Sermon for Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost August 16, 2020
Text: Matthew 14:13-21 CW 3 Year – Series A 20:2208
Theme: Let’s Get Away with Jesus
Could this have been the way it happened? Years ago a boy set out to walk along the lake. It was early spring; the hills were covered with fresh green grass. He carried a lunch, 5 little loaves of barley bread and two salted fish to put on them. Was he out and about looking for fresh flowers for his mother? Was he out and about to enjoy a lovely spring day? We don’t know. But whatever he was looking for, he found something much better that day.
The lake was calm, filled with fresh snow melt from Mt. Hermon to the north. Here and there a fishing boat moved across the surface of the water. Other than that, there was little to disturb the quiet, for this was the eastern shore of the Lake of Galilee. The western shore was the busy and crowded side. On that side towns nestled at the water’s edge, fishermen sorted their catch, farmers brought their produce to market, and merchants sold goods from distant places. But the eastern shore was deserted, except for a village here or there. Not many people came to climb the hills which rose above the lake. Not a lot of rain fell to water the land. It was more desolate than the western shore.
Someone else was looking for quiet in a deserted place that spring morning. A small boat appeared in the distance. Instead of moving slowly from place to place like Jewish fishing boats did, it came directly towards shore. The boy saw nothing different about that boat except that 13 men were in it. He did not dream that he was about to meet his Savior face to face.
As he watched loud sounds distracted him, far louder than what was normally heard in this lonely spot. It was the clamor of many voices, hundreds of them, thousands. It grew louder and louder. Soon a crowd of people burst into view. By the time Jesus had stepped out of the boat and sat with His disciples, the hushed setting was no longer quiet. He had hoped to get away with His disciples, to get some rest and time to talk. They needed it.
You see, two things had just taken place. The disciples recently returned from their first missionary journey for Jesus. They were filled with excitement to tell Him all the good things that had happened and what they had been able to do (Mk.6:10.
The second matter was not so thrilling. Something terrible had
happened. King Herod beheaded John the Baptist. Some of these disciples had followed John at first, until John pointed them to Jesus as the Lamb of God whom they should follow. But they had first been close to John. Even the others who had not been around John understood that John was the one who was prophesied to go ahead of Christ to prepare His way (11:11f). This was tragic news, full of sadness and distress for these men and Jesus. Perhaps there was also fear and worry for their Master because Herod was alarmed when he heard of Jesus’ ministry. They had to get away with Jesus so they could talk about this and He could minister to their needs. So it was that when Jesus stepped out of the boat, He did not find the quiet spot He had hoped to find to be alone with them. A great crowd swarmed up the hill to Him.
Have you ever been so tired that you did not want to see anyone, so tired that you wanted to tell people, “Please, go away! I need some alone time”? Jesus was tired too. In fact, so many other people had pressed Him hard on the other side of the lake, that He didn’t have a chance to even sit down and eat with His 12 friends. “Come away with me by yourselves to a secluded place and rest awhile,” He told them (Mk.6:30f).
Oh, to get away alone with Jesus; what a delight that must be! Some of the greatest times that a person can have is by retreating to the Savior and have Him minister to your needs through His words. We think time at the beach is needed. We think time in the mountains is needed. We think time to shop the stores is needed. But the best time of rest you can have is to get away with Jesus in His Word. We need Him to overcome our fears; we need Him to reassure us that He is still in control and that all things must work out for good according to His loving design for us.
Isn’t that what the Epistle Lessons last Sunday and today promised when they said: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose….If God is for us, who can be against us?….Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword….No, in all these things we are more than conquerors….for nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ro.8:28ff).
Things will be okay. Nothing and no one can ever separate you from God’s love for you in Christ. The best time of rest that you can ever have is when you get away with Jesus. The disciples had
it. But the quiet didn’t last long for the crowd overwhelmed Him.
Under the circumstances, had that been you or I, we might have turned them away. Jesus does not turn people away. The Savior never says, “Go away!” to any who come to Him. He looked into the anxious and needy eyes of the crowd, and His heart went out to them. How could He rest, when they needed the eternal rest that only He could give them? So, He climbed the hill, sat on the grass, and began to teach them about the Kingdom of Heaven.
He talked to them about God and the forgiveness that they need most from Him. He talked to them about God’s divine help for them, sent in Him, the Savior. He talked about the need to repent of sin and the joy of finding their sins removed from God’s sight by what He would do. He taught them about heaven, about loving their neighbor, and then He showed them what that meant, welcoming the sick and distressed to come to Him for healing. This is what sinners receive when they go away with Jesus.
There were many sick people in the crowd that day. One by one they came to Jesus and He healed all. The blind saw again; the lame walked; the deaf heard; the lepers were made whol; those who suffered were made strong again at His word. It must have been a wondrous day, the day that the disciples and the crowd got to get away with Jesus. “Come to me and you will find rest,” He always said. They found it, rest from the sins that oppressed them; rest from the worries that distressed them; rest from the troubles that suppressed them. They found rest for their souls in Jesus. So do we.
