Preparing for Worship // May 21, 2017

Preparing for Worship // May 21, 2017

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The story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 is certainly one of the most famous stories in the Bible. Those who are raised in the church grow up hearing about this miracle that Jesus performs in order to provide food for an incredible number of people, and it’s often one of the first stories that new believers encounter. But what is less commonly known is that Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000 mirrors a similar miracle performed by the prophet Elisha in the Old Testament. In 2 Kings 4:42-44, Elisha feeds 100 people with twenty loaves of barley and some ears of grain. These two stories share several similarities: 1) the food is given to Elisha/Jesus, 2) Elisha/Jesus tells his servant/disciples to feed the people, 3) the servant/disciples respond by pointing out the impossibility of feeding such a large number with so little food, and 4) Elisha/Jesus multiplies the food so that everyone eats their fill with some left over. What’s the reason for this similarity? Why does Jesus copy 

What’s the reason for this similarity? Why does Jesus copy this miracle? Was He simply out of ideas for miracles to perform, so He decided to copy one of Elisha’s? By performing a similar miracle to Elisha, Jesus is showing the people that He is a prophet sent from God. Just as Elisha’s miracles showed that he was sent from God, Jesus’ miracles showed that he was sent from God. But it’s more than that.

In addition to the many similarities, there is one crucial difference. While Elisha fed 100 people with 20 loaves, Jesus fed 5,000 people with 5 loaves. That means that Elisha turned each loaf into enough for 5 people to eat and Jesus turned each loaf into enough for 1,000 people to eat. Jesus’ miracle is not just more impressive; it blows Elisha’s miracle out of the water. Jesus is not just a prophet from God; Jesus is THE prophet from God. Jesus is God in the flesh.

Jesus’ miracle is also greater than Elisha’s because it points to a deeper spiritual reality. Elisha fed mouths; Jesus feeds souls. Our greatest need is not physical food but the spiritual food that is found in Jesus. What we really need is forgiveness for our sins and the wickedness in our hearts. Only as we look to Jesus to feed us and trust Him to meet our deepest spiritual needs can the spiritual emptiness and brokenness, the sin, in our lives be healed. This spiritual food is for both believers and non-believers alike. We never grow out of our need for the sustenance and healing that Christ provides. Are you coming to Christ for food, or are you letting yourself go hungry? Come to Christ for nourishment and life.

THE WORD

Scripture: Matthew 14:13-36
Sermon: Empowered for Great Kingdom Works

SONGS

Lead On O King Eternal (Indelible Grace)
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Our God (Chris Tomlin)
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Jesus Calls Us  (Shane Martin)
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Song of Preparation: Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) (Hillsong United)
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Song for the Supper: The Feast (Karl Digerness)
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Song of Response: Take My Life (Chris Tomlin)
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