Give them some food yourselves – given for some benefit

This is the second week of a new series with a message from the words of Jesus, “Give them some food yourselves.” We are looking at the post resurrection time in the life of the church where, Jesus returns to the Father, sends the Holy Spirit for the Apostles, and we see the beginning of the community of believers forming to bring the mission of Jesus to the “ends of the world.” In this message series we will look at the gifts that God has provided and focus on the use of these gifts to bring about a better community.

We will discover that we are enlightened with the gift of the Spirit. We receive the gift of the Spirit for some benefit and we will look at the message of hope that God wants for us and all his children. Finally we tie it together in the fourth week with Jesus message that we are meant to help one another, what we receive we should be ready to share. So while these post-resurrection stories are informative and show the beginning of the community, there is also a deep pattern of receiving from God and acting upon what we have received to share with others. If we just listen to the stories and are not moved to do something than we are not very good Christians.

Last week we looked at the story of Jesus being lifted up to heaven and the Holy Spirit provided to those who were Jesus’ disciples. It was an Ascension message which pointed out that Jesus had to go so we could receive the Spirit. The Spirit is God in us who will share many gifts to help us bring about the community of believers. The gift we focused on was enlightenment.

This Week

The readings this week focus on the gift of the Holy Spirit to the disciples, give for some benefit. We read the stories of the Spirit coming to the disciples as tongues of fire and breath from Jesus. The Spirit is breath, the breath of the church that brings life to the body of Christ. The disciples are sent by Jesus to proclaim the message of the gospel as Jesus was sent by the Father. Through the gifts of the Spirit to benefit the work of the Spirit the message is spread and the body of Christ comes to life. The Spirit gives for the benefit of the work and directs the success of the message of God.

The readings this week are from the Lectionary for the Pentecost Sunday; Acts 2:1-11; Psalms 104:1, 24, 29-30, 21, 34; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7,12-13; John 20:19-23. The readings guide us toward knowing that it is the Spirit that directs the work of the church and provides disciples with gifts that will benefit the work of the Spirit.

In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles we read the story of the Holy Spirit coming as a strong wind and then resting as tongues of fire over those gathered. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues as the Spirit enabled them. The noise drew many who were in town for the festival of Pentecost and the disciples began speaking to the crowd who heard them in their native tongues of the mighty acts of God. The Spirit gifts each of the disciples so that they could use their gift to the benefit of the gospels. It would have been a great advantage to speak to the Jews gathered in their native language, it would have been an aid in their conversion. We will see this throughout the readings this week, the Spirit provides gifts that benefit those working to share the gospel.

We will see this throughout the readings this week, the Spirit provides gifts that benefit those working to share the gospel. Click To Tweet

In the second reading from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians we see the emphasis of the Spirit as the one who gives knowledge, spiritual gifts, service and work all to the benefit of the Spirit and his work. Paul then emphasizes how with the Spirit we are baptized into one body, the body of Christ. No matter who we are, we are all given to drink from the one Spirit. It is the Spirit that works to bring together all into one community, the church. Each person receives from the Spirit the gift they need to the benefit of the Spirit and the creation of the one body of Christ. We know Jesus is Lord through the Spirit and we come together through the gifts of the Spirit. We each can receive a gift needed for the benefit of the work of the Spirit.

Each person receives from the Spirit the gift they need to the benefit of the Spirit and the creation of the one body of Christ. Click To Tweet

In the gospel reading from John Jesus appears to his disciples while they were locked away from fear of the Jews. Jesus wishes the disciples peace, twice and tells them they are being sent as Jesus was sent by the Father. Jesus breathes on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” This is a different view of how the disciples receive the gifts of the Spirit and the courage that comes along with the benefits of the Spirit. With this new courage the disciples are being sent to proclaim the message of the gospel.

The readings this week emphasize the gift of the Holy Spirit given to the disciples, as the church celebrates Pentecost, the fiftieth day after the resurrection of Jesus. This moment is used as the celebration of the Father’s promise, gifting from the Spirit to those who need him to create the body of Christ. But the Spirit gifts those for the benefit of the work of the Spirit. The Spirit knows the gifts needed to complete the work, and the gifts to provide each person for the benefit of the work. The church grows through the efforts of the disciples Jesus sent to share the gospel message. But we see the gospel message is benefited by the gifts of the Spirit who is truly directing work of the church.

