Sermon / Pr. Lucas Albrecht / Season Of Pentecost Proper 13 Sunday August 06th 2017 - / Matthew 14:12-21 / Bring them to me - I guarantee
Text: Matthew 14:13-21
Theme: Bring them to me – I guarantee
Intr – I have in my hands two pieces of paper. One of them is a 100 dollar bill. The other one is just a blank paper. If I would offer you the choice, which one would you choose?
Hum, I am pretty sure I am picking your brain right now, eh?... What a tough decision it is!... Only that it’s not. That’s a no brainer. I’m sure you’ll grab the 100 bill right away.
But why is that? Both are cellulose. They have mostly the same properties. Why would you choose one over the other so quicly? Why does this 100 dollar bill worth way more than this blank paper?
Because there’s someone who guarantees it. The Government of Canada makes it sure that this piece of paper over here is worth a 100 dollar, while the only guarantee we can have for this other is that it is true cellulose.
1 – Multiplication of questions and doubts
When we look to the episode St. Matthew reports in today’s Gospel, we see something very strange at the first look. Actually, looks like a tale. It is so different in a way that we wonder who could guarantee it is true.
To guarantee. How many things we are not that sure anymore these days?
-Types of food that are health threatening / Job / Future of the planet /For some people it is even harder. They don’t know if they’ll have food for tomorrow, or even if they’ll still be alive. Who can guarantee for sure?
So when we look to the Gospel story, we wonder if anyone can guarantee that it actually took place. Maybe the other way around: that’s just a figuratively way to speak about how much Jesus cares for our needs. That would be a rational explanation to satisfy our brain capacity. Then doubts and questions come in as we weigh in this story, and maybe many other Biblical accounts. Do we have how to prove that they actually took place as literally described? How can one guarantee it?
Sometimes, we come with rational and supposedly reasonable explanations we make to try to deal with them other than with plain faith and confidence that this is the Word of God. Which can lead to other types of questions and doubts
_Is the Bible the Word of God in full from cover to cover?
_Should we quit being so radical about it and be more tolerant and accept new ways to look on old things?
_Is God really with me in this world full of hunger, despair, violence?
_Is God really paying attention to me among 7 billion people?
From that point on, the bigger question becomes: where do we take things when settle in during uncertain, turmoil times?
-to “gurus” of relationships advice; / to Strangers; / to “Alternative faiths” / to yourself / to Facebook?
What did the disciples say: “They should go and buy food for themselves”. Send them to somewhere or someone else. And they were in front of no less than Jesus himself! That was a reasonable solution, no doubt. But they couldn’t even remember the Wedding at Cana, where Jesus provided wine for everybody. All they could think was of the business solutions. Looks like their faith was blinded...
They gave a fairly reasonable answer. But that’s not the one Jesus was looking for.
3 – Multiplication of love and hope – Bring them to me
Jesus’ answer is brief and precise: “Bring them to me”. So simple that they overlooked it . As we sometimes do as well.
But Jesus invites us to:
_Bring your sorrows
_Bring your destroyed heart
_Bring your despair or depression
_Bring your lack of faith
For he brought us first what we needed: Salvation, forgiveness. Peace. Hope.
He multiplies His love and peace through the ways He is present in our lives (Word, Sacraments). He knows our doubtful, fearful hearts. He invites us: bring it to me!
And how do we know he would do this: Because He splanxniszomai of us, as Matthew says. He is compassionate from his guts. He fed 5,000 not counting women and children. He is still compassionate. He can feed us and 7 billion because of his splanxniszomai is for all. Together with that, just like the disciples, we have the privilege of being God’s waiters serving His miracles to thousands of hungry people around us. His Word operates the miracle of faith through which each person can be fed and nurtured. We don’t need to go somewhere else to find food. We’ve got Christ! Bring them to me!
Jesus taught his disciples and teaches us too: Confidence, trust. He guarantees. Jesus is before our eyes, in his Word, in our hearts. In face of big challenges or high walls in life, sometimes we need to cast away our human solutions and to trust Him who is able to do miracles. He guarantees. Because this is not a matter of trying to fix everything inside the limited frame of our minds minds but, prior to that, of receiving it by faith in our hearts. Do we use our rational mind in the process? No doubt we do. When our minds are guided by God’s Word, we see and understand way more than we ever thought before.
So, can we believe in stories like this one? Can we believe that Jesus is going to be there for us when everything looks just like a blank piece of paper?
Yes, we can. What we might see as worthless has behind it someone who guarantees it. Our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. His name is all over it. He tells us: bring it to me. Stay with me. Live with me. Your life is not a worthless piece of paper, but a treasure that Jesus bought with His own blood.
Cc – Speaking of worth, I mentioned that this bill here is worth a 100 dollar because our government guarantees it. But what happens if you go to a different country, like Brazil for instance? Will people who never saw this one believe that it has some worth? Possible what you would have to do is to go is to an exchange institution and cash it into Reais, the local currency. The point is: not all currency has the same worth outside its borders. Outside of here it may become just a piece of paper. Something quite different happens for example with gold. It has its worth recognized anywhere. Gold is gold wherever you may go.
God is like Gold. Actually, He is bigger than all the gold in the world. Our Saviour Jesus Christ is like Gold to our lives - to everyone. What He did has the same value and worth in every single corner of the Earth. We can bring everything to Him. In His hands, salvation is a reality. Faith is a treasure. Miracles happen. The Governor of all and everything lets us know that in his hands we are the most precious beings on Earth. He guarantees. We have a permanent and eternal value. Amen.