Day 136 | Sunday, 2 August 2020
If you would like Holy Communion today, please respond to me and we will come around later in the morning.
The assigned Scripture lessons for this the 9th Sunday after Pentecost are: Genesis 32:22-31; Psalm 17:1-7, 15; Romans 9:1-5 and Matthew 14:13-21.
Preceding these verses in Matthew is the recording of the death of John the Baptist. That sets the stage for verse 13.
Matthew 14:13-21 The Message
13 When Jesus got the news, he slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by himself. But unsuccessfully - someone saw him and the word got around. Soon a lot of people from the nearby villages walked around the lake to where he was. 14 When he saw them coming, he was overcome with pity and healed their sick. 15 Toward evening the disciples approached him. "We're out in the country and it's getting late. Dismiss the people so they can go to the villages and get some supper." 16 But Jesus said, "There is no need to dismiss them. You give them supper." 17 "All we have are five loaves of bread and two fish," they said. 18 Jesus said, "Bring them here." 19 Then he had the people sit on the grass. He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples. The disciples then gave the food to the congregation. 20 They all ate their fill. They gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. 21 About five thousand were fed.
Matthew 14:13-21 CEB Feeding the five thousand
13 When Jesus heard about John, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. When the crowds learned this, they followed him on foot from the cities. 14 When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion for them and healed those who were sick. 15 That evening his disciples came and said to him, “This is an isolated place and it’s getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said to them, “There’s no need to send them away. You give them something to eat.” 17 They replied, “We have nothing here except five loaves of bread and two fish.” 18 He said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves of bread and the two fish, looked up to heaven, blessed them and broke the loaves apart and gave them to his disciples. Then the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 Everyone ate until they were full, and they filled twelve baskets with the leftovers. 21 About five thousand men plus women and children had eaten.
Let me share some commentary as found in the CEB Wesley Study Bible.
“14:13-21 Compare the meal Jesus arranges for the crowds with Herod’s feast in the previous scene. Jesus’ reaction to the news of John’s death indicates a closer connection than the Gospels describe. Jesus’ desire for a “’deserted place’” (v13) is difficult during his mission. “’Looked up to heaven, blessed them and broke the loaves apart’” (v19) suggests a cultural, religious setting for a sacred meal similar to ‘”the last supper’”. Jesus compassion (v.14) extends beyond healing the sick to feeding the crowds. As God fed Israel in the wilderness, Jesus feeds the crowds in ‘”an isolated place’”. Even though women and children are present, only the men are counted. (v21) This is a wonderful lesson on sharing what we have with others for surely those gathered on that day would have had some food with them and Jesus feeding with what his disciples had taught them all to share with one another.
Today: in these times of need, how can we best share our blessings with others?
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Rev. Douglas Knopp, Pastor Emeritus