Do you remember the TV commercial that claimed: “Snickers really satisfies me?” I really enjoy eating a Snickers, but usually as a snack between meals; not in place of “real food.” What if you were invited to dinner for your birthday or anniversary and they just brought you a Snickers? What if you went to your favorite “fancy restaurant” and all that they served was a Snickers? Would you be satisfied? Wouldn’t you agree that it takes MORE to REALLY SATISFY our hunger?
Sadly, it WOULD satisfy some people! We are too easily satisfied with immediate gratification rather than enjoying “food that satisfies!“
Since God made us, He knows what we need (much better than we know ourselves!). That is why He gives the gracious invitation: “Come, all you who are thirsty… and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to Me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to Me; hear Me, that your soul may live.” (Isaiah 55:1-3a) Notice how God’s invitation calls for His people to “buy without money” food that satisfies: wine, milk, bread… the richest of fare… and God relates these to “Listen, listen to Me… and your soul will delight in the richest of fare… Give ear and come to Me; hear Me, that your soul may live.”
And in today’s Gospel, Jesus graphically demonstrated this promise as He fed and satisfied over 5,000 people with more than just a meal of bread and fish. MAY THE HOLY SPIRIT WORK IN OUR EARS AND HEARTS THAT WE TOO MIGHT RECEIVE THE “FOOD THAT SATISFIES” through the preaching, reading, study and hearing of God’s Word; and the Sacrament of Jesus, “the Bread of Life” – in The Lord’s Supper.
Like so many people today, the people in Jesus’ day were deceived into “settling for a ‘snicker’s bar.'” Just before today’s Gospel reading, Jesus had gone to His hometown, Nazareth. There He “began teaching the people…” (13:54) but rather than being satisfied, “they took offense at Him;” (13:57) they only saw Him as “a hometown boy” and certainly NOT the world’s Teacher and Savior which He was! So Jesus tried to “(withdraw) by boat privately to a solitary place. But the crowds followed Him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (v.13-14) NOTE that all day Jesus was “feeding” the people with His Word and blessings. Then, “as evening approached, the disciples came to (Jesus) and said, ‘This is a remote place and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.’ Jesus replied, ‘They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.'” (Matthew 14:15-16)
The disciples KNEW that they couldn’t possibly satisfy all of them – not even with 5,000 Snickers’ bars! The disciples had already taken “inventory” saying to Jesus, “‘We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish.’ ‘Bring them here to Me,’ Jesus said. And He directed the people to sit down on the grass. (indicating that Jesus was going to feed them!). Matthew simply records: “Taking the five loaves and two fish and looking up to heaven, Jesus gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate AND WERE SATISFIED, and the disciples picked up 12 (large) basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.” (v.18-20) JESUS HAD BEEN “FEEDING” THE PEOPLE THROUGH HIS WORD AND MINISTRY OF HEALING; NOW HE “SATISFIED” THEM WITH BREAD AND FISH FOR THEIR STOMACHS; in fact, thee were 12 baskets full (one for each of the disciples?)!
What an “object lesson!” Without Jesus, never enough / but with Jesus, more than enough! Jesus said, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” And having said this, JESUS PROVIDED THE FOOD THAT SATISFIES THROUGH HIS DISCIPLES. The command is the same today: Jesus also says to us: “You give the ‘hungry world’ something to eat” – “As you go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them… and teaching them.”
Remember when Jesus, tempted by the devil in the wilderness to turn the stones into bread, said, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every Word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) Remember how Jesus proclaimed, “I Am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to Me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty… I Am the Living Bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This Bread is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:35, 51) The FOOD THAT SATISFIES is GOD’S WORD AND SACRAMENTS – the MEANS OF GRACE.
Each day of our lives, Jesus invites us to “The Banquet of God’s grace” – “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; (Baptism) and you who have no money (a good description of all of us sinners), come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost (bread and wine of Communion). Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to Me, and eat what is good, (Jesus, the Bread of Life) and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.” Give ear and come to Me; hear Me, that your soul may live…” (Isaiah 55:1-3) In the Communion hymn we sing: “The Feast is ready, come to the feast” – but too many Christians settle for the ‘snickers’ of this world – missing out on “the Banquet of God’s Word and Sacraments” for the pleasures of this world (sinful pride, pleasures, ungodly profit). NO WONDER they are SPIRITUALLY STARVING and living lives that are less than “satisfying!”
Thanks be to God that He gives “the food that satisfies” in great abundance!
- Every day in Bible reading, devotions and prayer He seeks to “feed us;”
- Every weekend in worship services, Sunday School and Bible Classes;
- The Lord’s Supper offered every weekend!
- Our Christian Day School and Catechism instructions, etc. (beginning again SOON).
Jesus says: “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” Thanks be to God for the opportunities to do this through our church’s ministry; our Concordia Universities and Seminaries; the missionaries and missions; the work of our District and Synod.HOW IS YOUR APPETITE FOR GOD’S WORD AND SACRAMENTS? We know that a lack of appetite is a sign that something is wrong with our bodies – EVEN MORE SO, with our spiritual lives! Jesus tells us, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)
See you in church this next weekend!