Der Vasken's Sermon on July 1, 2018

Jul 2, 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 in the Bible and it highlights one of the most well-known miracles spoken in the Bible.  I have made mention before that there are some three dozen miracles attributed to Jesus Christ throughout the four Gospels.  And this is the only one recorded in all four Gospels.  These miracles were recorded in the Bible on purpose.

The people in biblical days were fascinated and attracted by what Jesus said and taught but people, being 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.  They continue to serve as the proof many people are looking for and they benefit us when we apply their message to our lives.  Today's miracle is more than just a sign of proof.  It's more than an event in the life of Christ and His disciples.  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 to 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 village and buy food for themselves.'"

When Jesus heard His disciples suggest 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, "Lord, 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 blessing, 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 is the miracle written about in today's Bible lesson.  But now let's apply this lesson to our lives.  It wasn't about the loaves of bread and two fish.  It was about the blessings of God--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:

  • What gift, what talent, do you have to give to God?
  • And think about how God could use it.
Because as we hand over our gifts to Him, He blesses them.  And as we begin to give Him our gifts, He multiples them and gives them back to us increased in ways we never would have imagined possible.  This is the message of today's miracle.  "We have only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered. "How can we feed 5,000 people?" they said.  "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 to God so He may bless them and increase them as He did in today's Bible story.  And may we all use those gifts to make a difference in the life of other people today and every day because we are all in this together.  What gift, what talent, do you have to give to God?

Amen.