Sermons

Archives - August 2018

Idol Walls

August 26, 2018
By Rev. Peter Heckert

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Idol Walls
Mark 7:1-13

+ Grace to you, and peace, from God our heavenly Father, and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. + Amen.

The text for our meditation is from our Gospel text, specifically where Jesus tells the Pharisees and those with them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” Here ends our text; dear Christian friends …

Contrary to what you may have seen in Indiana Jones, sometimes the most exciting thing an archaeologist can find on a dig is a wall. That may not seem all that exciting to you or me, but discovering a wall is a pretty big deal! You may have found the outskirts of a city or the inner structure of a house or a palace. If you find graffiti, writing, or other artwork, you could be looking at a temple. It could be a treasury, a tomb, or an armory that you would have just started to uncover. See? Walls can be pretty exciting! And you see them everywhere in archaeology, for good reason: in the ancient world, walls meant everything. They meant security; if you needed something to be protected, you built a wall around it – sometimes, multiple walls, if you had something of high value, like a king or a treasury. The idea was, the more obstacles and distance you could put between what you’re trying to protect and those outside who are trying to get in, the better.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? Apparently, this concept extended beyond security and defense, because the ancient Jews had done the same thing – theologically speaking. They had built walls around what was one of the most important aspects of Jewish life: the Law of God. Only, we’re not talking strictly about the Ten Commandments. There was a belief among the Jews of Jesus’s time that, in addition to the written Torah that was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai, God also gave him what was referred to as the oral Torah, rules and laws that were never written down, but were passed down by word of mouth from generation to generation. These rules and laws, while not written down until well after Jesus’s death, resurrection, and ascension, were nevertheless binding on all Jews as authoritative, on the same level as the written Torah. The traditions of the elders that the Pharisees speak of in our Gospel lesson come from this tradition.

Mark tells us that these same Pharisees come out to see Jesus, along with some of the scribes, and they notice something: some of Jesus’s disciples are not following these rules and laws. Specifically, they are eating with hands that haven’t been washed – the general rule of thumb was that one would have to scrub their forearms (from the elbow to the knuckles) with water to wash away any uncleanness before eating, lest you ingest anything unclean. Some of Jesus’s disciples … have not done this. The Pharisees and scribes see this behavior, and they ask Jesus about it. “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” From our perspective, it seems a bit odd to make a federal case of this; obviously, they didn’t know about germs and were thus not concerned about hygiene, certainly not the way we tend to be. So, what was their beef?

Well, the issue comes from a historic sense of caution and even fear, and this is where the walls-within-walls idea comes into play. The Pharisees and scribes knew that their ancestors had transgressed God’s law, and God had punished them for it throughout their history. It seems they were concerned that they were going to transgress God’s law once again, and that God would, once again, punish them for it as He had before. So they put up walls, rules, and regulations for daily life that wouldn’t permit you to get anywhere close to transgressing God’s law. For example, to protect the Second Commandment, against using God’s Name in vain, the people stopped saying it altogether. Instead of speaking God’s name “Yahweh,” even when reading the Scriptures, they would instead say “Adonai,” for fear of misusing the holy Name. They did this for all the commandments, in relation to both the written and oral Torah. They tried to build up these walls around the commandment to keep themselves from crossing that line, because if you keep the rule, you keep the commandment, and if you keep the commandment, you’re safe. More than that, you’re saved.

Which, of course, misses the point of the law entirely, as Jesus points out. In regard to the question they pose, He doesn’t even dignify it with an answer. Instead, in the typical snarky fashion found in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus calls them out on their hypocrisy: Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men. They had turned their striving after the perfect keeping the law … into a god. Their walls of protection around the law – indeed, their keeping of the law itself … had become an idol.

This is what every other religion in the world does – you get to God by toeing the line and being good enough, and yes, even we Lutherans are not impervious to this sinful inclination. Lest we be tempted to nod in agreement, thinking, “Yeah, You tell ‘em, Jesus!” … we need to remember that this is something that we all do. In his Large Catechism, Luther explains regarding the First Commandment, that having a god is having something that you fear, love, and trust in the most. In spite of the theology which we confess, it is all too easy to allow anything to become a god in our lives, and fearing, loving, and trusting our ability to keep God’s law for our salvation is a temptation we all know. Worse, like the Pharisees, we set up silly, arbitrary rules and regulations for ourselves, lowering the impossibly high standard that the Ten Commandments require of us, and when we keep those rules, then we feel really good about ourselves, and think we’re good with God because of it. “I don’t drink, smoke, gamble, get tattoos and piercings. I give to the homeless, work hard at my job, help the little old lady up the street – man, I’m sittin’ pretty good with the Almighty!”

