Pentecost 9 – July 19, 2015
Jesus Gives the Bread of Life by his Faithful Word
These are the readings for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost.
God’s Word for This Week
Last week we saw how Jesus gives the Bread of Life through faithful public ministers. This week we focus more on their message. Public ministers must faithfully proclaim God’s Word. When pastors do not preach the whole truth of God, they destroy faith and turn people away from Jesus, for “faith comes from hearing the message” (Romans 10:17). Nothing else will do.
Traditional First Lesson – Jeremiah 23:1-6
Who were these “shepherds” (prophets) who were destroying and scattering the Lord’s flock (his people)?
The shepherds to whom God refers are the false prophets in Judah during the days of Jeremiah.
Since others were not faithfully proclaiming his Word, what did the Lord plan to do?
The Lord would come himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, to shepherd his flock by his faithful Word.
Supplemental First Lesson – Numbers 27:12-23
Why did Moses ask that God appoint a man to replace him as leader of God’s people? (See 27:17.)
Moses asked God to appoint a replacement for him so that the LORD’s people would not be like sheep without a shepherd. (Isn’t Moses’ love for the Israelite people amazing, considering how often they complained about his leadership over the years?)
How did God describe Joshua, Moses’ replacement?
God described Joshua, Moses’ replacement, as a man in who was in the spirit. This may mean a bold spirit of leadership or the Holy Spirit who gives such boldness.
Traditional Second Lesson – Ephesians 2:13-22
How did Jesus bring together the Jews and the Gentiles into one Christian Church? (vv 15-16)
Jesus brought these two groups together by fulfilling and abolishing the Old Testament law, which separated the Jews and Gentiles. Salvation and membership in the Church is not to be based on following certain rules and regulations, as so many still preach today. Instead, Jesus won forgiveness, salvation and entry into eternal life for all people through his death on the cross and powerful Easter resurrection from the dead.
Upon what does Paul say this Christian Church is built?
The Church is founded upon the faithful word of the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles. Jesus, who is himself the Word of God, is the chief cornerstone. (John 1:1)
Supplemental Second Lesson – Hebrews 13:7-8, 17-21
What is the one reason why believers should obey faithful pastors and submit to their authority? (See 13:20.)
Christians have good reason to obey faithful pastors and submit to their authority because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever: Jesus’ words do not change. The grace we receive from him does not change.
How does the writer to the Hebrews describe Jesus, now that the Father has raised him from the dead? (See 13:20.)
The writer to the Hebrews (we are not certain who he was) describes Jesus as “the great Shepherd of the sheep.”
Gospel – Mark 6:30-34
What did Jesus want his disciples to have? What stopped them?
After they returned from a preaching trip, Jesus wanted his disciples to have a vacation. They didn’t get it, for large crowds followed them when they tried to get away.
How did Jesus feel about the crowds that followed him? Why did he feel that way?
Mark says that he had compassion on them because, spiritually-speaking, they were wandering aimlessly like lost sheep with no shepherd.
How did Jesus respond to the people’s needs?
He began to give them the Bread of Life by his faithful Word, teaching them the truths of God.