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Sunday 21st January 2018 11:00
Sung Eucharist for the Third Sunday of Epiphany
Celebrant and Preacher: Rev'd Nathanial

Sunday 28th January 2018 11:00
Sung Eucharist for the Fourth Sunday of Epiphany
Celebrant: Rev'd Nathanial
Preacher: Jack Noonan

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6th August 2017 – Eighth Sunday After Trinity – Rev’d Nathanial

The feeding of the 5,000 is one of my favourite Bible stories. I believe it is very familiar record to most of us. Apart from the resurrection, which in itself is a miracle, this is the only miracle recorded in all four Gospels. It is wonderful and, certainly, of surpassing importance.

Feeding 5,000 people with just five loaves and two fish is extraordinary in itself. If we read Matthew 14:21, 5,000 is only male count. The women and children present were not included in this count. Many Bible scholars believe the actual number fed that day could have been between 15,000 to 20,000 people. Don’t you think it is -Absolutely amazing!

It is important to note the setting for this miracle. Jesus and the disciples had been ministering to the crowds all day. It was getting late, and they were in a remote place. Knowing the people needed food and places to stay for the night, the disciples wanted Jesus to send them home.
But.. Jesus had a different plan – a plan that was based on what most people would consider absurd – five loaves of bread and two fish. Can you imagine what the disciples would have thought after hearing Jesus’ plans? They had seen Jesus perform miracles and his works full of wonder, but feeding thousands of people with five loaves of bread and two fish was unbelievable in their terms.

Jesus asked the disciples to bring Him the bread and fish. He then gave thanks, broke the bread, and gave it to His disciples to hand out to the people. The entire crowd was fed with the lunch of a young boy … and there were leftovers!
It is for us to learn the truth that God has the power to bless – everything we are and everything we have when we place them in His hands – our talents, dreams, hopes, resources, even our mistakes and our pain

God will take them all and transform them into a trophy of His grace and power. As the old gospel song says, “Little is much when God is in it.”
A rod in my hands might keep away a wild animal. A rod in the hands of Moses will part the mighty sea..
A slingshot in my hands is a kid’s toy. A slingshot in David’s hand is a mighty weapon.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands is a couple of fish sandwiches. Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in God’s hands will feed thousands. It depends on whose hands it’s in.

God loves to use the ordinary to create the extraordinary. God wants to do just that in our life, we need to place ourselves in His hands.

That leads to the second point; using what we have to bring people to the saving grace of God.

In verse 16 Jesus said to them, ‘They need not go away; you give them something to eat.’ The disciples were astounded and embarrassed because they did not have the means to meet such a request. No one could feed such a vast multitude!
Two things are happening at once in this story. First, Jesus wants his men to realize that without him they can do nothing.
They might have realized their own inadequacy. That is why they needed Jesus? We only need a miracle when we can’t do it ourselves. 

Some of us may be in a situation where we know that there we are unable to find the solution of the problem on our own -it may be a health problem; a serious marital or family problem, a financial problem or a desperate need for work. It may be a personal problem, such as loneliness, guilt, anger, bitterness, or anxiety. It could be some life-dominating sin, such as alcohol, drugs, pornography, or gambling. Whatever the problem may be, Jesus has a solution!
In Genesis 32, Jacob faced that kind of crisis. He was returning to Canaan in obedience to God, but that meant he would have to face his brother, Esau, whom he had cheated 20 years before. Jacob didn’t know how Esau would receive him. When Jacob’s messengers came back and said that Esau was coming to meet him with 400 men, Jacob froze with fear. Esau could easily wipe out everything that was of value to Jacob, including Jacob! And so he prayed, “Oh, God, deliver me from Esau!” (32:9‑12).
There are times in life when only a miracle can save; disciples in this story and Jacob in the Old Testament did not have any solutions to their problems. If you’re in a situation that needs a miracle, give God room to work through ways you never imagined or dreamed. Sometimes the miracle is not what we expect, but God knows what we need!

Third, by saying “you give them something to eat”.
Jesus wanted His disciples to have compassion and love for the people.
God calls us to show our love and gratitude for Him in our good works of hospitality, compassion, and care. We have been called to care for others just as our Lord did. We are called to care by reaching out to the homeless, the hungry and to the heart broken. Our Lord Jesus, who is our role model exemplified it in the way He responded to such people.
I am talking about the people we work with – our neighbours, our friends, our relatives – children and elderly. Do we really care about them and do we really care that they don’t know Jesus Christ?
Paul says, in Romans 9: 2 “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart, for I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race.” Look at the words Paul uses, “I have great sorrow, unceasing anguish.” He adds, “I would even be willing to be cut off from Christ if it would mean that they would be saved.”
Do we really care about lost people? As we are in Christ and Christ is in us do we really have a burden for lost people. Do you see what Paul said at the very beginning in verse 1? He said, “I speak the truth in Christ” That’s the key. Paul was in Christ and Christ was in Paul, and the more we are in Christ and the more Christ is in us, the more we will be concerned about people who don’t know Jesus because Jesus was concerned about people who didn’t have a relationship with God. In Luke 19:10, Jesus said, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” The more we are full of Jesus and the more we are full of the love of Jesus, the more we’ll be concerned about people who are without Christ. The more we are full of ourselves and selfishness, the less we will be concerned.
In conclusion I would like to encourage you to think about the “five loaves and two fish.” We need to make a list of our talents, our gifts, our resources and everything God has given us and surrender it all to Him and ask Him to transform the ordinary in our life to the extraordinary.
Without Jesus’ active involvement, all our plans are doomed to fail. Until we see that our human resources are bound to fail, we will depend on our money, our organization, our staff, and our connections to make things happen. But when we at long last come to the end of our hoarded resources and cry out, “Lord, this is impossible. Help me!” all heaven comes to our aid. Jesus is always more than enough for those who dare to trust in him. What are we willing to do so others can know Christ?