Like the Pharisees and scribes, we miss the point entirely. The law has three uses – curb, mirror, and guide. It cannot save us; in fact, in terms of salvation, it can only kill us. The traditions that the people of Israel followed, the rules and laws that we set up for ourselves, cannot save us! The true Law of God shows us how we are to treat our neighbor … how we are to love our God … and how miserably and epically we fail in our efforts! No matter how many walls we put up to stop ourselves from breaking the commandments, we will blast through them – happily, joyfully, because we are sinners. If our salvation depends upon our keeping of the commandments, then we’re all doomed and damned … and that’s the point!

If it were possible for Man to keep these commandments perfectly, the Father would have had no need to send the Son … but He did! Yes, we would be damned if our salvation depended on our effort, but thanks be to God that Jesus was damned for us! The only One Who ever actually kept the commandments perfectly … died the death that we deserve! That’s Jesus’s whole point as He’s speaking with the Pharisees; by focusing on the law of God, not to mention the worthless traditions of the elders, they had lost sight of that which is infinitely more valuable: the promises of God.

For them, it was the promise that the Messiah would come – indeed, that He had come, and was standing before them. For us, it’s that the Messiah has come. It’s the promise that, because of His sacrifice on the cross, putting sin to death in Himself, we stand justified before our heavenly Father. It’s the promise that, in the same way that He left, He will come back, and restore this broken world! THAT’S where our focus should be – not on walls and laws, as if they could save us, but on the cross of Christ Jesus, where our sins (including our idolatry) is removed from us as far as the east is from the west! That is the ONLY place where we can place any hope of being justified before Almighty God!

We don’t need walls, my friends. They don’t do us any good anyway; we cannot save ourselves by means of our keeping of laws and rules and regulations. Worse still, when we think we can, we make those walls into idols, when the real remedy is … so simple! Instead of trusting in the traditions of the elders, in the rules we make up for ourselves … we simply trust in God’s promise! Jesus’s sacrifice wipes you clean of your sin! Because of Him, the Father shows His grace to you! When Jesus returns, you will be with Him forever! No walls can separate you from THOSE promises!

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

It's All About the Sacrifice

August 19, 2018
By Rev. David French

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It’s All About the Sacrifice
John 6:51-69

Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you.  This do in remembrance of Me.”  In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the New Testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.  This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

These words are very familiar to us.  They’re words of promise that, when used according to Christ’s command, unite His body and blood in, with, and under the bread and wine of Holy Communion.  We’re used to the idea that in this sacrament we literally eat Christ’s body and drink His blood, that this is a Means of Grace, that is, one of the ways the Lord has promised to deliver forgiveness of sins.

The thing is, while we know these words, at that time Jesus spoke them, He hadn’t yet instituted His Holy Supper.  In fact, what these people knew were the words from the Torah in the book of Leviticus where we read: If any one of the house of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people.  For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.  Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, No person among you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood.

So, when Jesus says, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  It sounds to them as though Jesus is promoting a teaching not just contrary to God’s Word, but defying God with what sounds like some kind of cannibalism.  So, what does this mean?

To better understand what Jesus is saying, we need to go back three weeks to the beginning of John 6 where we hear about Jesus and the five loaves.  The main point of that lesson and, really, this chapter is as Jesus said, The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.  Each week since, Jesus has expanded on that teaching until we come to today.

Now if we consider today’s reading in isolation, honestly it will always be a mystery.  On the other hand, if we look at the whole chapter, we come across (for example) these words from last week's Gospel reading: Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”  It’s with this definition that we learn when Jesus speaks, again in this pre-communion sermon, about eating and drinking,  He’s talking about coming to Him and believing in Him.  That is, Jesus is speaking about the work of the Holy Spirit who “… has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.”

Believing Scriptures means we believe that Jesus lived and died in our place; that He has saved us from the punishment we deserve and gives us eternal life.  It means we believe that Jesus is not just a man teaching at Capernaum, but that He is our God and Savior, which is exactly what Jesus preached.

