THE WEEK OF TRINITY VII – MONDAY
LESSON: EPHESIANS 3:14-21
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
Here the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews reminds us that faith is the basis on which we rely for blessings which we do not yet see, or, in other words, I must wait for a blessing that I can neither see nor hear but can only hope for.
This was also the situation in the Gospel (for this week, Mark 8:1-9). Here we have a large group of men, almost four thousand of them, who with their wives and children have been with Jesus and His disciples for three days with nothing to eat. This was real fasting—I would have you understand. They are now hungry, far from home, and without the necessary provisions to sustain themselves. The writer of Hebrews says that faith is an assurance whereby I hope for blessings that I cannot see. This is the kind of faith that we find here in this multitude: they see no food at all, but they still hope that God will sustain them.
What does Jesus do here? What attitude does He take in this business? It would almost seem that He has no clues at all, for He goes to the apostles and asks them what to do about the problem of feeding these people. Their reply is characteristic enough, “How can one feed these men with bread here in the desert?” Here we see how human reason and faith not infrequently walk along together. We see that the smarter human reason is, the less it is in line with the works of God.
Jesus put His question to the disciples so that each of them should learn and recognize from the way his own reason reacted, that there is really no way in which reason and faith can be brought together. Here we learn that, as soon as faith begins, reason must be shut out from that time or granted “leave of absence.”
SL 11:1368 (6-7)
PRAYER: Loving Father, on whose bountiful providence we wholly depend, give us at Your pleasure whatever necessities this life requires. Above all, continue to feed our souls with spiritual food, the bread of life from heaven, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Editor’s note: No American Edition (AE) equivalent for today’s sermon excerpt exists at the time of this publication. For an alternate English translation of this sermon, see Lenker, Church Postil—Gospels, 4:202-210.