Sermon Transcript – Nourished in the Wilderness

Series A – Ninth Sunday after Pentecost – Sunday, August 2, 2020 | Pr. Chris Rosebrough

Welcome to the Teaching Ministry of Kongsvinger Lutheran Church. Kongsvinger is a beacon for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is located on the plains of Northwestern Minnesota.
We proclaim Christ and Him crucified for our sins and salvation by grace through faith alone, and now, here’s a message from Pastor Chris Rosebrough:
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0:28the holy gospel according to saint matthew the 14th chapter glory to you o lord
0:35now when jesus heard about the death of john he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself
0:41but when the crowds heard it they followed him on foot from the towns when he went ashore he saw a great crowd
0:47and he had compassion on them and healed their sick now when it was evening the disciples came to him and said this is a desolate
0:54place and the day is now over send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves but
1:00jesus said they need not go away you give them something to eat they said to him we have only five loaves here with two fish
1:06and he said bring them here to me and he ordered the crows to sit down on the grass and taking the five loaves and the
1:12two fish he looked up to heaven and he set a blessing then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples
1:17and the disciples gave them to the crowds and they all ate and they were satisfied
1:23and they took up the twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over and those who ate were about five thousand men
1:29besides women and children this is the gospel of the lord
1:35in the name of jesus now every time this text comes around i always like to point
1:41out i’ve heard some pretty awful sermons on this text uh and you know before you feel bad for
1:46me note that uh i listen to those bad sermons voluntarily so you know it’s
1:51it’s not like somebody was out there waterboarding me i actually purposely listened to those sermons and
1:57over and again i’m i’m i’m shocked by just how bad the sermons go because
2:02if you listen to our gospel text today could you point to me what exactly was the application
2:09what was the thing that you’re supposed to do while hearing this text about jesus feeding
2:15the five thousand and you also know this is a pinnacle pinnacle miracle in the gospels and the
2:22reason why is because aside from the resurrection of jesus this is the only miracle that shows up
2:30in all four gospels this is the only one and boy is this really really important
2:35and so bad sermons along these lines kind of go like the liberals they always turn this into a story about
2:41the importance of sharing because in the gospel of john chapter 6 we learn that it was a little
2:47boy who gave his lunch to one of the disciples the five loaves and the two fish and
2:53apparently how the story goes at least the way they tell the story since they don’t believe that miracles
2:58are possible i don’t know what religion that is by the way that’s not christianity
3:03because if miracles aren’t possible then not even christ is risen from the dead and if the jesus you believe in hasn’t
3:10risen from the dead that ain’t jesus that’s a different jesus altogether jesus of your own
3:16making and if the jesus you believe in wasn’t born of the virgin mary and yes virgin births
3:22are miraculous then who is this jesus that you claim to believe in
3:28because the biblical jesus the one that is was born of the virgin mary he suffered under pontius pilate he was
3:34crucified died and was buried as we just confessed and he rose again from the grave on the
3:40third day in accordance with the scriptures that’s what we confess if that’s not the
3:45jesus you believe in maybe you believe in somebody you’re mispronouncing his name
3:51you know maybe you should see saying you believe in jesus because every jesus i know was never
3:58born of a virgin and after they die they stay dead keep that in mind
4:03so the liberals what they do with this is that they claim that everybody was there on that grassy
4:09west wilderness area and they all brought coolers with them and everybody was afraid to
4:17open up their coolers unless they would have to share with other people and so here’s this little
4:22boy he shares his lunch when jesus asks you know about feeding the people there
4:28and how hungry they were and as the story goes the little fellow basically says mr jesus i have a lunch i can share it with
4:35everybody and what ended up happening is that everybody was so shamed by the generosity of this children that
4:41everybody pulled out their coolers and everybody shared their food and there was leftovers
4:46that’s not what this text is about at all in fact that’s a completely alternate reading of this text
4:51one that has no basis in the eyewitness accounts and then you think about well the
