This sermon was preached at Thursday Matins at the 2016 Bread of Life conferences in Nashville, TN and Fort Collins, CO.
Rev. Aaron Fenker
“What’s God done for ME?” It’s an honest question, and maybe we’ve asked that from time to time. “Well, God, what have you done for me lately?” Bread-of-Life Jesus gives us the right answer to that question. What has God done for you? Well, God’s done everything for your salvation in Jesus.
That’s not enough
Yeah, well, that’s not enough. That’s how we act! We’re like the Israelites. Salvation’s not enough! “Yes, we’ve been rescued from slavery in Egypt. Yes, Pharaoh and his army were destroyed—drowned dead in the Red Sea. But we’re hungry!” “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we had meat to the full…” “When the LORD heard, he was full of wrath…his anger rose against Israel, because they did not believe in God and did not trust his saving power.” The Jews were still like them, and like us.
“We want more food!” Jesus calls them and you out: “You are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.” “Yes, I’ve been rescued from the slavery sin; yes, the devil’s been drowned in the waters of Baptism; yes, I’m part of God’s holy people, but I want more!” We want Jesus to be a vending-machine God. From a better grade to a spot on the team; from more popularity to more money; from a better phone to getting us out of jam:
“What do I have to do to get God to do what I need Him to do! What sort of prayer do I need to say, what good work do I have to do, to get what I want?” “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” What indeed? What indeed?
It’s really more than enough—and more!
Well, Bread-of-Life Jesus sets the record straight. Thanks be to God He does! Thanks be to God that “the works of God” don’t have anything to do with you at all! “God’s works” have everything to do with God working…FOR YOU! That’s what Jesus means when He says, “This is God’s Work: you believe in the One He sent.” You believe in Jesus because God worked faith within you. You don’t have to do anything—not even muster up enough belief within yourself. In Holy Baptism He gave you faith. In Absolution He forgives your sins of wanting a have-it-your-way-at-Burger-King Jesus. All that’s forgiven. Now and forever. In the Word He sustains your faith. In the Lord’s Supper He strengthens you in body and soul unto life everlasting. These are all “God’s works” FOR YOU. All because Jesus is the Bread of Life FOR YOU. He is the Bread from heaven that gives life to the world by giving His life for the world—you too! “Body and blood given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins” Then on Calvary. But Bread-of-Life Jesus isn’t done yet. Risen from the dead, He delivers His life to the World: “Body and blood given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins” Now in His Supper. What Bread-of-Life Jesus has and gives never runs out: “Whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
What’s God done for you? Well, what’s Bread-of-Life Jesus done for you? EVERYTHING! Died for you. Rose for you. Salvation forever for you. What have all the things we want really done for us? What can they do for us? Nothing. Not when you die. Bread-of-Life Jesus will raise you from the dead on the Last Day.
There’s not one thing you do for it. Nothing you can do! Not even your eating and drinking do it! “How can bodily eating do such great things?” Only because Bread-of-Life Jesus is true to His promises. Body and blood for you. Bread of Life for you. “Whoever believes these words has exactly what they say: ‘forgiveness of sins.'”
And “where there’s forgiveness of sins, there’s also life and salvation.” And that, my friends, is ALL that God’s done FOR YOU. All Jesus working FOR YOU.