Good Shepherd is the Bread of Life
Often in worship, we confess that Jesus Christ is the bread of life. We confess a lot of things in song, prayers, and liturgy but how often do we honestly believe them to be true? When times are tough like what the people of Israel faced in Jeremiah (Jeremiah 23:1-6), we find words of hope as God does not forget those who he has claimed. The power of his promise endures all things and at all times. When we wander and find ourselves in danger, it is because we have strayed from the Lord not because the Lord has driven us away. Like in the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve ate of the fruit and tried to hide from God, that is our tendency with God. In the midst of struggle we like to blame God, but at the same time, we want to cover up our shame, our sin. God still doesn't leave us, but he always provides a way for us. Paul reminds of this in the reading from Ephesians (2:11-22). Again, it is when we are wholly reliant on our own abilities we find ourselves in trouble, but when we turn to Christ, we find reconciliation. Laws do not save us, they can drive us into further into despair because in them there is no hope, but when we turn to Christ, we receive all we need. The faith that we hold is no longer in our ability, but in God's doing. So we come to one of the great miracles of God presented to us in Mark 6:30-44 in which we come to the five thousand men with women and children being fed. After all the long, arduous work Jesus leads the disciples away to a desolate place to get away and have some peace. The problem is that people see them in their boats and follow them meeting them at the desolate place. I am sure that the disciples were tired as was Jesus but the compassion was higher for the Lord for these people, so he does what he does and begins to teach them. Imagine the crowd. After some time the disciples urge him to send them off so they can get some food, but Jesus has other plans. He wants them to be fed. The number and the cost were overwhelming, so the disciples balk at this and question, Jesus. How often do we do this with God? Trying to say that something is impossible or too much for God to do with us. The great miracle is that with five loaves and two fish Jesus feeds all who are there, but God can not be stopped there. Not only are all fed and full, but twelve baskets full of the remaining were collected. God does not just provide, but he provides abundantly. That is the God we worship, and that is the God who saves. He never leaves us in the lurch but is ready to rescue us in times of need when we cry out to him. He didn't need to provide for the people in the desolate place, and he doesn't need to provide for me or anyone, but he does out his divine mercy and grace. That is the glorious God we worship! That is the blessing of our faith.