Daily Devotion for February 17, 2011
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
This beautiful anthem is often sung at Christmas, but is appropriate year-round.
Martin Luther's Prayer for Morning
I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me through the night from all danger and harm. I ask you to preserve and keep me, this day also, from all sin and evil, that in all my thoughts, words, and deeds I may serve and please you. Into your hands I commend my body and soul and all that is mine. Let your holy angels have charge of me, that the wicked one have no power over me.
Prayer of Praise (from Psalm 86)Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications.
In the day of my trouble I will call upon you: for you will answer me.
Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; and no works like those you have done.
All nations whom you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; and will glorify your name.
For you are great, and do wondrous things: you are God alone.
Teach me your way, Lord, and I will walk in your truth: unite my heart to fear your name.
I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify your name forever.
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make me perfect in every good work to do his will, working in me that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech,
who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness.
John 6:1-14 (ESV)
Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples.
Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, "Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?" He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do.
Philip answered him, "Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little." One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peterís brother, said to him, "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?" Jesus said, "Have the people sit down."
Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.
And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, "Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost." So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, "This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!"
Notes on the Scripture
Uncharacterisic of John's Gospel, the feeding of the 5000 is also recorded in the synoptic Gospels; in fact, it appears in all four Gospels and is certainly one of the most famous stories from Jesus' life. (Note that this is apparently a different incident than the feeding of the 4,000, related in Mark 8:1-10.) The miracle is understated, because the 5,000 counted were all men. If women and children had been included, the number could easily have exceeded 10,000.
In some respects this miracle is more typical of John than the Synoptics, because it seems to be allegorical. It occurs at the time of the Passover; it thus brings to mind God's freeing the Jews from slavery and feeding them with manna in the wilderness, where they were lost.
But the people of Israel were still lost when Christ came, but in a spiritual sense. Jesus gives them miraculous bread, but it is not just bread made from grain, which gives life to body, but allegorical "bread" that will give life to the soul. To strengthen the tie between Jesus and the early Jews, the disciples gather up 12 baskets of scraps. Although He has one purpose and one accomplishment, the salvation of humanity, still there is a special relationship between Jesus and the 12 tribes of Israel. It is as if he is showing a willingness to save the Jews twice -- either as the savior of the world, or as the Messiah prophesied throughout the Old Testament.
More broadly, Jesus shows that His resources are unlimited. Andrew and James provide a foil for the miracle. They remind us that we should always have faith in God's power and love. When we are troubled or our lives seem filled with problems, that is the time to think of all that God has done for us in the past.