Posts Tagged ‘UMCOR’

Sermon 09-10-17: “Rise Against Hunger”

October 4, 2017

In today’s scripture, Jesus wants to feed approximately 15,000 people (5,000 men plus women and children). So he asks Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He’s asking him, John says, in order to “test him.” What was the test? To see whether his disciples believed that in Christ, they had enough. Do we present-day disciples believe that?

I preached this sermon on the Sunday in which our church, Hampton United Methodist, packaged over 10,000 meals for hungry people around the world.

Sermon Text: John 6:1-15

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Last month, a team of explorers from New Zealand was on an expedition in Antarctica. They were excavating 150 artifacts left behind by a team of British explorers back in 1911—106 years ago. One of the artifacts they found was a perfectly preserved fruitcake, still packaged in its original tin, made by a British biscuit company. The tin was badly rusted, but the fruitcake itself, according to scientists, was remarkably well-preserved. It is, they said, “almost edible.”

What does a 106-year-old fruitcake look like?

Would any of you be tempted to take a bite? And many of you are like, “I wouldn’t eat a fruitcake if it were brand new. I’m not going to eat one that’s 106 years old!” But the discovery does prove that there are at least two fruitcakes in the world… You’ve heard the joke: There’s just one fruitcake, and since no one likes it, it just gets re-gifted to one person after another.

Now consider, by contrast, a steaming-hot loaf of fresh-baked bread. It’s irresistible. Everyone forgets about their diet when there’s fresh warm bread around. Is there anything better—assuming you don’t have celiac disease! In today’s scripture, Jesus creates bread out of nothing—or almost nothing—five loaves and two small fish—in order to say to us, “As satisfying as warm, fresh baked bread is to hungry people, I am more satisfying to you than that.”

In a sermon on this same text, pastor John Piper said the following:

One of the reasons God created bread—or created the grain and the water and yeast and fire and human intelligence to make it…— is so that when Jesus Christ came into the world, he would be able to use the enjoyment of bread and the nourishment of bread as an illustration of what it means to believe on him and be satisfied with him. I believe that with all my heart. Bread exists to help us know what it is like to be satisfied in Jesus.[1]

He may be on to something. You won’t learn this in a high school physics class or biology class, but nothing, the Bible says, nothing exists for itself. Nothing in this universe is here accidentally. It’s all designed by God for a reason. Listen to Colossians 1:16: “For by him”—Jesus Christ—“all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible… all things were created through him and for him.” For him. Read the rest of this entry »