4:57televangelists how do they handle this text oh it’s real simple you see this is a story about how you must first
5:04give before you can get anything from god so you better make sure that you’re
5:09tithing oh and make sure it’s ten percent that’s the minimum requirement
5:14off the gross not the net and you see god can’t multiply your seed unless you give
5:21your seed so this is a text about tithing this isn’t about that either and that’s
5:28not why this miracle appears four times in the scriptures
5:33let me just read out the beginning of it jesus when he heard this he heard about the death of john the baptist he
5:39withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself where is jesus
5:44a desolate place well he’s in a wilderness area an undeveloped
5:49section of his country crowds heard it though they followed him
5:55on foot from towns and we learn at the end of this text that the crowd the crowd that followed
6:02jesus out into the wilderness was five thousand men strong and this doesn’t even count the women
6:08and children how big was this crowd well if every man had a
6:13wife and these are the days before there was birth control
6:19and every wife had children this crowd could easily have been 20
6:2625 000 strong that’s how big this group is and they’re out in a desolate place i
6:33seem to remember from the old testament there’s something about a large group of jews
6:39in the middle of the wilderness who are being fed miraculously i seem to remember something about that
6:47and see that’s kind of the point is that when you read the gospel of john chapter 6
6:52after this miracle what did they do they wanted to make jesus king by force
6:58they were going to have a compulsory coronation service for jesus to make him
7:03the king of israel because they realized with this miracle who he was and that’s the point of this
7:11miracle who he is but not only who he is but what he is doing not only for the
7:17jews of the old testament during the time of the exodus this group of jews in the wilderness of
7:23judea at the time the miracle was performed but also we who are grafted into israel i
7:31chose to read the long the long version of our epistle text today and that was
7:37very strategic on my part there was a reason for it here again the longer part of our epistle text the
7:43assignment for today we heard in this text in romans 9
7:50that not everybody who is genetically israel is
7:57israel him talking paul talking about the people who are related to him
8:03ancestrally he talking about the jews who do not believe that jesus is the messiah
8:10he says that his conscience bears him witness that i have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart for them
8:16for i could wish that i myself were a curse and i was cut off from christ for the sake of my brothers
8:22my kinsmen according to the flesh they are israelites to them belong the adoption the glory
8:28the covenants the giving of the law the worship the promises to them belong the patriarchs and from
8:33their race according to the flesh is the christ or the messiah who is god
8:38over all blessed forever notice who paul says the messiah is there in verse 5
8:44that he is god overall and that’s kind of the point here but then lo that’s what he says but it’s
8:50not as though the word of god has failed not all who are descended from israel belong to israel not all
8:57are children of abraham because they are his offspring but it is through isaac shall your
9:03offspring be named this is what the scriptures teach this means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of god
9:10it is the children of the promise who are counted as offspring let that sink in
9:17i always like to note the fact that kung’s of inger lutheran church here in oslo minnesota don’t you know
9:23it was originally founded by norwegian immigrants
9:28and norwegians are not exactly known for being jewish but you’re going to note here whether
9:35you’re norwegian polish irish whether you’re welsh scottish it doesn’t matter what
9:42your ancestry is the scriptures are clear that everyone
9:49who trusts in jesus christ for the forgiveness of their sins they have been grafted into israel
9:58i loved several years ago when i preached on this topic mentioned that fact mike
10:05mikey degraw after making that point he blurted out in the service mazel tov
10:12it was actually quite appropriate i think amen would have been a little better but you kind of get the point you know mazel tov we have all been
10:20grafted into israel and so keep that in mind as we take a look and kind of connect
10:26all of the dots regarding this particular imagery of god who miraculously feeds
10:33jews israelites in the wilderness because if you don’t yet see yourself as
10:39an israelite you do not yet embrace this reality you have been grafted into israel
10:45so consider then that in the old testament this picture shows up in exodus chapter 16.
