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Sunday of Lent 4

Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone. — John 6:14–15

The fourth petition reminds us that our Triune God is the Giver of all good gifts. Our God makes and gives all that is necessary for human life to all people, both to the righteous and to the unrighteous.

Today’s Gospel reading is an example of Christ’s two natures. Our Lord does not imitate the miracle worked through Moses; He transcended Moses. While manna fell from the sky and needed to be baked, our Lord Jesus multiplied loaves and fish to feed thousands of men, women, and children. While the manna stank and bred maggots after only one day, the fragments of loaves were gathered and kept in twelve baskets. Jesus is the Prophet promised in Deuteronomy 18:15, speaking divine words among His brethren!

The people recognized the gifts Christ freely gives. They, like us, too often focused on the gift rather than the Giver. They wanted to make Jesus a king by force. They valued Christ for the temporal gifts which He gave. But they had no real understanding of Christ’s true mission. They had no idea what it means for Christ to be King.

Christ is no bread king. While He provides for our physical needs, He came not just to feed the body, but to save both body and soul through His death and resurrection. He spoke of Himself as true Food and Drink, as Living Bread, which we consume by faith through His Holy Word, which is both spirit and life. The people Moses fed with manna died; but he who eats Christ by faith shall live forever.

Lord Jesus Christ, we thank and praise You for providing our daily bread, just as You did for the five thousand. We ask that You would keep us from an obsession with earthly things, which pass away. Give us a hunger and thirst for You, the Living Bread of Heaven, and for Your Word, which is Spirit and life. Amen.

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