Table fellowship and the miraculous feeding of thousands

Who imparts salvation in Jesus Christ? We find an answer in the story of the feeding of the five thousand. It is not only an old story, but a miracle that continues to occur to this day—over and over. And every believer can participate in it.

Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider kept coming back to a particular word in the Bible text: “But He answered and said to them, ‘You give them something to eat’” (Mark 6: 37). This was the basis for the divine service on 19 June 2016 in Hanover in Germany. And the focus of the sermon was on the little word “you”.

Five loaves of bread and two fish were enough in order to feed the 5,000 men, plus women and children, who had been listening to the sermon of Jesus. “Why did Jesus do that? He wanted to set an example,” the Chief Apostle said. “He pointed out what salvation is. The body and blood of Jesus, that is salvation. And that creates salvation for us.”

An example for the church

“But salvation has to be imparted,” he said, referring to Jesus’ instruction to the people who had gathered and whom He had told to sit down in groups. One cannot receive salvation only for oneself, in isolation. “It is possible only in communion,” he said, referring to the table fellowship. “This is a beautiful reference to the church. Salvation is bestowed in the community of the faithful.”

Jesus did not distribute the food Himself, the Chief Apostle said, but instructed the Apostles to do so: “You give them something to eat,” he quoted from the Bible and went on to explain: “He entrusted Holy Communion, the body and blood of Christ, which is essential for our salvation, to His Apostles. You have to administrate it. You have to distribute it.”

Gratitude as the foundation

“Then comes the important point,” the Chief Apostle said. The disciples, he explained, did not think it would be possible to feed so many with so little food. “The Lord saw that it was not much, but He thanked God for it.” And this sign of gratitude to the heavenly Father made the miracle of multiplication possible.

“We live in a time in which we note with some concern that, in some respects, things are no longer as plentiful,” he said, referring to the situation of the Church in many countries. “But let us not forget the most important part: we have salvation! We have Jesus Christ!”

A call to action

The Lord insisted: “You give them something to eat!” This not only applies to the Apostles, but to every single believer, Chief Apostle Schneider explained and mentioned three examples. That children can grow up in faith is not only the responsibility of the Church, but above all of the parents. He said that he was not referring to lectures, pressure, and prohibitions. Decisive is that “we share our convictions with them: Jesus Christ is good for you”.

“The Lord Jesus repeatedly called upon the members of the church to build each other up.” The basis for this is an atmosphere of gratitude in the congregation. “We are aware of all the things we still have. Let us encourage, comfort, and please one another.”

This also applies to our contemporaries, the Chief Apostle said in closing. “We are not in a position to solve the problems of the world. But there is one thing we can do: we can share our convictions with other people. ‘In Jesus Christ you can find comfort, experience love, and find hope and a future.’”

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Andreas Rother
3.08.2016
Germany, Chief Apostle, Divine service