10:53the children of israel in exodus chapter 16 the 10 plagues have already taken place the children of israel have
10:59marched out defiantly against egypt and pharaoh has pursued them and
11:05pharaoh’s army has been drowned in the red sea and we learn from the new
11:11testament that that was considered their baptism baptism into the red sea
11:18hmm i seem to recall each and every one of us being baptized into the red sea as well you
11:25see the imagery is all the same and it’s important that we see ourselves connected to this because we are not
11:31disconnected from it so in exodus 16 the children of israel have crossed the red sea
11:37they’ve spent just a wee bit of time in the oasis of elim which is just on the other
11:43side of the gulf of aqaba in saudi arabia it’s there to this day and it says this they set out from elim
11:50and all the congregation of the people of israel came to the wilderness of sin man that’s great in english man because
11:57it’s like if you want to talk about the imagery of where we find ourselves today are we not wandering through the wilderness of sin
12:03right now i know that’s not exactly how the hebrew works here but it works in english so give me a little bit of
12:10liberty because you’ll know a wilderness is not a good place to build a house a permanent dwelling to
12:16plant a farm or a vineyard or an olive orchard wildernesses are places that you
12:21pass through there’s reasons why cities grow in the places that they grow because
12:28that’s a good place to build things not so much in wildernesses or deserty regions you know those are
12:35always places that you drive through or you fly over but that’s the point children of israel are in a wilderness
12:41place it’s not a permanent place that they’re going there they’re heading somewhere permanent and that’s the promised land so they
12:48came to the wilderness of sin which is in between elim and sinai and on the 15th day of the second month
12:56after they had departed from the land of egypt the whole congregation of the people of israel
13:02grumbled against moses and we know based upon the fact this is two and a half months
13:07later that it’s really nice and warm and toasty where they’re at because
13:14we’ve now gotten far into spring maybe the early months of summer and they’re hungry and they began to
13:21grumble the people of israel said to them oh wood that we had died by the hand of yahweh in the land of egypt
13:27when we sat by the meat pots and ate the bread to the full this is a weird recollection a recollection of slavery
13:34it wasn’t really ever that good it was always bad anyway for you’ve brought us out into this wilderness to kill the
13:41whole assembly with hunger but then yahweh said to moses behold i’m about to rain bread from heaven
13:47for you and note the words bread from heaven where’s this bread coming
13:54from heaven i’m gonna rain bread from heaven for you and the people shall go out and
14:01gather a day’s portion every day that i may test them whether they will walk in my law
14:06or not and on the sixth day when they prepare what they bring in it will be twice as much as they gather
14:12daily so moses and aaron said to the people of israel at evening you shall know that it was yahweh who brought you
14:18out of the land of egypt and in the morning you shall see the glory of yahweh because he has heard your grumbling against
14:24yahweh for what are we that you grumble against us so moses said when yahweh gives you in
14:29the evening meet to eat in the morning bread to the full because yahweh has heard your grumbling that you grumble against
14:35him what are we your grumbling is not against us it’s against yahweh so then moses said
14:40to aaron say to the whole congregation of the people of israel come
14:46near before yahweh for he has heard your grumbling and as soon as aaron spoke to the whole
14:51congregation of the people of israel they looked toward the wilderness and behold the glory of the lord appeared in the cloud
14:57and you’ll note that moses had said that they would see the glory of god in the morning which means that there was a glory yet
15:03that was coming this glory of this glorious appearing of the lord in the cloud is not the glory that moses
15:09said that they would see in the morning it’s different so keep that in mind so the lord said to
15:15moses i’ve heard the grumbling of the people of israel say to them at twilight you shall eat meat in the morning you should be filled with bread
15:21and then you shall know that i am yahweh your god. so in the evening quail came up and covered the camp and in the morning do
15:28lay around the camp and when the dew had gone up there was on the face of the wilderness
15:33a fine flake-like thing fine as frost on the ground and when the
15:39people of israel saw it they said to one another what is it in hebrew manha
15:46what is it what is it and i would note here i always like to point out that this is clearly a reference to the lord’s supper
15:54and this is due to the fact of what christ does in john chapter 6. so if i were to open this up coven 19
16:00i’m not going to do that right now but if i were to open this up and point to one of our communion wafers and i held
16:06it up and i asked the question in hebrew man what is it what does the scripture tell
16:14us it is once it’s consecrated it’s the body and blood of christ so
16:22note then this miracle points us points us to the lord’s supper so here’s
16:30the children of israel they’re woken up there’s the stuff on the ground they’re asking men huh what is this they did not know what it was moses said
16:37to them it is the bread that the lord yahweh has given you to eat this is what yahweh has commanded it
16:43gather of it each one of you as much as he can and you shall take an omer according to the
16:48number of persons that each of you has in his tent the people of israel did so they gathered some more some
16:54less but when they measured it with an omer whoever gathered much had nothing left over whoever gathered little had no
16:59lack each of them gathered as much as he could and then moses said to them let no
17:05one leave any of it over till the morning but they did not listen to moses but what happened here
