Lent 4 Laetare 2020

Laetare
March 22, 2020 A+D
John 6:1–15

(Sermon notes only)

1. 200 denarii worth of bread is not enough.

Life is fragile. We aren’t in control and we have neither the means nor the skill, let alone the wisdom, to save the world. We can kill. We can destroy and pollute, but we cannot create life and we cannot sustain life. We live by God’s mercy or we die. 200 denarii worth of bread is not enough. A billion dollars worth of corona tests is not enough.

The 5000 me, plus women and children who were fed by Jesus in the wilderness with miraculous bread all made it home safely but they all died eventually. Man does not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

2. Have the people sit down.

Passive. Ceremony in Worship for reception, learning.

God is the Creator and Sustainer. He isn’t toying with us. He is still talking with us. He loves us and sent His Son into our mess to allow not only devil but also us to abuse and murder Him so that we would be spared. He is the Jonah thrown overboard and the waves are calmed. His life is given in exchange for ours. He absorbs all the arrows of the enemy, takes all the accusations into Himself, becomes sin and guilt in our place and dies the cursed death forsaken by His Father so that we are spared.

Have the people sit down. I will feed them at my own expense, with that which is more precious than 200 denarii, gold, or silver. I will pay with my lifeblood for I have compassion on them.

To whom is the debt paid? To the Father, to be sure. But also, in a sense, to the devil. He gets His due. He gets to stuff His face with Jesus Body and choke on it. His jaws are broken and gut is filled and he is undone by the eating and now no threat to us. But also, in a strange sort of way, the debt is paid to us who incurred it. We owe ten thousand talents for our sins, not only is the debt wiped out but we get ten thousand as a bonus. We get the Body and Blood of Jesus. We get His life, His righteousness, His Name. He is for us and in us and with us. He weds us and presents us to His Father and His immaculate and beloved bride. We are elevated beyond the original station of Adam and Eve. We drink God’s Life for Life is the Blood. We eat His Body and are joined to Him forever. He become like us and ironically rewards us according to the false promise of Satan to Eve – we become like Him. Heaven is open. The Trinity is known by us as we are known. We have access to the Father, dominion over creation, the service of angels.

Have the people sit down, says Jesus. I will provide for them at my own expense.

3. The miracle convinces the people that Jesus is the Prophet like Moses.

A generation died in the desert but they weren’t slaves and they didn’t starve. The had manna and they had the Law. The Law was more significant than manna and more lasting. It gave them rights and a place. God spoke with them. Man does not live by bread alone, not even by manna, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

This life, at its best or its worst, is temporary, but whoever believes in Jesus never dies. Whoever is washed in waters of Holy Baptism, has already died. Christ gives Himself, a well of water springing up into everlasting life, to the baptized. Drink of Him and never thirst. He who hears the Word of Jesus and believes in Him who sent Him has everlasting life. He shall not come into judgment. He has already passed over, from death into life. We are not slaves to sin. We are not slaves to our passions. There are things worse than physical death. Whether we live or we die, we belong to the Lord who like Jonah not only was thrown over board but also rose from the dead on the third day. This is the abundant life He has won for us and which He bestows upon faith by grace.

4. What good might come from the current crisis?

A. We might be driven to Christ and better come to recognize our dependence. We might be humble and rightly repent. Without even realizing it, we thought we were more in control than we were. It is good for that to be stripped away that we would know, truly, that we are beggars.

B. We might better recognize the gift of the Church and the goodness of gathering together and of our need for the Sacrament. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this caused us to stop soccer practice on Sunday mornings because we learned what we really need and what is of lasting worth?

5. Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad with her, all yet that love her. Rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her, that ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations.

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