S-1130 7/19/09 7SAP/3B Hymns: (O) #300; (S) #473; (C) #312
Texts Jeremiah 23:1-6; Ephesians 2:11-22; Mark 6:30-44
Theme: “The Greatest Fish Fry Banquet Ever” (Mark 6:41-42)
Question: “How often do you get invited to a Banquet?”
SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen! Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation this morning is the Gospel lesson: “And taking the five loaves and the two fish He [Jesus] looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And He divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied” (Mark 6:41-42).
Saints in Christ, A Fish Fry Day is an old and long tradition held in many towns in the U.S.A. Most often it is held on Fridays. Around here two towns in particular hold a Fish Fry Days. The first week of June Lake Andes holds their Fish Fry Days and Tripp hold theirs in June also. Announcement of the upcoming event is advertised well. Many workers, helpers and planners work hard to make this a reality. They gather the fish, cooks, frying pans, tables and chairs and carry out the event. People gather from many places for the fish feed.
As I said, Fish Fry Days are a common event in many places. But did you know that Paris, Tennessee claims to be home of the largest Fish Fry in the USA? In 2008 Hamburg, New York broke the world’s record for a Fish Fry event. Listen to this announcement: “The Queen City has beaten the home of fish and chips, for a new entry in the Guinness Book of World Records. The world’s largest fish fry was held tonight at the fairgrounds in Hamburg. Organizers served up 2,551 pieces of beer battered goodness to break the old world record that was set in the United Kingdom. A Guinness representative was on hand to certify the record”.
But before Fish Fry Days were held in the US, they were held in another place. According to Saint Mark, Jesus had been teaching and performing miracles. His disciples didn’t have time to eat and rest. To meet their needs Jesus invited them to come with Him and rest and be refreshed in a solitary place. When people found out that He had left their vicinity, many people from the surrounding community followed Him to this dessert place. The disciples were concerned that in this isolated place the throng would suffer from hunger. So they asked their Rabbi to send them home before it was too late. But He said, “You feed them”. But they complained “We don’t have that much money to pay for these people to eat. It would take more than 200 denarius.” That is about $24,000.00 — $25, 000.00.
This Galilean Rabi doesn’t wait for them. He demonstrates to them His great compassion by not only meeting the needs of the disciples, but of all people even in this isolated place. Jesus, the heaven-sent messenger, again and again shows that He has a gracious habit of showing genuine compassion for those in needs and for all level of need.
These words from Mark assure us today, that regardless what our needs may be Jesus will meet them all. He will meet our spiritual, physical and social needs. He does it by His caring attitude. Regardless of where we might be on the journey of life; regardless of what challenges we are facing; regardless of the troubles we are in; He IS always by our side caring for our needs.
In the words of our text, we meet Jesus with His disciples and a huge crowd following Him to an isolated place. In a desolate place Christ shows again that He cares for all people’s needs. In this place, even isolated place, He provides food for the hungry. As the faithful Shepherd who cares for His flock, Jesus performs a miracle—a miracle that is sufficient to satisfy everyone’s hunger. PAUSE.
While Paris, TN may claim to have the US’s largest fish fry or Hamburg, NY may have the Guiness People to prove it, neither is correct. Jesus does them far better there remains 12 baskets left over! Jesus by the Sea of Galilee provides the greatest Fish Fry Banquet ever. He doesn’t have any helpers to bring the fish in. He doesn’t have any advertisement going out. He doesn’t have any cooks preparing the batter and heating the oil. But with eyes lifted heaven-ward and hands open in thanksgiving. Jesus takes the two fish and five loaves of bread and blesses them and He feeds over 15, 000 people. Now that is the Greatest Fish Fry Banquet Ever.
There by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus demonstrates that He is the faithful Good Shepherd who provides for His flock the necessary food and rest. With this miracle, Jesus shows His love to all people and their needs. The Apostle Paul in Philippians wrote these words: “And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). Yes. MY GOD WILL MEET ALL OF YOUR NEEDS IN CHRIST JESUS.
In Jesus Christ, through Jesus Christ and on account of Christ all of our needs both physical and spiritual are met. Jesus the compassionate and caring Good Shepherd does what is necessary to satisfy our needs. Please notice it is not our wants, but our needs. That Day, Jesus fed the hungry crowd and all were satisfied. All of those who followed Him were content that day.
And so it is today. Anyone who follows the Savior and worships Him will be satisfied because Christ will meet their needs. We see this need met on the cross of Calvary. There on the cross, we see Jesus meeting our greatest need—the removal of our sins. On the cross we see the blood—that holy innocent blood washing away our stains of sins and removing the barrier that separated us from our Awesome and loving God. By the empty tomb, Jesus breaks the walls and opens the gates of heaven for us.
Today, right in this place we see this need being met for our newest member in the family of faith—Gabriel Brandon Brosz had his needs met—with the splash of the water on his forehead, with the Word spoken over him, with the sign made on his heart and head—he became a saint, a child of God and received forgiveness for his sins and has his name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. PAUSE.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus doesn’t NOT only meet the needs of the people, but He exceeds our greatest need. He is a bigger God than you and I give Him credit for. Many times we limit the power of God. We limit what He can do in our lives. Sometimes we don’t cry out to Him to fulfill what we need. Only after all else fails, then we cry out to Him.
But if there is one thing that we are taught today through St. Mark, is that Jesus knows our needs before we ask them. He has come to meet all of our needs physical and spiritual. As He spoke to the disciples saying “You feed them!” He speaks to us also “You feed them!” We are startled and taken aback at His words. You want me to feed them? We look at our check books, our cupboard and our calendar. And we cry out IMPOSSIBLE. But Jesus responds, “You bring them, I feed, you catch them, I will clean them!”
Jesus challenges us to have His compassion for the lost. To do what we can to meet their needs. Are we caring enough for the lost? Do we invite them to come and grow and be fed with us in the faith? Most of us we don’t. We have an uncaring attitude towards the lost, but this is not what the Savior asks of us. He wants us to be involved in the lives of others.
Why? Because there is not a need that He can’t meet. Are you having marital problems, then cry out to Him? Are you having financial crisis, then call upon Him? Are you having physical calamity, then ask Him? Are you hungry for spiritual feeding, then know that He provides you with what you need. Whatever your need maybe be, be assured that He will satisfy this need by His grace alone.
The faithful Good Shepherd still hears the cries of His people. The faithful Savior, continues to provide us with what we need for the journey of life—He does it even here in this place. Here He offers us forgiveness for our sins. Here He shares His Word spoken from the lectern and the pulpit and here on His altar He feeds us His body and blood so that we might be satisfied not only for a day, but forever.
Saints in Christ, there are many places around the country that have a Fish Fry Day. But there is none as good and great as the Greatest Fish Fry Banquet ever that Jesus has provided and still provides for all people even today. Join me then in thanking Him for being the faithful Shepherd who exceeds all of our need by being our faithful Shepherd and Savior, Amen.
Now the peace…