You see, at that time and place, bread was such a critical part of every meal that the word bread was often used to mean all the food on your plate.  We still talk about getting together to break bread, understanding that there will be more than bread on the menu.  So, when Jesus says that He is the living bread that came down from heaven, He’s saying that just as our bodies get all they need for life from what we eat, so our souls gets all they need for eternal life from Him.

From there Jesus goes on to teach about the mystery of our salvation, that is, what makes this living Bread from Heaven so valuable.  You see, while Jesus is the Bread of Life, His value is not found in His title, but in the sacrifice of Himself for the sins of the world.  And so, it is as the Holy Spirit brings us to faith that we begin to see and believe that Jesus doesn’t just give life, He is life.  That He alone is our salvation.

It’s in the last section of Jesus’s sermon that He begins to expand on the idea that He will give His flesh for the life of the world.  Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.  For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 

Three times Jesus speaks about eating His flesh and drinking His blood.  Again, He says that His flesh is real food and His blood is real drink.  And finally, He says this eating and drinking is eternal life.

So Jesus began to paint a picture of the price He’ll pay for our salvation.  Again, when Jesus speaks of eating His flesh, He is telling that pre-Maundy Thursday crowd that He will sacrifice His body and offer His blood for them and that they are to believe in Him because of that sacrifice.  He’s teaching that this eating and drinking both point to the same thing, that is, the sacrifice of Himself on the cross for the sins of the world.  He’s teaching that all who believe in Him will take part in a blessed resurrection into eternal life.

But, this teaching runs counter to everything anyone has ever experienced in life, which is why Jesus said earlier that no one can come to Me unless the Father who sent me draws him.  Without God’s miracle of conversion, we simply cannot believe Jesus’s words. 

Look at how those who rejected Jesus that day respond.  The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”  They also said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”  Finally, many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.  That is, they rejected Jesus, His message, and His gift of salvation. 

My friends, the body and blood of Jesus are still stumbling blocks for many today, but it is there that God reveals His true essence as He takes on human flesh and pours out His blood on the cross as the payment demanded for sin, all sin.  It’s there that we see an expression of the innermost being of God … that is, we see pure love.  Still, there are many who bear the name Christian who are offended and reject this teaching about Christ’s body and blood, but that too is nothing new.

Jesus asked the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” 

All four Gospels tell us that, as time went on, Jesus’s followers became fewer and fewer.  At the end, one of the Twelve betrayed Him and the rest deserted Him.  Finally, He was forsaken by His heavenly Father, leaving Jesus to take our sin and its punishment completely alone.  That’s the price Jesus paid for you and for me.

Jesus’s hanging on the cross as His life’s blood is poured out is what has freed us from sin and eternal death.  Those who eat His body and drink His blood - that is, those who believe in this crucified Lord and Savior, will join Him in His resurrection on the Last Day.  Until then, as He will later teach, He has left us a Holy Meal and a place at His table where believers can literally eat and drink His body and blood for the strengthening of our faith and the forgiveness of all our sins. 

In His Name, Amen.

Bread for the Journey

August 12, 2018
By Rev. Peter Heckert

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Bread for the Journey
1 Kings 19:1-8

+ Grace to you, and peace, from God our heavenly Father, and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. + Amen.

The text for our meditation is from the Old Testament, specifically where we hear of Elijah beg of God, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” Here ends our text; dear Christian friends…

How did it come … to this? How did Elijah get to this point in his life, where he’s asking, begging his God YHWH to take his life? It doesn’t make much sense. Yes, Jezebel had made a threat against him, but it wasn’t like he hadn’t been threatened before. Elijah had practically lived most of his life in the valley of the shadow of death! But Jezebel’s threat, in the wake of the prophet’s victory over and execution of the 450 prophets of Ba’al on Mt. Carmel seems to have been the last straw. Something about her threat seems to have shaken Elijah to his very core, and now, he wants to die – not by her evil hand, but by the hand of YHWH. He cries out in despair, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” Is he confessing his own sin and weakness? Is he lamenting his cowardice, as many people believe? Is he bemoaning is own faithlessness, not trusting his God to protect him from that wicked woman? It’s certainly possible; Elijah is a fallen, sinful human creature just like us. But is there more to this?