17:11god gave them bread from heaven consider then what christ says in this
17:17regard in the gospel of john chapter 6 we have one of the clear cross references to the miracle
17:25that we just read about in matthew chapter 14. and it’s in
17:31this text john 6 where jesus says to those who wanted to make him king by
17:36force they had requested that christ give them the bread of heaven
17:43in fact in that text jesus answered them the work of god is that you believe in him who he has sent they asked jesus
17:50what must we be doing to do the works of god and that’s plural jesus said the work of
17:55god is to believe in the one whom he has sent so they asked him and said what sign then do you do that we
18:01may see and believe you what work do you perform our fathers ate manna in the wilderness
18:07as it is written he gave them bread from heaven to eat and then jesus said to them amen amen
18:13truly i say to you it was not moses who gave you the bread from heaven it was my father who gives you the true
18:19bread from heaven for the bread of god is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the
18:25world listen to those words again the bread of god is he who comes down from heaven and gives
18:31life to the world and they said to him sir give us this bread always jesus said i am the bread
18:39of life whoever comes to me shall not hunger whoever believes in me shall
18:45never thirst i said that to you that you have seen me and yet you do not believe
18:52and here’s what happens in verse 41 jesus talking about himself being the bread from heaven the jews grumbled
18:58about him because he said i am the bread that came down from heaven
19:03you’ll note the manna of the old testament points to its fulfillment in christ the
19:10bread from heaven so they said is this not jesus the son of joseph whose father and mother we know how does he now say i
19:16have come down from heaven jesus answered them do not grumble among yourselves no one can come to me unless
19:21the father who sent me draws him i will raise him up on the last day it is written in the prophets and they will
19:27all be taught by god everyone who has heard and learned from the father comes to me not that anyone has seen the father
19:33except he who is from god he has seen the father so truly truly i say to you whoever believes has eternal life
19:42i am the bread of life your fathers ate the manna in the
19:48wilderness and they died so this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat of it
19:54and not die i am the living bread that came down from heaven
20:00if anyone eats of this bread he will live forever i
20:06am the bread that will give life give for the life of the world
20:11is my own flesh well that didn’t sit so well with the
20:18jews who listened to him on that day so the jews disputed among themselves saying
20:25how can this man give us his flesh to eat and notice what jesus doesn’t do he doesn’t sit there and go whoa whoa
20:31whoa slow down there guys i didn’t mean for you to actually eat my flesh i was just talking in symbols here
20:38you know come on let’s be reasonable that’s not what he said listen to what he said
20:43truly truly i say to you unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood you have no life in you whoever feeds on
20:51my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and i will raise him up on the last day
20:57my flesh is true food my blood is true drink whoever feeds on my flesh and
21:03drinks my blood abides in me and i in him
21:09how many bad sermons have you heard about the importance of abiding in christ you never really quite understand how
21:15you go about doing that you need to be abiding in christ have
21:20you made the decision to be intentional about your abiding in christ
21:26well we all know what that means give up your booze get rid of your cigarettes stop your
21:31dancing get rid of all of your movies that are rated pg 13 or above
21:37and only listen to wholesome music this is what it means to abide in jesus
21:44but that’s not what the text says
21:50whoever feeds on my flesh jesus says and drinks my blood
21:55abides in me and i in him
22:02as the living father sent me i live because of the father so whoever feeds on me he will also live because of me
22:12man this is a tough saying this is this and this is this is really really hard and then jesus like triples down
22:19this is the bread that came down from heaven not like the bread the father’s ate and died whoever feeds on this bread will live forever and the text goes on to say
22:26then in john 6 when many of these disciples heard this they said this is a hard saying who can
22:32listen to it and they didn’t follow jesus any
22:38more this isn’t what we signed up for so jesus knowing this he turns to his
22:44disciples he says do you take offense at this well then if you were to see the son of man ascending to where he was before it
22:49is the spirit who gives life the flesh is no help at all the words that i have spoken to you are spirit and life but there are some of
22:55you who do not believe after this many of the disciples turned back they no longer walked after jesus
23:01so jesus said to the twelve do you want to go away as well simon peter said lord to whom shall we
23:07go you have the words of eternal life and we have believed and have come to know that you are the holy one of god
23:15so you know there’s a lot going on in this miracle it’s not a mistake that it shows up in our all four gospels
23:20but then how then does it relate to us well it relates to us in a very fascinating passage
23:27in the book of revelation chapter 12. in the book of revelation chapter 12 you
23:32have an interesting picture of a woman clothed with the sun the moon under her feet
23:38and on her head a crown of twelve stars this isn’t the virgin mary and the reason why we know it’s not the
23:44virgin mary is because this woman is there for the birth of our savior and
23:50is there after his ascension and it says something very interesting about her so listen carefully to what
23:56the text says she was pregnant and crying out in birth pains in agony of giving birth and you’ll note what this is an image of