The gospel message is benefited by the gifts of the Spirit who is truly directing work of the church. Click To Tweet

This week we see that the Spirit gives to the benefit of the work of the Spirit. The message Jesus wants told by those he sent is only possible when the gifts giving by the Spirit are used to the benefit of the work. The Spirit discerns the gifts needed and who should receive which gift, all for the benefit of the body of Christ.

The Spirit discerns the gifts needed and who should receive which gift, all for the benefit of the body of Christ. Click To Tweet

Given for some benefit

Although the readings are focused on the activities of the post Easter events, we see that the coming of the Holy Spirit brings the work and applies benefit to those doing the work of creating the body of Christ. The words of the scriptures are filled with the gifts that the Holy Spirit provides the benefit of building of the body of Christ. Our readings talk about events in the life of Jesus and the Apostles. But we should see it is the gifting of the Spirit that is critical to the life of the church moving forward.

Our readings talk about events in the life of Jesus and the Apostles. But we should see it is the gifting of the Spirit that is critical to the life of the church moving forward. Click To Tweet

From Romans we read, “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them: if prophecy, in proportion to the faith; if ministry, in ministering; if one is a teacher, in teaching; if one exhorts, in exhortation; if one contributes, in generosity; if one is over others, with diligence; if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.(Romans 12:6-8) Paul recognizes the gifts of prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, leadership, mercy. We don’t all have these gifts nor may we have any, but those who do have these gifts must use them for some benefit of the body of Christ.

Paul recognizes the gifts of prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, leadership, mercy. We don’t all have these gifts nor may we have any, but those who do have these gifts must use them for some benefit of the body of… Click To Tweet

If we fill in the verse not included in the second reading from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians we see the gifts given for some benefit. “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.” (1 Corinthians 12:7-11)

We see again the Spirit gives for some benefit to the body of Christ the gifts needed; wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, mighty deeds, prophecy, discernment, varieties of tongues, interpretation of tongues. Again not everyone receives all gifts or even any but the Spirit gives to those the gifts needed for some benefit to the building of the body of Christ.

Even Peter describes gifts received to serve one another. “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace. Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11) Peter pointing out that the gifts we receive are for the benefit of the glory of God through Jesus Christ. We are given gifts for the benefit of the body of Christ.

Peter pointing out that the gifts we receive are for the benefit of the glory of God through Jesus Christ. We are given gifts for the benefit of the body of Christ. Click To Tweet

We must see that the gifts received are for the benefit of the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the life of the body of Christ and we who receive gifts are workers in the efforts of the Spirit. These gifts are not given so we can be individual successes, but that we will give our life for others. We are expected to give our life so that others may be served, and grow in closeness to the Spirit who will bring the message of the gospel to life in them.

We are expected to give our life so that others may be served, and grow in closeness to the Spirit who will bring the message of the gospel to life in them. Click To Tweet

We see many gifts that the Spirit gives for some benefit, all of these gifts are to be used to actively build the body of Christ. As we are moving toward our final week, we will see the message of Jesus, “Give then some food yourselves.” Jesus was a “foot washer” he did, he acted, he served, so that God would be glorified.

We receive from the Spirit gifts for some benefit so we too can be a “foot washer,” to serve, to act on behalf of the Spirit, the worker of the church. We are given gifts to help the Spirit. We are given gifts that are needed and only we can provide. We are given gifts so that the gift we have may be used to build the body of Christ. We must use our gift for the benefit of the work of the Spirit.

We receive from the Spirit gifts for some benefit so we too can be a “foot washer,” to serve, to act on behalf of the Spirit, the worker of the church. Click To Tweet

Give them some food yourselves

We are given gifts to be used to participate in the coming of the Kingdom of God. Jesus message is for us to serve one another. We are to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the ill and visit the prisoner. We are to bring the body of Christ to the people of God. We don’t do this with sacraments and prayers, unless we include washing feet. Jesus was a foot washer. He expects the same from us. If we are not actively, dedicatedly, committedly reaching out to serve we miss use the gifts we are being given. There is no Christian that exists in the dark, the only way to be Christian is to let our light shine so others may see our good deeds.

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