Based on Luke 9:10-20
Many events in Scripture “prefigure” what comes later. When we see the later happening, we understand it in light of what came before. This is true with regard to the miracle of the feeding of the 5000.
Anytime we read about meals, feasting or feeding early in the Gospels, we can’t help but consider how they prefigure the Lord’s Supper. In this instance there is much that speaks to the meaning and message of the meal Jesus shared with His disciples on Maundy Thursday in the Upper Room.
The description of Jesus taking the loaves and fish, looking up to heaven and saying a blessing over them sounds “sacramental.” Then, Jesus broke the loaves, in the same way that Jesus broke the bread at the table with the Twelve. And all 5000 ate and were satisfied, a rare occurrence in a time when food was often scarce, and many went hungry. Yet, the message of the miracle is two-fold. First, with Jesus’ presence and blessing, there is food enough for all. Second, there is enough, not just for the 5000, but for all who would come after as the leftovers filled twelve baskets. We should never miss numerical references, as twelve is always a significant number. It reminds us of the Exodus and the feeding of the twelve tribes of Israel in the wilderness with manna from heaven. It also points to the Church to come, twelve being a symbol of the New Israel, those who would come to the Church in the future through the ministry of the twelve Apostles. In the Lord’s Supper, there is enough for all, whether Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, and all will be satisfied, spiritually, filled with the presence of Jesus incarnate. And then, there will be even more for those yet to join the Body of Christ!
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for feeding us with your incarnate presence. Amen.
Lenten response: As you have mealtimes today, bless your food in remembrance of the 5000.
This year’s devotional was prepared by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, NALC assistant to the bishop for ministry and ecumenism. To learn more about A Lenten Walk Through the Word, visit thenalc.org/lent.
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
2 Chron. 18:1–34
18:1 Jehoshaphat was very wealthy and greatly respected. He made an alliance by marriage with Ahab, 2and after several years went down to visit Ahab in Samaria. Ahab slaughtered many sheep and cattle to honor Jehoshaphat and those who came with him. He persuaded him to join in an attack against Ramoth Gilead. 3King Ahab of Israel said to King Jehoshaphat of Judah, “Will you go with me to attack Ramoth Gilead?” He replied, “I will support you; my army is at your disposal and will support you in battle.” 4Then Jehoshaphat said further to the king of Israel, “First, please seek an oracle from the Lord.” 5So the king of Israel assembled 400 prophets and asked them, “Should we attack Ramoth Gilead or not?” They said, “Attack! God will hand it over to the king.” 6But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there not a prophet of the Lord still here that we may ask him?” 7The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, “There is still one man through whom we can seek the Lord’s will, but I despise him because he does not prophesy prosperity for me, but always disaster—Micaiah son of Imlah.” Jehoshaphat said, “The king should not say such things!” 8The king of Israel summoned an officer and said, “Quickly bring Micaiah son of Imlah.”
9Now the king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah were sitting on their respective thrones, dressed in their royal robes, at the threshing floor at the entrance of the gate of Samaria. All the prophets were prophesying before them. 10Zedekiah son of Kenaanah made iron horns and said, “This is what the Lord says, ‘With these you will gore Syria until they are destroyed.’” 11All the prophets were prophesying the same, saying, “Attack Ramoth Gilead! You will succeed; the Lord will hand it over to the king.” 12Now the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, “Look, the prophets are in complete agreement that the king will succeed. Your words must agree with theirs; you must predict success!” 13But Micaiah said, “As certainly as the Lord lives, I will say what my God tells me to say!”
14Micaiah came before the king and the king asked him, “Micaiah, should we attack Ramoth Gilead or not?” He answered him, “Attack! You will succeed; they will be handed over to you.” 15The king said to him, “How many times must I make you solemnly promise in the name of the Lord to tell me only the truth?” 16Micaiah replied, “I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains like sheep that have no shepherd. Then the Lord said, ‘They have no master. They should go home in peace.’” 17The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you he does not prophesy prosperity for me, but disaster?” 18Micaiah said, “That being the case, listen to the Lord’s message. I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, with all the heavenly assembly standing on his right and on his left. 19The Lord said, ‘Who will deceive King Ahab of Israel, so he will attack Ramoth Gilead and die there?’ One said this and another that. 20Then a spirit stepped forward and stood before the Lord. He said, ‘I will deceive him.’ The Lord asked him, ‘How?’ 21He replied, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets.’ The Lord said, ‘Deceive and overpower him. Go out and do as you have proposed.’ 22So now, look, the Lord has placed a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours, but the Lord has decreed disaster for you.” 23Zedekiah son of Kenaanah approached, hit Micaiah on the jaw, and said, “Which way did the Lord’s Spirit go when he went from me to speak to you?” 24Micaiah replied, “Look, you will see in the day when you go into an inner room to hide.” 25Then the king of Israel said, “Take Micaiah and return him to Amon the city official and Joash the king’s son. 26Say, ‘This is what the king says: “Put this man in prison. Give him only a little bread and water until I return safely.”’” 27Micaiah said, “If you really do return safely, then the Lord has not spoken through me!” Then he added, “Take note, all you people.”