Time passed. The sun rose overhead, then gradually began to sink into the west. The disciples who came with Jesus dared to approach Him: “This is a deserted place,” they said. “The hour is late. Send the people away so that they can go and find some food for themselves.” “No, you feed them,” Jesus replied. They stared at Him. “If we had 8 months-worth of wages,” they said, “that would not be enough money to feed all of them.” “What do you have?” Jesus asked. “There is a boy here with five little loaves of bread and two small fish. But what good is that among so many people.”
Jesus had the people sit down in groups, for He is a God of order. He said a table prayer of thanks to His heavenly Father. Then He began to break up the food, and before one knew it, there was enough food to go around to everyone, some 10,000 people. “Pick up the pieces that are left over,” Jesus said, “so that nothing is wasted. The disciples picked up enough to fill 12 baskets, one for each of them, one for each who could not come up with a way to feed so many people. Jesus could do it. Why didn’t they trust Him? Why are there times we don’t trust Him either? I wonder how the Twelve felt when each one wound up with a basketful.
This was, of course, a miracle. And a miracle of Jesus’ has the main purpose, every time, to show us who He is, the Son of God who has heavenly power and divine authority. But it’s not just the power we see here. It’s also the love and compassion of a Savior that reaches out to people in all their needs. He will never turn you away as you come to Him seeking His help. He may not always answer your problems the way You think He should, but He will always help you. Either He will take the problem away from you or He will give you His strength to get through it. In either case He is with you, and you are with Him – your Savior. So go to Him for the rest that only He provides.
Let’s get away with Jesus. God grant it in our lives of faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
You can also find us on facebook
The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost August 16, 2020
“He blessed them and broke the loaves….They all ate and were filled.” Mt.13:19-20
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
We extend a warm and sincere welcome in our Savior’s name. Please sign our guest book, located to the right just outside the sanctuary. If you desire more information about Zion Lutheran Church or are in need of spiritual guidance, please call upon our pastor at any time. We are delighted to have you join us today and invite you to return soon.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“As a doe pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God….Send out Your light and Your truth. Let them guide me.…Then I will praise You” (42-43).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Give Us This Day our Daily Bread. When we pray this petition in the Lord’s Prayer, what are we saying? Martin Luther explained it this way: “God surely gives daily bread without our asking, even to all the wicked. But we pray in this petition that he would lead us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving. What is meant by daily bread? Daily bread includes everything that we need for our bodily welfare.”
Everything for the body. But Jesus also said, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Food for the body, food for the soul – all that we need He provides. Christians depend on Him and are at rest for He will provide. Therefore we humbly and confidently pray: “Give us this day our daily bread.”
To that end we pray: O God, You reveal Your mighty power chiefly in showing mercy and kindness. Grant us the full measure of Your grace that we may obtain Your promises and become partakers of Your heavenly glory; through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
The Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 55:1-5
The Lord invites the hungry and thirsty soul to come to His banquet of salvation. With the spiritual food that He offers, one will find satisfaction. Such a one will go out to invite others to the table, which the Lord has prepared – first meant for Israel, now meant for us.
The Epistle Lesson: Romans 8:35-39
Christ’s love is evident in the way that He works out all things for the good of those who love Him. Although since the Fall into Sin, death stalks all people, even death cannot separate the believer from life in Christ. Indeed, nothing in all the world can separate us from His love!
The Gospel Lesson: Matthew 14:13-21
Jesus tried to get away with His disciples for a little rest and teaching time, but a crowd of people followed them. His compassion for them prevailed as He healed the sick, preached the Word, and fed over 5,000 of them. In all things He showed His authority as God’s Son, the Christ.
O u r P r a c t i c e o f H o l y C o m m u n i o n
Out of deep love for the truth of God’s Word and precious souls, we follow the practice of Close Communion in our congregation. This has been the practice of Christians for centuries and reflects the Bible’s teaching on unity of faith in the reception of the Supper (1 Cor.10:17). It does not judge a person’s heart but anticipates agreement in that which God says. Since we do not wish to put anyone in the position of declaring such agreement with us before study in the Word is possible, we ask that only those who are communicant members of this or another Wisconsin Synod or ELS congregation come to receive the Sacrament.
Today’s Organist: Jane Rips The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Point to Ponder: “A child once paraphrased today’s Epistle Lesson by saying, ‘If God is not for us, we are up against it!’…. God is against sin, especially the master sin of unbelief…. But the blessed truth is that God sent Jesus to die for our sin and accepts us as His children for Christ’s sake. Those whom God has declared just by faith cannot be condemned! Since God is for us, He blesses us with His gifts. He makes us more than conquerors in life’s conflicts. He keeps us safe in Him forever. It is a wonderful thing that God is for us!” -– Rudolph Norden on God Is For Us
Outline of Our Worship
Opening Hymn: #260
Order of Worship: Service of Word and Sacrament Hymnal page 26
The Ministry of the Word
Hymn Response: #419 st.1,6,7
The Gospel Response: pg.30
Sermon Hymn: #374
Sermon: Matthew 14:13-21 Let’s Get Away with Jesus.
