AND the Scribes. You are impoverished in a land of abundance. You are poor in a land filled with riches and here, Jesus is performing a miracle 2000 years in your past.

 

Jesus fed the 4000 and the 5000, but He did not feed them in front of you. Jesus may be doing miracles every day, but they are for other people to see and not for you. What is yours is something far greater than a miraculous feeding.

 

Jesus is God. Jesus is man. He knows what it is like to be hungry and can end world hunger with a single word, but that is not what happens. The greater miracle that Jesus gives to you is a feeding that, as often as you eat and drink, has no end.

 

For you are liberated and made free from the curse of the Law. Christ feeding the 5 and the 4 thousand points not to social justice, but to the final removal of feeding. Meaning, that which corrupts your body and soul, sin, death, and the devil, is removed by God Who starves for life on the cross.

 

This is because it is not physical hunger that destroys faith. It is not even witnessing a miracle that produces faith. “Food does not commend us to God” (1 Cor. 8:8). It is not what goes into you that makes you clean or unclean. 

 

What does commend you to God? The word of the cross which is the power of God for salvation. The more prophetic Word, more fully confirmed that you hear today, is what commends you to God, for by it you receive faith and by faith you believe.

 

By faith you believe that, not only did Jesus feed 4000, but that it has to do with His suffering and death. All that food had to come from somewhere and where Jesus gives His body and sheds His blood; that is where this feeding truly comes to fulfillment.

 

You may be the hungriest person on the planet, but if Christ is not revealed in the Bible for you, you are done for. You may be the most satisfied person on the planet, but if Jesus is not feeding you, you are lost. 

 

And this is the power of God’s Word. That you hear of Jesus, on the cross, rising from the dead, and feeding you still today. That this miracle is not just a metaphor or a demand for the ending of world hunger, but it is a call to return to the Table that the Lord spreads in front of you; of which you only hear in the Word.

 

Dear Christians, this is why the Church and her Divine Service do not attempt to reenact this feeding. Simply because it is in the Bible does not mean we need to copy it verbatim. The Divine Service, by the power of the Holy Spirit calls you by the Word.

 

The Word calls you to baptism, not in the Jordan, but in water and the Word. The Word calls you to the Gospel, so you might hear and believe that Jesus is the Christ of God. The Word calls you to the Sacrament of the Altar, not to an upper room in Palestine, but to the bread and wine; the flesh and blood; the meat and drink that promises eternal life.

 

The true importance of this miraculous feeding and every other miracle in Scripture is to point to the Creator of all things, hanging on a cross. The reason the whole world is not fed, is because Jesus does not just care for the body, but for the soul as well. 

 

It is all well and good that you have food on your table, but that is not the Lord’s Supper. Neither is every puddle and every written word a pathway leading to salvation. But where the Word is and the element promised in the Word is, there is Scripture fulfilled in front of you.

 

Regardless of whether or not you came to service full, Christ feeds you His holiness. Maybe you are starving and will not get your next meal for days. The Body and Blood of Jesus care for you to eternity. You are fed. The entire world is fed through Jesus, but the true miracle is that He comes today, to feed even me, the free forgiveness of sins.

 

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