Sunday, October 24, 2021


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The Rev Andries Combrink is a Presbyterian Minister of the Gospel. He lives in Centurion, South Africa. 
To teach the Word of God is his calling,  based on the Reformed tradition. 

 

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 "It is written,
‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceeds
out of the mouth of God.’" Matt. 4: 4

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Jul 23

Written by: Andries
Saturday, July 22, 2017 10:55:10 PM  RssIcon

The Messianic Kingdom is in the Old Testament depicted in terms of abundant food and feasting for all. Ezekiel said, “They shall be secure on their soil … when I break the bars of their yoke, and save them from the hands of those who enslaved them … I will provide for them a splendid vegetation so that they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land …” (Ezekiel 34:27-29).
This happens when God breaks the self-satisfying rule of oppressive governments and powers.
 
We find two narratives in the gospels of Jesus multiplying bread and fish. In the second narrative, found in Matthew 15: 29 – 39, Jesus fed 4000 men plus women and children. 
The gospels often speak about bread against the background of Jesus calling himself the Bread of life!  The message is clear: we receive complete fellowship with him that indicates the abundance of his redemption, presence, love, forgiveness, power and provision of food and water in the lives of all his disciples.
 
There is also another context that helps to identify the significance of Jesus’ actions involving abundant food. Firstly, we must remember that the world of the first-century Roman Empire was marked by significant inequalities concerning, amongst others, food access.
Many experienced food insecurity and struggled on a daily basis to acquire enough nutrition. The small group of ruling elite in the Roman Empire enjoyed an abundant variety of nutritious, excellent food, while the majority of the population lived below subsistence level with inadequate food resources.
The lack of food was one of the ways that the majority experienced the injustices of the oppressive empire. The wasteful abundance of the elite signified their abuse of power and influence and lack of any compassion for the poor.
 
The scène in Matthew 15: 29 – 39 is set in a “wilderness place.” The setting reminds of the exodus of the Hebrews from slavery and God’s adequate feeding of the wilderness generation.  (Matthew 14:21).
Now crowds joined Jesus in a deserted place.
Jesus’ response was first of all one of compassionate power expressed in healing. His compassion is further powerfully illustrated by feeding the multitude when the disciples produced 7 loaves and some fish. Jesus took control and hosted the meal. He took the food, blessed it, broke it and gave it to the crowd gathered there.
 
The blessing on that day in the wilderness is expressed in the words: “All ate and were filled.”  Also remember Psalm 107:9 celebrating God’s actions of grace and love: “he satisfies the thirsty and the hungry he fills with good things.” God intervened in the narratives of the multiplications of bread and fish to emphasise that in his Kingdom he multiplies limited resources so that there is abundant food for everyone against the backdrop of the self-satisfying rule of corrupt governments and powers
Jesus unequivocally demonstrated his lordship over food resources and that the abundance of his provision signifies that “the Kingdom of God has come near”.
 
Jesus hosted life-giving feasts representing, proclaiming and celebrating the gracious abundance of God.   And this is the message we should share with lost, hungry and oppressed people living in an immoral power hungry world!
 
As his disciples we can never become part of an elite that show off having too much while the multitudes have no food or water security, but we are blessed to be able to explain the abundance of Christ by sharing bread with the hungry masses and the destitute! 

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