Ninth Sunday after Trinity – Sermon 255

9th Sunday after Trinity

10.00 am Holy Communion – CW

2nd August 2015

Bible References :

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Prayer to start

 

May the words of my lips and the thoughts of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and Honour of our Lord Jesus Christ

 

AMEN

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Please sir, can I have some more!

 

Everyone is no doubt familiar with those words from ‘Oliver’

 

People will do almost anything for food if they get hungry enough

 

But – in out Gospel reading – Jesus is talking about a different sort of food

 

A Spiritual food – food that will feed us for eternity –

 

is this a food that we hunger for?

 

First Point  The people hunger for food

 

Our reading from Exodus – tells the story of the Israelites – on their journey through the wilderness

 

After their deliverance at the Red Sea – their heads were held high – but now some weeks into the wilderness – they began to realise that God’s defeat of the Pharaoh by no means solved – all their problems

 

They started to focus on their immediate needs and desires – they wanted bread to eat – and they craved for meat –

 

in verse 3 it tells us that the fleshpots – were in their minds – even though as slaves they would not be allowed to eat meat. – They blamed Moses for their predicament

 

But God listened to their complaining – and in the middle of the desert – made vast numbers of Quails fall on the camp in the evening – and in the morning a bread-like substance appeared –

 

‘What is it?’ – they asked

 

Moses said to them – it was the bread that the Lord has given you to eat’

 

Fast forward now to our Gospel reading –

 

And we have the behaviour of another group of people but this time they have just had their stomachs filled.

 

They had seen Jesus feed 5000 people with five Barley loaves and two fishes – and they wanted more –

 

They thought they’d found their meal ticket –

 

but Jesus saw through them – and He rebuked them  – because they had not understood what God had just done for them  –

 

they had watched Jesus perform a miracle – and heard Him speak about God – but instead of focusing on what He was saying – and what God was doing  – they were thinking about their own stomachs –

They had not realised what was really on offer for them – and in truth – they could have received so much more!

 

Point 2        Jesus provides bread from heaven

 

A young student was in a hurry to finish his PhD thesis.

 

He was writing on local history – and had one chapter still to finish on artists and their paintings – which had had a strong influence on the culture of the time –

 

He went hastily from gallery to gallery – taking notes – writing down details of the artists names and who influenced them – he put down all that was given in the printed notices under the pictures

 

He finished his PhD – but at no time in all the art galleries he visited did he stop – stand back – and look at the paintings themselves – and allow them to speak in their own language-

 

The printed notes were given to help the eye – the heart and the mind – to appreciate the paintings – they were not an end in themselves –

 

In the same way the bread and the fish that Jesus had given to the crowds – were there to lead the eye – the heart and the mind – to God – to open up the peoples understanding of what God can do for them –

 

Like the manna and the quails that had been sent centuries earlier – the physical food that Jesus gave to the 5000 – was not the real food on offer

 

The real food – was the spiritual food that came with it – provided by God – to re-kindle – and help them – refocus on their faith – to maintain and increase it – to help them keep their faith and hope alive

 

What the people had failed to realize – was that a new Exodus – was taking place right in front of them – and it was being led by Jesus –

 

In the first Exodus – God used a human agent – Moses to pass on His wishes – and to guide the people – to the promised land – In this second Exodus – it is God Himself – through His Son Jesus – who was showing the way forward –

 

Over the centuries the Isrealites constantly recounted and retold the story of the Exodus – and of the manna in the wilderness – as a sign and a reminder of their faith and dependence on God –

 

In the centuries after the death and crucifixion of Jesus – Christians too recounted and retold of Jesus’ feeding of the 5000 – as a sign of their faith and dependence on Him –

 

Jesus is the one who carries the Father’s authority – whom the Father has set His seal by – Jesus had come to take them on a new journey to God –

 

But the crowd – wouldn’t just be given bread on demand – there would be a new requirement – a command that would require a change in heart – they must believe in Jesus – if they want to receive the true nourishment from Him –

 

Jesus knew that until people recognize who He is – and why Jesus is here – that deeper hunger inside – would never be satisfied –

 

Point 3        What this Spiritual food brings

 

When we get something new what’s the first thing we do?

 

If it’s a new car – or the latest electronic – game or laptop or I-pad – do we read through the manual to make sure we know how it works?

 

Or do we get behind the wheel and give it a go – and see how we get on

 

Most of us I think – go for the second option –

 

Trouble is when things go wrong – or we have difficulty sorting out how things work – it can take a lot longer –

 

Fortunately most of us – also keep hold of our instruction book – at least for a little while – in case we need it – so we can find out how it is supposed to work –

 

In our NT lesson – Paul is giving us instructions on how to live as Christians – Encouraging us to believe in Jesus as the risen Lord and King – and to give Him complete and undivided allegiance for the rest of their lives –

 

Because Jesus has conquered death itself – on the cross – all who are faithful to Him have that same hope in Jesus – and are assured of that the same victory – over death

Jesus in return showers us with Gifts – to help us in our work for Him – He provides for all our needs – not only food for our physical well-being – but nourishment for our spiritual growth and the support of the Holy Spirit –

 

But Paul reminds us that we need to take a more mature attitude to our relationship with Jesus – we need to be grown up Christians – full members of the body of Christ –

 

Doing things in a half-hearted manner without making full use of all that Jesus provides us – is not the best way forward – we need to make full use of the gifts and guidance that Jesus brings –

 

be open to new horizons – new ideas – new opportunities of service – confronting our relationship with Jesus – in a new way – each day – to learn from Him – and better understand what He really can do for us

 

ending

 

So what do we hunger for?   Do we follow the crowd – and focus on earthly things – that keep us comfortable – or focus on the real gifts that God provides – the Spiritual Gifts that we can receive through our relationship and faith in Jesus

 

Jesus said ” I am the Bread of Life ……  whoever comes to me will never be hungry, whoever believes in me will never be thirsty”

 

“Sir, give us this bread always”

 

Prayer to Finish

 

Amen