Lent 2 Midweek—4th Petition (Mt 26:30–56)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

What does [the Fourth Petition] mean? God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all evil people, but we pray in this petition that God 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 has to do with the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.

INI + AMEN.

Daily bread is a good gift from God. We confess th in the Apostles’ Creed: “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.” We pray for it in the Lord’s Prayer: “Give us this day our daily bread.” These 1st Article, 4th Petition gifts are truly gifts from your heavenly Father. You’re baptized, and you use your Baptism whenever you pray for daily bread and whenever you pray the Lord’s Prayer. And you also use your Baptism when you receive your daily bread “with thanksgiving”—in faith.

Faith receives daily bread as a gift. It realizes and receives it only as a gift, a “daily” gift. And your “daily bread,” the daily gift, “everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body” is temporary. It’s only “daily” not eternal. Still good gift. But it has its limits. And when you’re enlivened by the Spirit in Baptism, when you’ve got faith in Jesus, when you “fear, love, and trust in Him above all things,” you “realize this” and “receive [your] daily bread with thanksgiving.”

That’s life in the Spirit; that’s living in your Baptism. In your Baptism you receive everything, even “daily bread,” as “good and perfect gift that comes down from the Father of lights.” Sounds great! Sounds simple. Oh, but it’s not. What’s in our reading from Matthew bears that out.

((2. Our flesh doesn’t receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.))

“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” That goes for receiving daily bread with thanksgiving, too. Our flesh doesn’t receive our daily bread with thanksgiving. Not true thanksgiving. Our flesh receives its daily bread as due or entitlement. We’re selfish when it comes to daily bread, everything we get from our Father for the support and needs of the body.

Just think about how the disciples were last week with the woman who anointed Jesus. “This fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.” Maybe the 11 cared, but Judas didn’t. He started this grumbling not because he cared for the poor, “but because he was a thief, and had the money bag; and he used to take what was put in it.” He was selfish, and Jesus let Judas have exactly what he wanted.

Judas was selfish, and we are, too. We’re stingy and grumpy and worried and afraid with the things of this life all because we’re trusting the gift and not the Giver. We’re trusting in the “daily bread” and not trusting our heavenly Father. We act as if we’re not getting our fair share. We’re afraid we won’t get what we want. And when we receive only what we need, we aren’t tankful. We don’t pray. We don’t ask.

Besides that, you and I turn what we want into what we need, and when these “needs” are met, we think God loves us and cares for us. But when they aren’t, the God certainly doesn’t love or care for us. Whoever “has money or possessions feels secure and is joyful…On the other hand, [whoever] has no money doubts and [mopes about], as though he knew of no God.” (LC I.7) If you’ve got plenty, your “secure” even “arrogant and proud” thinking how great you are and how great everything’s going, but we’re worried and afraid about loosing them, and we can become depressed “when the possessions no longer exist or are” taken away. (LC I.10)

The problem isn’t the daily bread, the gifts your Father gives you to take care of you. No, we’re the problem. Our heart turns the gift into god, and if the gift goes, so does god. Our daily bread often drives our hearts away from Jesus and our heavenly Father. Just consider the disciples: they we’re tired, worn out, so they didn’t pray and watch with Jesus. Doesn’t sound familiar at all, does it? And they talked a big game, but when it came down to it, their own lives, their bodies were more important than being known as a believer in Jesus. “Then all the disciples left Him and fled.”

Our trust in daily bread messes up how we relate to Jesus. We often talk a big game and say that all good things are a gift from God, but more often our heavenly Father, Jesus, or our faith are only means to getting the gift, to getting and keeping our daily bread.

((1. Jesus’ death saves us from daily bread, so we receive it with thanksgiving.))

Daily bread is a good gift from your heavenly Father, but since we’ll take the gift and leave the Giver, well, that’s not good enough for the Giver. So, Jesus comes. The Giver of all gifts, sends His Son to die for those who’d live their life apart from Him. (Even people who have no true faith in Jesus get their daily bread.) But the Giver gives not only “daily bread to all evil people,” even to people like you and me. No, He gives a Savior for all people. Jesus comes to die for your daily bread god. The daily bread you turn into a god.

Jesus lives always receiving daily bread in faith and with thanksgiving. He never trusted the gift but only His heavenly Father. He did that for our messed up trust. He delivers far more than just something that’s temporary. Daily bread will end, the things of this life run out and break, but Jesus gives and sheds His body and blood into death to save you, to redeem you, to be your true and eternal God. And then He uses daily things, earthly things, even bread and wine to deliver far more than daily bread but eternal bread: His body and blood, which are the medicine and food that give eternal life.

But Jesus does care for your body. He has one, after all! His Father cares for your body, too. He made it, after all! Just look at our text: Peter cuts off the high priest’s servant’s ear. Jesus not only rebukes Peter—“whoever lives by the sword will die by the sword”—, but Jesus also puts that man’s ear back on! He cares so much for the body, even one of someone come to kill him, that He heals him. He cares that way for you, too. He gives you what you need to care for you until your life’s end. Just look at all that He gives you: “food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors,” and on and on it goes! Jesus and His Father clearly care for your body.

In fact, Jesus cares so much about your body, He’s not only giving it daily bread now, but He’ll one day raise your body from the dead! “After I’m raised from the dead, I’ll go before you into Galilee,” Jesus said. The Father loves Jesus and His body so much He’ll raise it from the dead. You’re in on that. Baptized into it! Or “no you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? [And] if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His.” (Rom 6:3, 5)

((Conclusion.))

So,

What does [the Fourth Petition] mean? God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all evil people, but we pray in this petition that God 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 has to do with the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.

When it comes to daily bread and the 4ht Petition, we learn from Matthew 26 that JESUS’ DEATH IS THE SOURCE OF RECEIVING DAILY BREAD WITH THANKSGIVING, WITH FAITH. Our flesh would take us away from Jesus for the sake of daily bread. But Jesus saves you from that. Now you’re baptized into His death and resurrection, you’ve received the eternal-life-giving food of His body and blood. Now, you use your Baptism. You pray for daily bread. You receive that gift and trust the Giver: your heavenly Father. That’s life in the Spirit; that’s living in your Baptism because JESUS’ DEATH IS THE SOURCE OF RECEIVING DAILY BREAD WITH THANKSGIVING, WITH FAITH.

INI + AMEN.

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