28The king of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah attacked Ramoth Gilead. 29The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and then enter the battle, but you wear your royal attire.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and they entered the battle. 30Now the king of Syria had ordered his chariot commanders, “Do not fight common soldiers or high ranking officers; fight only the king of Israel!” 31When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they said, “He must be the king of Israel!” So they turned and attacked him, but Jehoshaphat cried out. The Lord helped him; God lured them away from him. 32When the chariot commanders realized he was not the king of Israel, they turned away from him. 33Now an archer shot an arrow at random, and it struck the king of Israel between the plates of his armor. The king ordered his charioteer, “Turn around and take me from the battle line, for I am wounded.” 34While the battle raged throughout the day, the king of Israel stood propped up in his chariot opposite the Syrians. He died in the evening as the sun was setting.(NET Bible)
86:1 A prayer of David.
Listen, O Lord. Answer me.
For I am oppressed and needy.
2Protect me, for I am loyal.
You are my God; deliver your servant who trusts in you.
3Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for I cry out to you all day long.
4Make your servant glad,
for to you, O Lord, I pray.
5Certainly, O Lord, you are kind and forgiving,
and show great faithfulness to all who cry out to you.
6O Lord, hear my prayer.
Pay attention to my plea for mercy.
7In my time of trouble I cry out to you,
for you will answer me.
8None can compare to you among the gods, O Lord.
Your exploits are incomparable.
9All the nations, whom you created,
will come and worship you, O Lord.
They will honor your name.
10For you are great and do amazing things.
You alone are God.
11O Lord, teach me how you want me to live.
Then I will obey your commands.
Make me wholeheartedly committed to you.
12O Lord, my God, I will give you thanks with my whole heart.
I will honor your name continually.
13For you will extend your great loyal love to me
and will deliver my life from the depths of Sheol.
14O God, arrogant men attack me;
a gang of ruthless men, who do not respect you, seek my life.
15But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and merciful God.
You are patient and demonstrate great loyal love and faithfulness.
16Turn toward me and have mercy on me.
Give your servant your strength.
Deliver this son of your female servant.
17Show me evidence of your favor.
Then those who hate me will see it and be ashamed,
for you, O Lord, will help me and comfort me.(NET Bible)
9:10 When the apostles returned, they told Jesus everything they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew privately to a town called Bethsaida. 11But when the crowds found out, they followed him. He welcomed them, spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and cured those who needed healing. 12Now the day began to draw to a close, so the twelve came and said to Jesus, “Send the crowd away, so they can go into the surrounding villages and countryside and find lodging and food because we are in an isolated place.” 13But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all these people.” 14(Now about 5,000 men were there.) Then he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” 15So they did as Jesus directed, and the people all sat down.
16Then he took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven he gave thanks and broke them. He gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17They all ate and were satisfied, and what was left over was picked up—twelve baskets of broken pieces.
18Once when Jesus was praying by himself and his disciples were nearby, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” 19They answered, “John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others that one of the prophets of long ago has risen.” 20Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” (NET Bible)
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.
Scripture is the primum principium; it is [Luther writes] “in itself the most certain, the most accessible, the most readily understandable (book) which interprets itself and approves, judges, and illumines all (words) of all.” It must “reign as queen.” (18)
–Johann Michael Reu, Luther on the Scriptures
This daily Bible reading guide, Reading the Word of God, was conceived and prepared as a result of the ongoing discussions between representatives of three church bodies: Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The following individuals have represented their church bodies and approved this introduction and the reading guide: LCC: President Robert Bugbee; NALC: Bishop John Bradosky, Revs. Mark Chavez, James Nestingen, and David Wendel; LCMS: Revs. Albert Collver, Joel Lehenbauer, John Pless, and Larry Vogel.