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Summary: How to bread, spit, an ass, and aha relate to the feeding of the 4000?

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Sermon: Bread, Spit, an Ass, and Aha

Text: Mark 8:1-9 (Feeding of the 4000), Ro 6:19-23 (slaves of sin/God)

Occasion: Trinity VII

Who: Mark Woolsey

Where: Arbor House

When: Sunday, July 30, 2006

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I. Intro

o Explain and show what the loaves probably looked like (pancakes the size of an open hand, about 4" diameter).

o Take the 7 "loaves" and create 1/8000th (because 4000 only included the men) piece.

Now I want you to imagine a big burly fisherman or some other lower-class worker that was the bulk of Jesus’ followers. In your mind picture yourself coming up to him and saying, "Since you have not had much, if anything, to eat for 3 days, here’s something I’ve cooked up for you. Eat this, and when you are full put all your leftovers in a basket." What do you think would be his response? Would he be in such awe that he would follow you into the desert? Or would he just beat you up for making fun of him? This is how much bread, per person, Jesus had to give. Yet after blessing and breaking it, there were 7 large baskets of left-over fragments.

o Show a basket full of various breads.

What’s the difference in these two items (piece in one hand and basket in the other)? Is it the giver, the gift, or the Guarantor? What, pray tell, does all of this have to do with slaves of sin and slaves of God mentioned in today’s epistle passage? And beyond Jesus’ obvious compassion upon the poor, what is the larger context of this miracle? Well, if you can stand the suspense, you’ll learn the answer to these questions and more in a sermon I’ve entitled, "Bread, Spit, an Ass, and Aha".

When I first saw the Gospel passage that was assigned for today, I was a bit put out. Among friends, familiarity breeds contempt, but in sermons, it just delivers drowsiness. Reminds me of a preacher whose sermons were so bad that he used to put himself to sleep! :-) And, no, his name was not Mark! ;-) Seriously, though, almost everyone who’s grown up in church has heard this story a hundred times. However, I hope today you come away with something other than glazed eyeballs.

II. The Crowd

First of all, notice that these people had been in a desert for three days, and now have nothing to eat. What could have caused them to do this? I doubt they had a state-of-the-art gym, with a fully-equipped nursery for little Jimmy and Sally, or anything else you might find in a typical mega-church. Then what could have drawn them? It was nothing other than our Lord Himself. Jesus, fill this place with people you have drawn to Yourself as we present You in Word and Sacrament. So many people have been wandering about in the desert, dying. We beg You, bring them here that their thirst may be slaked and their hunger satisfied.

III. The Word of God

What was Jesus doing all this time? Certainly He was healing many, but as was His want, I believe He was also teaching God’s Word. This certainly was the case with the earlier feeding of the 5000. Why would He be doing this when He could spend all His time simply healing people? Listen to what our Anglican forefathers said of Scripture in the introduction to the King James Version:

It is not only an armour, but also a whole armoury of weapons, both offensive and defensive; whereby we may save ourselves and put the enemy to flight. It is not an herb, but a tree, or rather a whole paradise of trees of life, which bring forth fruit every month, and the fruit thereof is for meat, and the leaves for medicine. It is not a pot of Manna or a cruse of oil, which were for memory only, or for a meal’s meat or two; but as it were a shower of heavenly bread sufficient for a whole host, be it never so great, and as it were a whole cellar full of oil vessels; whereby all our necessities may be provided for, and our debts discharged. In a word, it is a panary of wholesome food against traditions; a physician’s shop (St. Basil calleth it) of preservatives against poisoned heresies; a pandect of profitable laws against rebelllious spirit; a treasury of most costly jewels against beggarly rudiments; finally, a fountain of most pure water springing up unto everlasting life. And what marvel? The original thereof being from heaven, not from earth; the author being God, not man; the ineditor, the Holy Spirit, not the wit of the Apostles or Prophets; the penmen, such as were sanctified from the womb, and endued with a principal portion of God’s Spirit; the matter verity, piety, purity, uprightness; the form, God’s word, God’s testimony, God’s oracles, the word of truth, the word of Salvation, the effects light of understanding, stableness or persuasion, repentance from dead works, newness of life, holiness, peace, joy in the Holy Ghost; lastly, the end and reward of study thereof, fellowship with the saints, participation of the heavenly nature, fruition of an inheritance immortal, undefiled, and that never shall fade away: Happy is the man that delighteth lo the Scripture, and thrice happy that meditateth in it day and night.

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