7th Sunday after Trinity – Pr. Anderson sermon
St. Mark 8:1-9 “Christ Satisfies Your Hunger, You Lack Nothing.”
July 23, 2023 | Christ Lutheran Church
In Nomine Iesu
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Lord God, heavenly Father, in the wilderness by Your Son You abundantly fed four thousand men, besides women and children, with seven loaves and a few small fish: We beseech You, graciously abide among us with Your blessing, and keep us from covetousness and the cares of this life, that we may seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness, and in all things needed for body and soul, experience Your ever-present help; through Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one true God, now and forever. Amen. (Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary, by Veit Dietrich, p. 160)
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. (Rom. 1:7, etc.)
The sermon text for today is taken from the 8th chapter of the Gospel according to St. Mark. We read selected verses in Jesus’ name:
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. And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, He said that these also should be set before them. And they ate and were satisfied.
These are Your words, heavenly Father. Sanctify us by Your truth, Your Word is truth. Amen. (Joh. 17:17)
In Christ Jesus, who has compassion on you, satisfying your needs in this life and forever in Heaven, dear fellow redeemed:
In grade school, I remember on the report cards there was a category that had a different letter than just the A, B, C, D, and F. In this category you wanted to have the letter S. The letter S stands for “satisfactory”. To have that S meant that you were doing a good job. You were listening to directions and not screwing around. It was alright if you had an S- but if you had a “needs improvement” that meant that you were probably going to talk about your actions in school. In our text we see Jesus teaching a crowd of over four thousand people and He is going to satisfy their needs. They have been there for a long time and now they are so hungry they can’t make it home. Jesus has compassion, He is going to help them. As He helps them, He also helps you. Our text teaches that Christ satisfies your needs here in this life as He satisfies the hunger of the crowd.
Jesus has been traveling in the land of the gentiles. This first demonstrates that Jesus came for all people. In chapter seven, right before our text, Jesus performs miracles among the gentiles. A woman asks Jesus to heal her demon possessed daughter where she demonstrates her great faith. Jesus then heals a blind man. As the people see this, they start to gather in large numbers. For a crowd of this size to hear the message of Jesus, they must meet in an area that can hold such a crowd. We then get to our text; Jesus has a large crowd gathered in front of Him and they are in the middle of nowhere.
“[Jesus] called His disciples to Him and said to them, ‘I 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.’ And His disciples answered Him, ‘How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?'” The people had been with Jesus, hearing His every word. They have gotten to the point where their bodies need food. They are physically very hungry. Jesus has compassion on them. He genuinely cares for them. The disciples doubt what Jesus can do. They question Jesus on how He can feed all these people “in this desolate place.”
This is a big human trait. The human trait of questioning if God will provide. Jesus tells the disciples what He is thinking because He is testing them. The disciples had witnessed Jesus perform great miracles. Besides the miracles that Jesus performed right before our text, Jesus had completed this same miracle once before. He had fed even more people. It’s hard to believe that the disciples doubt what Jesus can do but are we not so different when it comes to questioning God’s providential care for us?
Before we look at this question, let’s first find ourselves in the text. The people were hanging on Jesus’ Word. Jesus has compassion on them and is going to take care of them. We come here, to this church, to hang on Jesus’ Word. Now Jesus has compassion on us and is going to take care of us. Do we wait for Him to take care of us? Do we remember that He is going to take care of us? Or do we face our trials and temptation as if we are all alone in the world? We wait, wait, and wait, wondering why God has not delivered us out of our trials. The world will use this as a point that it looks like there is no god. We know better than that. Yet there are times where we doubt.
It’s difficult for us to see the difference between us and the disciples because there isn’t one. You could almost say that we have it easier because we have the whole account but that still doesn’t help our case. It is hard for us to get past our problems. God provides for us even when we don’t see it or think about it. He provides us with food, shelter, clothes, everything we need for our life. Nowhere does it say that this life will be easy. It will be hard and there will be struggles, but the silver lining is when Jesus says, “I 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.”
Jesus had in mind what He was going to do. He wasn’t going to let anything bad happen to them. He had His disciples for the second time go into the crowd. In what appeared to be a desolate place, Jesus took seven loaves of bread and two fish, He gave thanks, and He provided food for over four thousand people. “And they ate and were satisfied.” The miracle was not over. Not only did Jesus’ feed over four thousand people, but the disciples also went around and picked up seven big baskets full of bread and fish. As Jesus says that these people were to the point that couldn’t make it home, He proves that only He can provide for the needs of the people.
The people’s physical needs are only one way Jesus provides for them. He came to provide for their spiritual needs as well. Not only does He perform the miracle to sustain their earthly life, but He also came to save their lives forever. This is what matters the most. The people couldn’t provide for themselves in the moment, and they could not provide for their spiritual lives. Jesus came to die for them, taking away their sins. He has compassion on them and He has compassion on you.
Christ has compassion on you because you are not going through this life on your own. He is not telling you to shoulder your burdens. He provides for you. He not only gives you food so that you can get up every day, but He takes your burdens and sins away. You would collapse on your way through life if God was not providing for you. This doubt that you can sometimes have, the doubt is taken away. God tells you in Scripture that, “[He] looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds” (Psalm 33:13-15). As He looks down from Heaven, not forgetting about you, He has mercy on your souls as He sent His one and only Son for Your salvation.
Christ saves you now. He is not waiting for you to work through life on your own. He’s not expecting you to get so far, to suffer so much. Your life will not be easy. The world will not give an inch. It will try to break you down and sometimes it will succeed. When that happens and those doubts creep back into your head that God has abandoned you, Christ on the cross has forgiven your sins. He tells you to look at the things in your life, to see that He continued to provide for you. You would not be here at this point in your life without God and His providence. Christ has compassion on you. He has so much compassion that He gave up His life for you so that you would live forever. He satisfies your hunger. You lack nothing!
When we turn on the news, at some point you will hear how the world is lacking in something and is not satisfied. Whether the earth’s health is lacking, or groups of people are lacking help, the world wants to think that there is no god and that you are just on your own. The disciples watched as their teacher provided for a great crowd of people. Jesus continues to provide for the world. As you see how you are provided for, that you lack nothing, this is the hope that the world also needs. They need to hear how Christ has compassion on them. That He came and died on the cross for the sins of the whole world. He does not sit idly by. Jesus provides physical food and He provides spiritual food, the food that brings eternal life.
This food is located only in one place. It is in the means of grace. This is where you see the compassion that Christ has for you. You witness this compassion each time that you come to church. This is where Christ speaks His Word of comfort to you. He tells you that He redeemed you in the waters of your baptism. He forgives your sins that you repent of with absolution. He then feeds you with the Sacrament of the Altar. You receive His body and blood on the tip of your tongue. This is your assurance. Christ is with you, He will not forsake you, He has fed you, you lack nothing.
As you lack nothing, the world will try to convince you that you are on your own. It wants you to believe that you can’t be satisfied. Christ teaches the opposite. He teaches and proves that not only does He satisfy your needs in this life, but He satisfies your spiritual needs forever. He satisfied God’s law for you. He took away your sins. As your grade in life has been met with a satisfactory grade before God because of Christ, you do not have to worry when that doubt creeps back in. Life is hard, but your needs have been met and even if those needs will be met when He calls you home. Jesus in His compassion stretched out His arms for you. You lack nothing, you are satisfied by Christ forever. Amen.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, forevermore. Amen.
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