Elijah is first introduced in chapter 17, and there he is described as a “Tishbite.” Our English translation goes on to say that he was from “Tishbe in Gilead,” but the word there isn’t the name of a place; it’s a description of a people. A better translation would be that Elijah was a Tishbite “from among the sojourners in Gilead.” It seems that the author of 1 Kings is wanting you, the reader, the hearer to know that, from his introduction, Elijah is known as a displaced person living among a displaced people. That seems to be the story of his life, in fact! Elijah didn’t have a place to call home; he was always on the run from someone. He starts by hiding out near the brook Cherith, then running clear up to Sidon to hide out with the widow of Zarephath. Now we’re here, and again, Elijah is on the run, fleeing from Jezebel, running way down south to Beersheeba, where he leaves his servant, and keeps on running into the wilderness. Still sojourning. Still journeying. Still passing through life and land. That’s the context of Elijah’s prayer, his cry for God to kill him. Even after all God had done through and for him, after all God’s steadfast faithfulness, evil still seemed to have the upper hand, and it didn’t seem like things were going to improve any time soon. So he cries out as he does, begging the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to end his misery, his running, his sojourning.

The sojourning life is no picnic; while bands like Metallica may take pride in being a “rover, wanderer, nomad, vagabond – call me what you will,” there’s nothing pleasant or romantic about journeying through life without having a place where you belong; without having a place to lay your head and rest. There is no joy in being hounded by enemies from without and from within as you run for your life. It’s a miserable existence to be constantly journeying, yet never reaching home … isn’t it?

As strangers in a strange land, we aren’t unsympathetic with Elijah’s plight. Knowing what we do about the broken nature of our fallen universe, knowing what we do about our own sinful nature, knowing as we do that man is by nature spiritually blind, dead, and an enemy of God and God’s people, we find ourselves constantly in a state of warfare, from without and from within. Look me in the eye and tell me honestly that you have never echoed Elijah’s cry. “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” While I’m not proud of it, I can say that I have had those moments. Life is hard, yet in our insanity and stupidity, we often think we can go it alone. We can’t. The journey is long, the path is difficult, and we haven’t got anything to make it alone. We, Will. Not. Make it, left to ourselves.

Elijah certainly would not have made it. That’s why, in His mercy, his God YHWH provided for Elijah all that he needed to get where he needed to be. An angel of the Lord arrives with food and drink to revitalize the undoubtedly exhausted prophet. He partakes, but lies down again, and again, the angel comes, with more sustenance in tow, telling Elijah, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” Far from giving Elijah what he desired in his prayer – his death – God does what He has always done for His beloved creation: He provides. He provides for Elijah in body and spirit, to strengthen him for what lies ahead – not promising reprieve, nor the nearness of journey’s end, but we are told that Elijah went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God, and carried on with the work he was given to do.

That should sound very familiar. You hear something like it in one of our post-Communion collects: “We give thanks to You, Almighty God, that You have refreshed through this salutary, this helpful, this wonderful gift, and we ask You that, of Your mercy, You would strengthen us through the same, that same gift, in faith toward You and in fervent love toward one another.” Yes, the Lord our God provides for our daily need – we confess it in the First Article of the Apostles Creed, as we believe that God provides for us food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all that we have. More than this, however, is how God has provided for us an everlasting food that will not spoil or rot away, a food that lasts to eternity and strengthens us for this life’s journey.

Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” Christ’s very body and blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins, in, under, and with bread and wine, that is food which sustains you through the valley of the shadow of death to life everlasting! It’s the only food that provides this blessed assurance that you are literally tasting heaven, literally partaking of Jesus’s eternal life, here in this veil of tears, and there in eternity!

This food, this faith which God has so graciously given to us, sustains us. It is enough; YHWH’s grace and mercy is sufficient for us. It’s food for our sojourning, and strength for the journey! Like Elijah, we may be strangers here in this strange land, but we are not alone, and YHWH our God has given us all that we need for this journey, now and into eternity!

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

The Story Continues

August 05, 2018
By Rev. David French

See the Weekly Bulletin

The Story Continues
John 6:22-35

With today’s reading, John picks up the account of the feeding of 5000 where Mark concludes. John tells us that the next day the crowd Jesus had been with realize neither He nor His disciples were there, and that only one boat had left, and Jesus wasn’t in it. Next, we learn that when some other boats come along, they get in and go to Capernaum to look for Jesus. Then we read, “When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’” (John 6:25) Which seems like a fairly innocent question.

