6/2/2019 Sermon


Ben Langley
Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church
June 2, 2019

Bread of Life! “Feed me til I want no more”
Matthew 14:13-21/John 6:1-14/Mark 6:30-44/

This has always been one of my favorite passages from the Bible!

I think it is interesting to bring out that the feeding of the 5,000 is so important that it appears in all 4 gospels. I think leading up to this passage a lot had happened in the life of Jesus which holds importance for us during this time of transition at CHPC and as individual.

We can see the life and ministry of Jesus gaining A LOT of momentum. Rumors were flying around about Mary and Joseph’s son and how he was performing all these miracles in the name of God?? And Mary’s son is proclaiming to actually be the Son of God! Really?

But wait a minute. Everyone is also saying how He’s healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind, cleansing the lepers, casting out demons, healing those who are paralyzed so they can walk again…

I am sure that people in this time were thinking to themselves…“This is crazy!” “This can’t be so!” I am sure many may have thought it was all a hoax, formulated by people “who need to create drama”!

Nonetheless, rumors were spreading like wildfire, and the reality was that everyone wanted to see this man called Jesus.

Imagine those who were suffering illnesses …To hear such news that people were being completely healed.

“We’ve got to go see this Jesus…We cannot afford to wait!”

“I’ve got to take my sick spouse, or my sick mother or father! Oh, and my neighbor who has been asking me to pray for healing.”

“We’ve got to get to Jesus and do whatever it takes, even if it means cutting a hole in the roof in order to lower our friend down in front of Jesus.”

“Just let me touch the hem of his garment!”

You and I need to get to Jesus too.

All of this upheaval didn’t just attract the curious and the desperate, it also attracted the fearful.

Jesus was run out of Galilee by outraged folks from his own town…even a prophet has no honor in the prophet’s own country.

The religious authorities were threatened by Jesus and wanted to silence him. The way things have always been done was being questioned. This Jesus was encouraging a new type of teaching, a new way of doing business! The norm was forced to change as a result of Jesus.

So let me ask you, have you had a time when the new normal is so different, it doesn’t feel normal at all? Fear is a typical reaction when the routines of life and church are turned upside down.

But remember though out scripture, we are taught, “Do Not Fear” for I am with you. A lot easier said than done.

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And just before the passage about the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus was told by the disciples about the death of his cousin, John the Baptist.

The scripture says that Jesus needed to get away so he climbed into a boat in order find a deserted place by himself. We see throughout the life of Christ the importance of getting away in order to be with God…A time of reflection, a time to talk with God, a time to ask questions, and even a time to be still and present with our creator.

When I am going through transition in my life, or when I receive hard news, or when life is so hectic, I desire to step away too…my natural instinct is to find a place to breathe, slow down, and reflect…I imagine we all can relate.

Especially during this time without a Called Pastor, we need to reflect, draw into God, Dream, and pray and so that WE can be the Called Pastors to each other, during this time of transition… and we are doing that!

But as we see, crowds of people followed Jesus constantly to where it was hard for him to have even a moment by himself. I am sure that Jesus was tired. I imagine that Jesus was shocked by the news and was grieving, and needed that time with God.

I am also pretty sure that the disciples were tired too and they were obviously concerned, and in some ways trying to protect Jesus. There are times in the scripture where we see the disciples wanting to turn the crowds away so the Jesus and THEY could get some rest! And just like what WE do with our loved ones, we “take up for each other” and go into “protection mode.” That is what the disciples are trying to do when the mob of people gathers as the boat approaches the shore.

The disciples were probably thinking…

”Good Lord”! or, “Sweet Jesus”!

“Will we ever get a moment to catch our breath and rest?”

“Look Jesus, we have to establish ‘healthy boundaries’ here!”

But what happens… Jesus once again, had compassion towards the crowd…Thank God for God’s compassion for each of us as individuals and as a church!

Can you imagine, being there that day? Can you imagine being one of the 5,000 present? What were people saying to each other? I’m sure their eyes were glued on Jesus and their ears were eager to hear what Jesus had to say!

They were wanting to see once again, people within their very own community restored and healed…By seeing this, it gave them new hope, renewed faith, a sense that in the midst of so much, that God was still among them and that they were not alone.

For many, I’m sure they hung on every word he said. I am sure that this multitude of people were people who came out of curiosity, needing healing, looking for hope. Others wanted to see Jesus with their own eyes to see if the rumors were actually true.

My point is that this multitude was most likely a very mixed group of folks present for many reasons. Very much like us at CHPC…We, like the multitude, come to this Holy place for many reasons and these reasons could change from day to day. We all know that being part of CHPC is so much more than coming here on Sunday Morning, but it’s about how CHPC lives out our faith inside these walls and outside these walls!

We even come when it’s hard to come due to differing views, but we choose to come anyway! We come anyway! This is because we have seen Christ at work in our very midst!

So this morning, I want to ask you to think for a moment…Why do you come to this sacred place called CHPC? Think of one word that describes why? Why do you come? What is it about CHPC that draws you to this community? (Let people answer).

We come to be healed, to be restored, for community, to serve; we, like the 5,000, come to be in the presence of The Holy One!

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At the end of our gospel lesson, I love how it ends…All were “filled” or “satisfied” and returned to their homes. Being in the presence of the Holy One fills, sustains, nourishes, and provides us with strength.

As we know, today is Bread for the World Sunday. Last Sunday, Gary gave us homework to write letters in order to advocate for those in our world who are lacking food. (See Gary’s insert.)

As I reflected on this morning’s message of Christ’s sustaining presence, Christ’s feeding the Multitudes, I reflected on us, being the Body of Christ, and how we can make a difference…

How we can join the 1,000s with our voices and our finances to be the Body of Christ, yet broken to be broken for a hungry world and how living in community, we can be Christ. We can move this world to where all children and all people will be satisfied with the Bread of Heaven.

There is something about this Holy Place, this Sacred Ground that brings us back over and over again. Yes, we are not perfect…We have misunderstandings. We sometimes hurt each other and we can be messy at times.

But we come as a genuine community that God has brought together, hungry to serve, hungry to Worship Jesus, hungry to grow in our faith, hungry to minister together in the name of this Christ who feeds our hungry souls week after week.

How are we like Jesus? Are we known for turning over the tables like Jesus did in the temple? How are we bread for the world? How do we give rest for the weary? How are we providing healing to those around us?

I give God Thanks for each of you because together we make up this global multitude of God who seek to follow Jesus, who seek to bring healing to our community, who seek to do justice, to love mercy, and who walk humbly with our God.
Hallelujah, Amen!

Closing benediction:
The Spirit of God Inspires….Listen!

The Spirit of God transforms…Grow!

The Spirit of God empowers…go…and be…and do!

Now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you know and forevermore!
Hallelujah,