Home > Uncategorized > Sermon for Pentecost 10, [Pr 13]

Sermon for Pentecost 10, [Pr 13]

Text: John 6:22-35

This sermon was preached at the camp service at Camp Linn Haven, on August 5th, 2012.

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

The past few Sundays in church, we’ve heard readings from the Gospel of Mark.  A couple weeks ago there was the account of Jesus feeding of the five thousand and last week was the account of Jesus walking on the water and calming the wind.  Starting this Sunday and for the next two, all the action of Mark is kind of interrupted by John’s explanation of what it all means.  John means to show us that Jesus is who He claims to be, the savior of the world, your savior from sin and death to forgiveness and eternal life.

So this is how it went.  The day before the events in the Gospel reading today, Jesus fed the five thousand on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee.  After supper He put the disciples into a boat and told them to head out for the other side while He dismissed the crowd.  Jesus had gone up on the hillside to pray and was apparently praying most of the night and sometime between three and six in the morning, Jesus looked out from where he was and saw the boat and saw them trying to struggle against the wind.  They had been struggling against the wind all night.  And then he took off walking on the water of the sea to where they were in the boat.  As you can imagine the disciples were terrified because people don’t walk on water and they thought what they saw was a ghost.  But Jesus spoke to them and then got in the boat and the wind stopped blowing.  Our reading starts up on the very next day.  All this other is important because the crowd that shows up looking for Jesus in Capernaum were some of the crowd that had been fed on the other side of the lake.  Got it?  Good.

Why do they go looking for Jesus?  Well, if I invited you out to dinner and paid for it, you would be looking for me too, right?  And in this case, Jesus had done something remarkable.  He had fed five thousand men plus women and children with a miraculous multiplication of 5 small barely bread rolls and two small fish.  They go looking for Jesus in Capernaum and they find it very odd that Jesus is there.  How did he get there?  It’s a perfectly reasonable question.  Did you notice that Jesus doesn’t answer it?  He doesn’t even deal with it.  Jesus gets it right, “you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.”  (v. 26)  He knows precisely why they followed after him.  It’s because He bought supper last night.  But then Jesus follows that up with something rather extraordinary.  He says, “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.”  He might as well be saying that to us.  In fact Jesus is saying that to us.  “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.”

So which food do you labor for?  If you work you probably labor to pay the bills.  “I owe, I owe, it’s off to work I go.”  But more than that, what’s truly important?  That’s what Jesus is getting at.  They came looking for Him not because they believed He could be the long promised Messiah of God sent to redeem Israel but because He could help them with their present condition, hunger.  Don’t we often do the same thing?  “God, I’m sick.  Please help me.”  “God, I’m broke, please help me.”  “God, I’ve sinned.  Please, if you get me out of this jam, I promise I’ll be good in the future.”  We don’t often pray, “God you are the savior of the entire human race and all creation, I may be dying, or I may have to file for bankruptcy, or even though I’m in the midst of some pretty deep trouble right now and I throw myself on your mercy and I’ll face the consequences here and now confident things are right between us.”  No we rarely pray that way.  We would rather have the Jesus that makes us well, gives us money, and gets us out of the jams we created for ourselves.

The crowd of Jews that followed after Jesus even in the face of at least two miracles, one they did see but did not understand, the feeding of the five thousand, and one they didn’t see and understood even less, Jesus walking on the water and calming the wind, were not looking for the Son of Man, the One on whom the Father set His seal.  They were not working for the food that endures to eternal life but rather for the most ordinary of ordinary things.  What must they do to be doing the works of God, to be seeking after the food that endures to eternal life?  They must believe in the One whom God that Father has sent, His only-begotten, the eternal Word made flesh, Jesus Christ.  And they can’t.

They can’t believe even after the teaching of Jesus led that great crowd out of their villages into the wilderness where they could hear the word of God preached to them.  They can’t believe even after Jesus feeds five thousand plus in the wilderness just like the Lord fed all Israel in the Sinai wilderness with manna from heaven.  They can’t believe even after Jesus walks on the water like the Lord led Israel through the Red Sea and like the Lord Himself in the Old Testament tread upon the waves. That’s in Job, look it up, chapter 9, verse 8.  They can’t believe in Jesus.  Oh, we’ll believe, they say if you show us a work.  We want Jesus to day to them, “What work?  Aren’t you still full from yesterday?  Are you that blind?”  And the answer is yes, they are.

They were so blind to their own story, they thought Moses had provided the bread in the wilderness.  Jesus reminded them it was the Lord, His Father who provided the manna.

And isn’t that how it is?  We pray those prayers.  “God, I’m sick.  Please help me.”  And we thank the doctor.  “God, I’m broke, please help me.”  And we think we have earned all the money we made.  “God, I’ve sinned.  Please, if you get me out of this jam, I promise I’ll be good in the future.”  And we thank whoever helped us, the lawyer who was slick, the judge who was lenient, or the jury who believed our story.”  We’re still looking for bread for a day and Jesus is giving us His very self for all eternity.

He gives us His very self in these words today.  “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”  Open your eyes and behold not just your problem solver, feast your eyes on your Savior, Jesus, the Son of Man, the eternal Word, there with God at the beginning before all worlds, sent into this world, into your human flesh, not just to heal your sickness but give you life, not just to take care of your earthly needs but to provide for all your needs, not just to get you out of a jam, but to declare you righteous and holy before His heavenly Father.  The great “I AM” who lead Israel out of Egypt, who led them through the Red Sea, who fed them in the wilderness who speaks now from a human mouth born of Mary, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

With a great twist of irony we can take the words of the clueless crowd and pray to Him who fills our every need.  “Lord, give us this bread always.”  Amen.

Let us pray:

O Lord Jesus, You are the Bread of Life; draw us ever closer to You, Amen.

The peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through faith in Christ Jesus.  Amen.

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