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More Notes on Trinity 7 – Mark 8:1-9

by pastorjuhl ~ July 22nd, 2009

Fred Lindemann, “The Sermon and the Propers”

The Holy Gospel tells us of our Lord’s compassion, sympathy, considerateness, bounty, on which we may count as we strive agaisnt the things that  handicap us and vitiate our service (3:137).

Church Fathers

We learn, through this account, that we should be content with what suffices for our needs, and not seek for anything more (Theophylactus).

[Jesus] does not wish them to go away hungry, lest they faint by the wayside. For men should receive the word of consolation through preaching, lest, hungering for the Food of truth, they perish in the hardships of this life (Gregory the Great).

For the multitudes came to [Jesus] for healing; they did not dare to ask for bread. But He, kind and foreseeing, gives it to them even though they do not ask, and says to His disciples: “I have compassion on the multitude, and shall not send them away fasting” (John Chrysostom).

Now however He does not say “Give you them to eat”; but “I have compassion on the multitude and will not send them away hungry”; actually moving them, and prompting them, to see that this food was to be sought from Himself (John Chrysostom).

Pius Parsch, “The Church’s Year of Grace”

Every Sunday a great [Christian] multitude is gathered with Jesus in the parish church. Now as then He first preaches. He speaks to us in the Epistle, in the Gospel, and in the sermon. After that He again says: “I have compassion on the multitude. The week is long, and if I send them away fasting to their homes, they will faint on the streets of daily life.” Jesus is thinking of souls. Straightway He nourishes them, not, of course, by multiplying ordinary bread but by changing it into His own Body (4:70-71).

What Jesus did [in Mark chapter 8] He still does today. At that time He acted visibly, today He acts invisibly. At that time He nourished the body, today He nourishes the soul. At that time He gave men perishable bread, today He gives us all the true, living Bread that is Life and bestows life. Viewed in this light, it is easier to appreciate the import of the Gospel. We, the baptized, are journeying through the wilderness of life toward a heavenly fatherland. We need the Bread of Life not to fall and perish while on this journey (4:76-77).

Blessed Martin Luther’s House Postil

Don’t worry about dying of hunger; rather make it your primary concern to hear My Word. When you’ve done this, trust your Father in heaven to provide for your belly; He is determined not to let you die of  hunger…. Make God’s Word your chief concern, and having done that, be assured that the Lord Christ will also provide for you material needs.

There is no other task so difficult, as to train people to live piously, nor is there a greater service we can render to God…. The greatest, most God-pleasing work of faith a person can do, is to follow the example of Christ by helping people’s souls, so that they don’t end up going to the devil.

It isn’t necessary that we seek that Word in the desert and suffer want as a result. We have a generous Lord, Who is concerned about all our needs and Whom we should therefore trust to provide us with everything that is essential. Even though at times it may seem to us that we are lacking in necessities, He will always take care of us so long as we diligently hear His Word, believe it, and live a life that is pleasing to God. For when Christ is our provider, there will always be an abundance of everything, even when there is nothing, as we clearly see in this Gospel lesson.

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