24:04is the church and the churches existed long before the day of pentecost remember what paul
24:10said not everyone who is descended from israel is israel
24:16it is those who have the same faith as abraham who are true israelites and so those in
24:22the old testament prior to the coming of our savior who believed and trusted in the one who
24:28was to come who had the same faith as the faith of abraham and the same faith in whom abraham had
24:34faith in they comprised if you would the church of the old testament
24:39and it’s this church that gave birth to the messiah and it says this she was crying out in
24:46birth pains the agony of giving birth another sign appeared in heaven a great dragon
24:51read seven heads ten horns and on his head seven diadems his tail swept down the third of the
24:57stars of heaven and cast them to earth this is a picture of the devil and the third of the stars swept out of the
25:02heavens were the angels that joined him in his rebellion against god the dragon stood before the woman who
25:08was about to give birth so that when she bore her child he might devour it and she gave birth to a male child who
25:15is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron but her child was caught up to god and to
25:20his throne and the woman then fled into the wilderness where she has a place prepared by god in
25:28which she is to be nourished for 1260 days
25:34the woman is the church her offspring you and i are the church and where are
25:40we right now situational awareness very important thing for survival on a battlefield
25:46where are we right now welcome to the wilderness of oslo
25:52for those of you joining us from around the world the wilderness of wherever you are this world is the wilderness
25:59christ’s church is still being nourished to this day and you’ll note god himself sent bread
26:07from heaven to feed his children to feed the israelites in the wilderness jesus then shows that he is that god
26:15by miraculously feeding a multitude of jews in the wilderness of judea and
26:22now christ assures us that he is caring for us
26:28nurturing us in our wilderness wanderings as we are heading heading to the real promised land not a
26:35postage stamp piece of property in the middle east but the new heavens and the new earth so
26:40then consider then jesus’s this text from matthew 14 in that regard
26:46jesus he withdrew from there to a desolate place crowds followed him on foot he went ashore and he saw a great
26:52crowd and he had compassion on them that’s what the text says i love this in contradistinction to what we read in
26:58exodus 16 because in exodus 16 god acts not because
27:04he had compassion on people he had he acted because they were grumbling
27:10but here this crowd is following after jesus and his guts are wrenched he has compassion
27:18on them and he heals their sicks and he feeds and nourishes them miraculously in
27:24the wilderness and brothers and sisters note this that jesus christ our great god and savior he
27:30has had compassion on you and he’s had compassion on me
27:35in the red sea of our baptism he has washed away the filth of our sin because each and every one of us come
27:42dead and filthy and he has made us alive in him and not only that as the bride of christ christ
27:50cares for his bride and he feeds and he nurtures and he protects her
27:56in the wilderness the same way that he does has done in the past and so christ
28:02nurtures us he feeds us he protects us he’s had compassion on us but even better than that we like the
28:09israelites of exodus 16 are grumblers we are malcontents we are constantly
28:16straying and sinning and grieving god but god rather than giving us what we deserve
28:22has sent his only begotten son so that our sins could be atoned for
28:28so that we can be pardoned so that we can be forgiven so that we can be cared for as sheep
28:36so that we can be led to pastures the pastures in the green grass of the new earth
28:42so the disciples said this is a desolate place the day’s over send the crowds away and jesus said you feed them and they
28:50only had five loaves and two fish and so he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass taking the five loaves and
28:56the two fish he looked up to heaven and he said a blessing he gave thanks he broke the loaves
29:01he broke the loaves yeah i seem to think it reminds me of what we say
29:06when we have the lord’s supper he broke the loaves and he set a blessing gave him to the disciples and the
29:12disciples gave them to the crowd and all ate and were satisfied so
29:17brothers and sisters what is the application of all of this well it’s the imagery that we saw in
29:23isaiah come everyone who thirsts come to the waters and he who has no money come by and eat
29:31i assure you that there is no money in your pocket that you can give that would be able to pay for the gift
29:38that god gives you of salvation pardon grace eternal life even the nourishment that
29:46you receive as christians as we wander through the wilderness towards the new jerusalem
29:51so come and buy wine and milk without money and without price why do you spend your money for that
29:57which is not bread and labor for that which does not satisfy so listen diligently to god and eat what
30:04is good and delight yourselves and the rich food of the bread that comes down from heaven incline your ear to the words of
30:11the lord and come to him and hear so that your soul may live because your great god has had
30:17compassion on you and god will make with you and he has already made with you an everlasting covenant a
30:23covenant that he will not break a covenant where he has promised to forgive your sins
30:29and give you the kingdom as a gift
30:35it’s a lot in that miracle when you begin to unpack it so brothers and sisters believe
30:42the god who fed his children in the wilderness in exodus fed them in matthew 14.
30:50shows us in revelation 12 that we are being fed to this day behold your compassionate great god and
30:56savior who feeds you and nourishes you in your wilderness wanderings
31:01as you head towards the new Jerusalem all because of his great compassion in the name of Jesus
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