The Fourth Sunday in Lent 2016

Bible Text: John 6:1-15 | Preacher: Rev. Mark Buetow | Series: 2016

Jesus asked Philip where to get food in order to test him because He already knew what He was going to do. He already knew what He was going to do. I wish I did. About this call, for one thing. But about lots of things. I wish I knew how I was going to raise my kids before I raised them. I wish I knew how I was going to handle every situation as a pastor before I had to handle it. I wish I knew ahead of time how everything is going to work out. But notice what St. John writes. Jesus did it to test Philip because HE already knew what He was going to do. Philip, I suppose fails the test. 200 denarii is nowhere near enough! Andrew tries. But what are five barley loaves and two fishes for so many people? But guess what? That doesn’t change that Jesus knows what He’s going to do. I don’t know how the Lord is going to work things out. Not for Bethel. Not for Zion. Not for you each and every day. But we know this: He already knows what He’s going to do. But the idea that Jesus already knew what He was going to do isn’t just right now, with 5,000 hungry people. Jesus knows He’s going to Jerusalem. He knows He’s going to suffer and die. He knows He’s going to be the Lamb sacrificed for the Passover. He knows He’s going to His suffering and death. He knows that He is about to give His flesh as the bread of life for the life of the world.

Let’s face it. Uncertainty is a fact of life. Our worrying about it, however, our getting worked up over what we can’t control, our refusal to trust that the Lord has got it covered–that’s our sinfulness. There’s our need for repentance. We ought to abandon our worry and trust in the Lord who already knew what He would do. When Jesus fed the 5,000, He already knew that He would. He already knew that the Passover was near and that He was on the way to Jerusalem. He already knew what was going to happen to Him there. We heard that, right? Ahead of time: mocked, beaten, insulted, spit upon, scourged, crucified and rise the third day. But the Lord knew that was coming long before He became man. He already knew, as He spoke it through the prophets of the Old Testament. He already knew when He was laying manna out for the people to eat. He already knew when He told Adam and Eve there would be a Savior. He already knew before He made the heavens and the earth! Wrap your mind around that, if you can! He already knew! Not enough food won’t stop Him from feeding these people. And faithlessness and doubt dont’ stop Him from doing what He came to do and saving us from our sins and triumphing over death. For all time, He knew what He would do: die and rise to save you.

But now that Jesus has DONE all that, does He still know what He’s going to do? Absolutely. Because Jesus doing what He knew He would do and His having done what needed to be done will never stop Him from continuing to do what He does for you. That’s what your baptism means. It’s the promise that He knows what He’s doing. Forgiving your sins. He’ll always absolve you. Your sins can’t scare Him. Jesus has died and risen. He’ll always feed you with His body and blood and raise you up on the Last Day. I don’t know what the Lord has in store for Bethel or Zion. I do know that HE already knows what He’s going to do. And it’s exactly what I just said: The Lord is going to keep forgiving sinners here. And there. And in His whole church wherever it is and whoever the pastor is. Because, in the end, it wasn’t Philip or Andrew who fed the 5,000. It was Jesus and they and the other apostles just distributed the food. And the big deal is never the fish sandwiches anyway. It’s that Jesus Himself is the Bread of Life, whose flesh gives us the forgiveness of sins and does what He knows He will do: raise you up on the Last Day. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.