Friday, July 18, 2008

Matthew 14:13-21 - Do You Believe in Miracles

This is my sermon for this week. I'm sorry, but I didn't have time to write a manuscript or make copies for people in our church. Jet lag and vacation lag made getting back into the pastoral groove pretty difficult.

Anyhow, here's the outline:

KNU International English Church

Josh Broward

July 20, 2008

Do You Believe in Miracles?

Matthew 14:12-21

Glad to be back – summary of trip

Continuing with Matthew series

- Each gospel writer tells different stories.

o Luke – Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son(or Lost Son)

o John – Jesus washing the disciples feet and resurrection of Lazarus

o Mark – the half-healing – Blind man sees “trees walking around”

o Matthew – visit of the Magi (wise men)

- Every gospel has Jesus’ baptism, death, and resurrection (and a few other events: triumphal entry into Jerusalem, clearing of the temple, being anointed by the sinful woman, Peter’s denial of Jesus)

- AND – the feeding of the 5,000 – the only miracle in all four gospels

There must be something significant about this story – something that is core to the Christian faith, central to the Christian way of life.

Read Matthew 14:13-21.

Let’s work our way through this passage.

v. 13

- bad news – John the Baptist has been killed. (You’re next, Jesus!)

- taking a break – Jesus needs a time out, a retreat

- crowds follow

v. 14

- If you had followed me to America last month …

- But Jesus is much better than me. He has compassion on them and heals their sick.

v. 15

- disciples: “Time to quit, Jesus. Send them away.”

- Faced with limited resources and great need, the disciples decide it’s time to quit for the day.

- Have you ever felt like that?

o Global hunger

o world crises

o the environment

§ Guy who criticized my blog – “It’s impractical; there’s just not enough!”

- Mark: Jesus and the disciples didn’t even have time to eat (6:31).

- Just being practical

o We need rest.

o They need food.

o Not enough of either.

- Accepting their limitations

- Usually a good thing - usually something I recommend -

o balance

o rest

o can’t save the whole world – not today

v. 16

- Jesus: “You feed them.”

- Jesus sees possibility and abundance.

v. 17

- The disciples see limitation.

- Only 5 loaves and 2 fish.

- Not enough!

v. 18

- Jesus: “Bring them here.”

- Jesus sees possibility.

v. 19

- Jesus blesses the loaves and fishes

- Disciples pass it out

o What were they thinking?

o How did they do it? Half a loaf each? Who got the fish?

o “This isn’t going to last long!”

v. 20

- Then comes the miracle!

- There’s enough food … way more than enough food!

- How did it happen?

Barbara Brown Taylor asks good questions:

§ Did Jesus multiply the loaves all at once?

· BAM! – a mountain of food!

§ Or did it happen as the loaves were being passed through the crowd?

· As you reached out to take the loaf, did it sort of jump in your hand and get bigger?

· Or did new loaves appear while no one was looking?

· Maybe when you set yours down, it doubled.

§ Or maybe, when the disciples started passing around the bread, other people started sharing the food in their pockets or traveling bags, slipping it in when no one was looking

· All kinds of bread – white bread, wheat bread, sourdough, pumpernickel, rye, raisin bread, cinnamon rolls, biscuits, pita bread, bagels, muffins, ddok – a little of everything

· All kinds of fish – tuna, anchovies, sardines, bass … Maybe even a little lamb or beef wrapped in a grape leaf

- Some people say the miracle was getting people to share, not producing more food.

v. 21

- 5,000 men

- Plus the women and children

o one woman for every man

o 1-2 kids for every woman

o 15,000 to 20,000 people

- How did it happen? Who knows?

- All we know for sure is …

o All had enough!

o 12 baskets of food left over!

§ (Where did the baskets come from?)

What is it with Jesus and stories like this?

William Willimon: Jesus seems to like stories of abundance. Jesus seems to like going over the top.

- John 2: Jesus’ first miracle – Wedding feast

o Party ran out of wine - limitations

o Jesus turned water to wine – 180 gallons; 680 liters – of the best wine they had ever tasted - possibility

§ That’s a lot of wine. Nazarenes aren’t even supposed to think about that much wine!

§ No wonder people called Jesus a drunk!

People see limitations! Jesus sees possibility!

- Luke 15: Prodigal Son

o Younger son: runs away and spends all of his inheritance, half his father’s wealth.

o Older son: That’s it; he’s finished; not part of our family - limitations

o Father: welcomes younger son back with a huge, expensive party. There’s enough to go around. Let’s celebrate! - possibility

People see limitations! Jesus sees possibility!

- Luke 10 – Good Samaritan

o Man robbed and beaten

o Priest and Levite – pass him by

§ too busy

§ almost dead anyway?

§ Limitations

o Samaritan

§ Helps the man

§ Takes him to an inn (think hospital)

§ Here are my credit cards, my checkbook, everything. I’ll be back in a week to give you more. Make sure he’s well.

- That’s a little much isn’t it?

People see limitations! Jesus sees possibility!

There are needs all around us. Some of the needs in our world are huge! Overwhelming!

Sometimes all we see are our limitations.

- not enough time

- not enough money

- not enough love

- not enough people

- not enough of everything

Jesus sees miraculous possibility in every one of us.

Jesus sees miraculous possibility in everything we have.

Do you believe in miracles?

Marvin Gaye: “I believe in miracles … You sexy thing!”

Do you believe in miracles?

From Jesus’ perspective, you are a miracle waiting to happen.

From Jesus’ perspective, your money, your time, your love are miracles waiting to happen.

If you don’t believe you can be a miracle, you don’t really believe in miracles.

If you don’t believe your money or your love can be a miracle, you don’t really believe in miracles.

Amazing thing!

This miracle started with someone who was willing to share.

- Matthew doesn’t say where the food came from (maybe from the disciples’ food, or maybe even they weren’t ready to share yet)

- John: a little boy volunteered the lunch his mommy sent with him

- What if …

§ No one was willing to share?

§ The little boy had not come forward?

§ The disciples decided they didn’t want to share?

- What if …

§ We decide not to share?

§ We decide to keep what we’ve got to ourselves?

§ We decide not to give ourselves to Jesus and his way?

My friend Jeff has a tattoo of the 5 loaves and 2 fish on his back. I never really understood why he would choose that image. It seemed kind of random. I think I’m starting to get it.

Part of the core Christian message:

We are miracles waiting to happen.

Our things and our time are miracles waiting to happen.

We are like that little boy.

We are like those little loaves and fish.

If we will just give ourselves to Jesus, he can make miracles happen through us!

If we will just give ourselves to the world around us, Jesus will make miracles happen!

You are a miracle waiting to happen!

I believe in miracles! I believe in you. I believe in God’s power to change the world through you. I believe in God’s power to change the world through our time, our money, our love, our community.

I believe in miracles!

Do you?

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