Hands That Provide
Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Luther tells us in his Small Catechism, “I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them.” Luther also tells us, “He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.” When God showed the Garden of Eden to Adam and Eve, they saw a magnificent garden with more than enough to provide for all their needs of body and soul, and this garden was set apart by God to be their dwelling place. The hands of the Savior are the hands of God Himself, who made us and who bound Himself to provide for all He had made in creation. The feeding of the five-thousand clearly demonstrates this divine truth: that humanity’s Savior is also humanity’s Maker and the One who provides for His creation.
But in truth, our Lord had no obligation to do what He did for this crowd, especially after our first parents misused the gifts He gave them. The people He fed were responsible for their own situation. They had followed the Savior without thinking ahead for their own well being, and now they were hungry. The disciples suggested that the people should pay the price for their lack of foresight. “Send the crowds away,” they said. But Jesus provided for them. Our Lord’s hands make up for human failings. In the Garden, God’s creation bit the hand that fed them, so to speak, but God decided He would continue to care for them. He went so far as to provide for their greatest need: a Savior. It is that plan on which we focus during the season of Lent. The Savior covers our sins and foolish errors, even as He fed the multitude who, by all rights, should have starved. Only one boy thought to bring food—five loaves and two fish. Jesus took them, gave thanks, blessed them, and made a great feast with baskets of leftovers to spare.
The Lord of creation continues to provide for His people. From His generous hands we have more than just bread for the body: we receive the bread of life, which is Jesus Himself. He tells us to eat this bread, to have Him as part of us, so that He gives us a life of peace with the Father that is bound in faith to Christ, so that we who partake of this holy Meal will have eternal life. With the same hands that fed a crowd, our Savior prepared a special meal for us to cherish and enjoy. By setting apart ordinary bread and wine to be His holy body and blood, He gave us a new covenant. Whenever we eat this bread and drink this wine, we remember His death for us until He comes again. Jesus is in our hearts and minds and understanding. Our body becomes His dwelling place. We dwell in Him because He dwells in us. And in a very special way, our Lord has restored to us the bounty of the Garden of Eden, for He is now the Fruit of the Tree of Life by which we shall live forever.
And remember, these hands of our Savior, hands that provide, are also hands that invite. He wants you to come and eat His body and drink His blood. This food is of such great spiritual value that we will never die. In all the struggles we face in this life, spiritual starvation never has to be one one them, for we have a redeemer with hands that provide! We will never grow weak from spiritual hunger as we battle Satan, for the bread of life sustains us in the fight.
Our Lord prepares His table for the Church, the family of God, to gather. And as we gather, we are strengthened in our resolve to meet and overcome Satan and his demonic minions. When temptations come, we are sustained by our Lord’s body and blood, for He Himself has overcome our fiercest enemy when He said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” And thanks be to God, for He provides that Word for us by His gracious hand. In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.