Our Response to the Word
The Nicene Creed: page 31
Prayer & Lord’s Prayer: Hymnal page 32
The Lord Blesses Us
The Closing Hymn: #439
Because of rising health concerns in our community, we will celebrate Holy Communion after the close of the worship service today.
Communion Hymn: #616
Institution & Distribution
Close of Communion Service
The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost – Series A
Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 55:1-5 – The Compassion of the Lord
1 Ho, all of you who are thirsty, come to the water, even if you have no money! Come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
2Why do you spend money on something that is not bread? Why do you waste your labor on something that does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good. Satisfy your appetite with rich food.
3Turn your ear toward me, and come to me. Listen, so that you may continue to live. Yes, I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the faithful mercies promised to David.
4Look, I appointed him as a witness for peoples, a leader and commander of peoples.
5Look, you will call out to a nation you do not know, and a nation that does not know you will run to you, on account of the Lord your God, because of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.
Epistle Lesson: Romans 8:35-39 – Nothing Separates Us from God’s Love
35What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36Just as it is written:
For your sake we are being put to death all day long.
We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor rulers, neither things present nor things to come, nor powerful forces, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Gospel Lesson: Matthew 14:13-21 – Jesus Feeds Over Five Thousand
13When Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place to be alone. When the crowds heard this, they followed him on foot from the towns.
14When Jesus got out of the boat, he saw a large crowd. He had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15When evening came, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place and the hour is already late. Send the crowds away, so that they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”
16But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17They told him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.”
18“Bring them here to me,” he replied. 19Then he instructed the people to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and the two fish. After looking up to heaven, he blessed them. He broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples. The disciples gave the food to the people. 20They all ate and were filled. They picked up twelve basketfuls of what was left over from the broken pieces. 21Those who ate were about five thousand men, not even counting women and children.
The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2019 The Wartburg Project.
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Divine Worship Service
on line – Facebook
Holy Communion afterwards
Some weekly activities are still curtailed.
Midweek Bible Class
Divine Worship Service
on line – Facebook
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
Our Savior is a God of mercy and kindness. Our very existence is testimony to that fact. Daily He provides us with all that we need to keep our body and life. He also grants protection from all earthly dangers. In addition, our Savior provides us with spiritual blessings—food for the soul. In His Word we receive the good news of sins forgiven and free salvation.
The Epistle Lesson: Romans 8:35-39 (answers are found on the back side)
- Suffering might cause us to question God’s love. But in the end, what capability does any suffering have?
- What makes us more than conquerors?
- Name anything that isn’t covered in Paul’s list of agents that “cannot separate us from the love of God…”
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Dea Windsor; Barbara Long; Clyde & Sharon Johnson; Angela Meek; Roger & Liz Lisenby’s brother & sister-in-law and granddaughter Jackie; Dave Ballou, at home; Laurie Moon’s father; Greg Miller; Casey Milam & family; Felicia Nichols’ brother’s family and father with the virus; Bill Buchanan, recovering at home; Lois Wiese; the family of Chris Bruck whom the Lord took to Himself this past Thursday after a long battle with Covid; Megan and Zach Sloan, Greg and Barbara Cook’s daughter, whom the Lord blessed with the gift of a healthy child/grandchild on Friday, Maizey Sloan.
Daily Devotions If you would like a hard copy of pastor’s daily devotions for the week past, you will find a few on the credenza in the narthex. If you would like to receive them through text on your cell phone or by email, let him know.
Forward in Christ’s edition for August has arrived. Copies may be found in the narthex. Also, the next series of Meditations devotions starting the end of August will be found there.
Virus Restrictions Springfield/Greene County passed ordinances requiring face masks in public settings, especially when 6 feet distancing cannot be observed. We are following their request. There are masks, disposable gloves, and sanitizer in the narthex and the fellowship hall for your use should you want them. Please, watch your physical distancing in the service today, not only side to side but also front to back! Wearing a face mask during the service is totally acceptable. We are not passing the offering plate during the service, but it will be found at the door upon leaving.
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 10; Adult Bible Class & Sunday School: no classes at this time; The Gardens Bible Class: no class; Midweek Bible Class: 4; Offering: $1,710.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Pentecost 12 Series A: 1 Kings 19:9-18; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:22-33
Answers to Today’s Epistle Lesson Brief Study:
- While Paul indicates that suffering has been around for ages and is generally something we can’t escape, he also states boldly that none of it is capable of separating us from God’s love for us in Christ.
- Christ’s victory on the cross makes us conquerors as well.
- Paul’s list of agents ends with “nor anything else in all creation.” The only being uncreated is God himself, and it is he who worked and won our salvation. It is therefore reaffirmed that absolutely nothing can come between us and God’s love for us!
This week I am praying for……