The Gospel According To Jesus - Week One: "You Give Them Something To Eat"

Today we are beginning a brand new sermon series that will take us through the month of September as we explore the Gospel lectionary texts from Matthew.  

This sermon series will take us through some of the key teachings and lessons from the life of Jesus as recorded in Matthew’s Gospel—to hear the Good News directly from Jesus himself. 

There are a lot of people in our current culture who claim to speak for Jesus, and yet when you hold up what they are saying next to the actual words of Jesus it doesn't add up.  

This is why it's so important to go directly to the source, and to read the stories and teachings of Jesus.  If we are going to call ourselves Jesus-followers, it makes sense to know what he wanted us to do to follow him more fully.  

Today we're going to be learning what it means to do what we can to solve the big problems of the world---by offering what we have, and then trusting Jesus to do the rest.  

The story that we are going to be reading today is found in each of the Gospel accounts---the Feeding of the Multitudes with just a few pieces of bread and some fish.  

They vary a bit from one to the other, with their own bit of color, and perspectives, but the story is still there, and the lesson doesn't change. 

There is one fact that we will should all remember about each of these accounts, though:  Jesus takes what is offered and does something amazing with it.  

And here is what I  want us to hold on to as we journey through this today: 


Far too many of us think we don't have anything to offer to Jesus.  We feel inadequate, used, not good enough.  Or maybe we just don't really trust that Jesus can do what we hope and wish he would do.  

Let's see what the Scripture can teach us today. 

Here's a bit of background on what is happening in this chapter.  Jesus finds out from John the Baptist's disciples that John the Baptist has been executed.  He had been imprisoned by Herod Antipas, who ruled Judea after his father Herod the Great's death.  Antipas fell in love with his brother's wife Herodias.  They left their spouses and intended to marry.  John the Baptist spoke out against this marriage and was put in prison.  During his birthday party, Herod Antipas' niece Salome dances before him and his guests.  He is so pleased by her dancing (ahem) that he declares he will give her anything she wants.  She consults her mother, who tells her to ask for John's head on a platter. 

Matthew 14:13-21

13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. 

This is known in Greek as an eremos topos - a wilderness place on the Sea of Galilee, away from the villages and towns that surround the lake. 

Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him 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.”

The disciples don't want to be responsible for the needs at hand.  There are too many people to care for. 

16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

This is an impossible request, if you can imagine. 

17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

In one of the Gospel accounts the loaves and fishes come from a small child. 

18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Jesus gives thanks for what is given, and then something incredible happens.  

There are a couple of ways to interpret this, but the outcome is the same. 

Was the greater miracle that everyone shared?  Or did the food actually multiply. 

No matter what---Sometimes all it takes is the faith of one person, willing to offer what they have to start a movement, to change the world.  Jesus doesn't need much to work with. 

What do we have to offer?

Our faith that God can do more with our gifts than we can. 
Our belief that there is more going on than what we can see. 
Our willingness to offer ourselves as we are to change what we can. 

Story of Philip Yancey and woman who served at the Russian Prison.  "God was already there---people just needed to see."



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