Der Vasken's Sermon on September 2, 2018

Sep 5, 2018

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

"We have only five loaves of bread and two fish, they answered. 'Bring them here to me,' He said.  And He directed the people to sit down..."  [Mt. 14:13-21]

This morning's Bible reading comes from the Gospel of St. Matthew.  It is one of the most well-known events and miracles spoken about in the pages of the Bible.  I've made mention before that there are some three dozen miracles attributed to Jesus Christ throughout the four Gospels.  These miracles are recorded in the Bible on purpose.  The people in Biblical days were fascinated and attracted by what Jesus said and taught but the people wanted more.  They wanted proof.  And so they asked Him time after time for signs to prove He was truly the Son of God.   And on occasion, He offered the crowds the proof that they sought.

Today His miracles continue to capture the attention of people and serve as the proof many people are looking for and they benefit us when we apply their message to our lives.  Miracles show us the heart and the values and the compassion of God.  Let's take a minute to look at this story.  Jesus had spent the day with the largest crowd of people ever to gather around Him.   They came to hear Him and see Him and maybe even have the chance to touch Him.  He "had compassion on them and healed their sick," the Bible tells us.

When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said "Lord, this is a remote and secluded place and the day is now over; the sun is setting.  Send the crowds away to go into the nearby villages and buy food for themselves."  When His disciples suggested that He "send the people away" to find food for themselves, His response back to them was very clear:  "No one should go away hungry; the crowds that follow Me will never need to go away to some other place to find the "food" they need.  You feed them; you nourish their needs," he said.  But the disciples didn't understand Him, so they replied back that they "have only a small amount of food--some five loaves of bread and two fish."

And so Jesus said to them, "Bring to me what you have."  And the disciples went off and collected whatever food they could find.  And they brought it to Him and said, "Here is all we have."  We received these from a little boy in the crowd--five small loaves of bread and two small fish.  It isn't possible to feed this entire crowd with only a handful of food," they told Him.  But Jesus shared a very important lesson with His disciples that day.  He taught them that, with God's blessings, everything is possible and that five loaves of bread and two fish were enough to fulfill the needs of everyone.  And there were even many baskets left over.  And that's the miracle written about in today's Bible lesson.

It wasn't about the loaves of bread and two fish.  It was about the blessings of God--the power of God's blessings, the power of God's blessings in our lives.  That's the miracle.  So in hearing this very important event of the Bible, ask yourself:  "Where in my life do I need God's blessing?"  And ask Him for it.  This is the message of today's miracle. 

"We have only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered. "Bring to me what you have," He said....and a great miracle happened.  May we all find a way to bring our gifts and talents and our needs and hopes to God so He may bless them and increase them as He did in today's Bible story.  And may we all use those blessings to make a difference in the life of other people today and every day because we're all in this together.  

"Where in your life do you need God's blessing?"

Amen.