Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We have reached halfway mark of the Lenten season. Our text for today is a point of change in our emphasis on reflecting on the work of Jesus Christ.
In my talks with the preschool children, I talked about Moses and the story of Israel's liberation until they crossed the Red Sea and walked in the desert. Now in this text we find the link between the story of Moses and Jesus. Verse 14 says: "Then those men, when they saw the miracle that Jesus had done, said: Truly this is the Prophet who was to come into the world."
What prophet? The prophet greater than Moses of whom Moses prophesied in Deuteronomy 18. Moses is the most important figure in the Old Testament, the books written before the birth of Christ, which pointed to Christ. God promised Adam and Eve a Savior to restore the good relationship between human beings and Him in Genesis 3:15. Then God promised Abraham that among his descendants would come the Messiah, the Savior. He promised King David that the Savior would be one of David's descendants. The prophets reaffirmed the promise time after time. This is the promise that St. Paul speaks in the epistle (Galatians 4: 21-5: 1).
However, through Moses, God freed the descendants of Abraham from his slavery in Egypt. But what happened in the desert? God provided bread from heaven and quail for meat (Exodus 16: 2-21).
In addition, God made a covenant with the people in front of Mount Sinai. Moses climbed the mountain and returned with the two tablets of stone with the 10 Commandments. But, it was much more of the pact: Rules and ordinances for every aspect of life, to transform the refugees from slavery into a great nation ready for the coming of their Savior.
However, the majority of the people did not fulfill this pact perfectly; Only one man of Israel fulfilled it, Jesus Christ. In addition, Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of a prophet greater than Moses.
Moses was the giver of the Law of God, which is God's will for us to live as His children. Greater than the Law is the Gospel of God. Gospel means "the good news." What is the good news? Although we can not fulfill the moral law perfectly, there is forgiveness and salvation. Jesus Christ brought us this salvation. He not only fulfilled the Law perfectly, He suffered the punishment of our sins.
In our text, Jesus had not yet revealed His identity to the crowd. But, H the desert? Jesus climbed the mountain, also like Moses. Jesus performed a miracle to provide people with food like Moses. And Jesus brought to the people something more than the Law, freedom from the condemnation of the Law.
Testament means covenant. So, the books of the Old Testament speak of the covenant of Mount Sinai, based on the obedience of the people of Israel to the laws of Moses. They had the promise of the Savior, but the promise was not fulfilled until the coming of Jesus. The Law prepared them for the coming of Christ.
Now we have the new covenant in the blood of Christ. As the Lord told them on Holy Thursday, "Drink from this cup all of you; it is the new covenant in my blood. " In the feeding of five thousand, we find almost the same words. Having given thanks, the Lord break break and multiplied the loaves and fishes and gave them to His disciples to distribute among the people.
So, in the feeding of five thousand, Jesus repeated the deeds of Moses, but at the same moment, He anticipated His institution of the sacrament, when He gave the apostles the duty of distributing His body and blood, in, with and under the bread and wine to the believers. Pastors of the church today have the same duty.
Therefore, today we change the emphasis from the fulfillment of the Old Covenant to the fulfillment of the New Covenant, in which we have the opportunity to live as children of God, not because of the fear of his wrath, but because of the freedom of his love he has given us . In this we have faith, joy and peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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