But Jesus sees the heart. He understood the motive and answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 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. For on him God the Father has set his seal” (John 6:26–27). Jesus knew that they did not understand that He came to give eternal life, not just a free meal.

The Q and A session they have with Jesus shows that they just don’t get it. In fact, they ask a question that shows not just a lack of understanding, but their unbelief. “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” (John 6:30-31)

It’s almost mind numbing. Jesus has been healing the sick, curing the lame, causing the deaf to hear and the blind to see. He’s been casting out demons and raising the dead. These very people had eaten bread and fish multiplied from His hand just yesterday … and they ask for a sign. My friends, our sinful nature is never satisfied. You and I will always ask for and look for more signs.

Not much has changed down through the centuries. We might not believe in Jesus for free food, but have you listened to any T.V. lately? Here are just a few of the quotes I found online: “Obedience to God is the pathway to the life you really want to live” (Joyce Meyer), “… God wants all Christians prosperous” (Benny Hinn), or “Poverty is caused by sin and disobeying the word of God” (John Hagee). These are but three of the popular T.V. preachers who teach that worldly wealth and success is the reward for those who obey God.

These very popular people teach that if you do your part, God will give you what you want. The Bible, on the other hand, teaches that we can do nothing. But, God, in His grace, freely gives us, not what we want, but what we need. These teachers make promises for life here and now, and when their promises fail, they blame your weak faith. God, on the other hand, makes eternal promises, and His promises never fail.

If these teachers mislead and their promises fail so often, why are they all so wealthy? Why do they fly in private planes and ride in limousines? Why do they live in mansions? It’s simple, these preachers of their own ideas are wealthy because the sinful nature is never satisfied with the simplicity of God’s perfect gifts. Adam and Eve were not satisfied, the Israelites in our Old Testament reading were not satisfied, and the people in today’s Gospel lesson were not satisfied. The Scriptures are full of people who were not satisfied with God’s promise to them.

What about you? God has promised to care for you and provide all you need. He has promised eternal salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. He has opened up rivers of forgiveness in word, water, bread, and wine. So, are God’s promises enough for you? Lord, forgive us, but I know there are times that I want more and so do you.

Think about it. We all know and freely confess that we deserve to suffer the eternal flames of hell. And yet, God sent His Son to take hell into Himself as He hung on a cross. God mercifully credits His own righteousness to you. You and I have eternal life for one reason: the perfect life, suffering, and death of Jesus Christ! The sign we were given to confirm that truth is the bodily resurrection of that very same Jesus Christ!

Still, faithful pastors hear things like: “Can you do something to make your message a little more relevant? Maybe a little more upbeat? You see … the eternal Father sent His Son to suffer our punishment on the cross so that we can have eternal life, and yet many aren’t satisfied! We want what we want instead of what God wants to give us!

Make no mistake that satan is more than happy to provide a wide variety of “preachers” who will show you a wide variety of ways to heaven, to give you exactly what you want. Why? When we get what we want, it draws us away from what we need, that is, the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. And so, those who preach lies rake in millions while those who preach the truth often find themselves struggling to provide for their families. People are willing to give a lot of money to liars because those lies make them feel good about themselves. It is as the Holy Spirit inspired St. Paul to write, “The time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Timothy 4:3–4).

But Jesus continued, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven” (John 6:32). Reminding them that the manna came from God, Moses was simply God’s servant. And then, “For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” (John 6:33). According to Jesus, He Himself is the bread who comes down from heaven. That is, just as God sent manna to give earthly life to the people of Israel, He sent His Son to give eternal life to all people through His perfect life and sacrificial death. And so, Jesus is telling them that He is the bread of God who gives life to the world.

The crowds, still thinking about their stomachs, say, “Sir, give us this bread always” (John 6:34) and Jesus replies, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). Clearly, Jesus is speaking about a different kind of bread for a different kind of life. You see, when it comes to the things of this world, Jesus says things like, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). But when it comes to the things eternal, He says, “whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

These are words that, on this side of heaven, we will never truly understand; but by the working of the Holy Spirit, we can believe. By the gift of faith, created and nurtured through the word of God alone, be that spoken or combined with earthly elements, we can believe the promises God speaks and Jesus fulfills.

God, in His infinite knowledge and perfect wisdom, has given us, not what we want, but exactly what He knows we need … both here in time and for all eternity. As we read from His word in Romans, “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31–32)

Amen

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