3rd Sunday after Pentecost
Dear friends in Christ, a man’s gotta eat on a ranch. Right? A long hard day roundin’ up cattle and ridin’ the trails can really make a rancher hungry. Right? What happens when you don’t eat for long periods of time? First, your stomach starts to growl, soon you’re distracted and all you can think about is where to get something to eat, then (if you’re like me) your head starts to hurt and you feel miserable, then if you wait long enough you get this just dead pain in the pit of your stomach, then… you get the picture. Thank the Lord that we have someone who provides for us. As I read through this rather familiar account ask yourself this question: How does this account show Jesus as my true provider? (Read text)
God does not have to eat. The very fact that we human beings have to eat in order that we don’t literally starve to death is a consequence of sin. Think about it. God created Adam and Eve in His image- perfect, holy, and they wouldn’t die. When they disobeyed God and introduced sin into the world by taking the fruit off the tree they lost every good thing, every blessing God had given them. God was not obligated to save them. God also no longer was obligated to allow even a single seed to sprout for them or give them air to breathe or cause animals to multiply for them for food. And since we, as Adam and Eve’s descendents, inherited that sin, we justly cannot expect God to provide even a crumb of bread or a breath of air for us nor should we be upset about it. Why? Because a just, holy, and sinless God ought to let each one of us sinful humans die of hunger. Die of a hunger physically AND a hunger spiritually. Ouch!
So what was God’s answer? We get a picture of the answer in this account. Thousands of people followed Jesus out to the middle of nowhere and didn’t even pack a lunch. Come on! Was Jesus obligated to provide for them? No, but He did, generously and abundantly! That’s an example of God’s love.
Of course, we get even better examples of God’s love. God sent Jesus to both live a sinless life and die on the cross as payment for all sin. Through that act of righteousness God showed His love to all people. There Jesus won the most important stuff, spiritual things (which we’re unable to earn or deserve), like forgiveness of sins, new life, salvation, righteousness, for us, and because of that He also provides the physical things (also which we don’t earn or deserve) like nourishment and daily bread for us. And so, every good thing comes and has to come from those hands, the same hands which miraculously fed over 5,000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fish, Jesus’ hands. Thank the Lord for Jesus who graciously and abundantly continues to provide not only what you need most, spiritual food in His Word for eternal life, but also what you need in this short life, your physical and temporary needs, like food! Yes, Jesus provides for you!