Laetare—Lent 4 (Jn 6:1–15)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

Jesus says to His disciples, “Gather the leftover pieces so that nothing is lost.”

INI + AMEN.

What sort of Jesus do you have? It’s sort of a weird question, but there are two answers to that question in our readings today. Do you have a hold-out Jesus? The Jesus who holds out on His disciples, the Jesus who really can’t come through for you. Or do you have the Gift-giving Jesus? The Jesus who doesn’t just come through, but the Jesus who’s “always more” and always has more. Who always comes through super-abundantly for His disciples.

((2. What sort of Jesus do you have?))

So, what sort of Jesus do you have? More often than not, when the going gets tough, we believe we’ve got hold-out Jesus. That He doesn’t help, or that He can’t really help. We have a Jesus who just pats us on the back and says, “There, there.” That’s our flesh. We don’t really trust Jesus. It’s as if “he brings us into the wilderness… just to kill us.” Like the Israelites thought in our Old Testament. As if Jesus’ goal isn’t to care for us and love us, but rather to beat us down and not help us. With that sort of Jesus, we end up just like Philip and Andrew—trying to make up for Jesus’ shortfall. Jesus won’t come through so we have to. “Two hundred denarii aren’t enough.” “There’s a boy with five barley loaves and two small fish.”

Well, then you’ve got the other Jesus: the “always more” Jesus. That’s the Jesus who supplies daily bread in the wilderness: “whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.” He’s the Jesus of Acts 2, who daily “added to their number those who were being saved.” He’s the one who gave “twelve baskets” full of leftovers in John 6. Jesus always has more, He doesn’t hold out, He doesn’t hold back, not even His own life: “the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.” He’s the true Passover Lamb, dying for the sins and doubts of His disciples, shedding His blood for all your sorrows, swallowing up in His own tomb the tragedies that befall us and those we love.

((Transition.))

So, which Jesus do you have? Well, in spite of our fears and doubts that cause us to think Jesus is stingy and a hold out, our Scripture readings point us to a Jesus who’s always more, who always has more, even in the midst of His disciples’ fears and doubt. He knows what to do. He always gives what’s needed. Not just a little, but always more.

((1. The “always more” Jesus doesn’t hold out on His disciples.))

Jesus doesn’t hold out on His disciples. He doesn’t hold out on you either. That’s the sort of Jesus He is. He really is “always more,” always has more. He gives His bread to you. Bread for now and bread forever.

He gives you bread for your daily life. You don’t need to worry about your daily bread. Jesus gives that. Look at the Israelites. They got what was needed: “Morning by morning they gathered it.” He’ll give you what you need, too. In fact, He gives even more. Just like in John 6. The 5,000+ got “as much as they wanted.” “They were filled.” We worry about that. But He’s given you what you needed and more in the past. He continues to do it. That’s the sort of Jesus He is. He always has more bread.

But He’s got even more for “His disciples.” He tells them to pick up the bread. Who’s it for? For them! You see, the meal always ends, Yes, Jesus gives it. But it’s only bread for this life. Good gift! But always more with Jesus. He doesn’t just give bread for this life, but He also gives bread for eternal life. That’s Acts 2—you and me, too! “They devoted themselves to the bread-breaking fellowship.” They had the Lord’s Supper. “Daily they were in the temple and broke-bread”—had the Lord’s Supper—“in their homes.” Jesus’ body and blood is the bread that gives eternal life because “whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will resurrect him on the Last Day,” says Jesus. Eternal life is the marriage feast that never ends.

In His body and blood, He gives you the medicine, the food of eternal life, that no sin, no tragedy, no death can take away from you. He died your death. Always more. He rose from death. Always more. That’s yours, too, in Holy Baptism. Always more. “Flesh and blood” resurrection from the dead delivered in His “flesh and blood.” Can’t stop Jesus. He doesn’t hold out. He gives it all superabundantly to you.

((Conclusion.))

What sort of Jesus do you have? Well, there’s really only one. No matter what! There’s the One who delivers from the Father all you need for body and soul. He doesn’t hold out on you. He’s always more. He always has more! That’s the sort of Jesus He is.

THERE’S ALWAYS MORE BREAD FROM JESUS FOR HIS DISCIPLES.

That’s you and me. We’re His disciples—baptized! He’s always more, and so we always have more bread. It’s from Him. Bread for now. Bread for forever. Eternal life. Resurrection. That’s His promise to you. THERE’S ALWAYS MORE BREAD FROM JESUS FOR HIS DISCIPLES. That’s the sort of Jesus He is. Body and blood for you, giving a forgiveness and life that no sin or death or tragedy can take away! That’s the sort of Jesus you have. Always more Jesus. Always more with Him. Always more bread. Always more body and blood. FOR HIS DISCIPLES. For you.

INI + AMEN.

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