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Private Confession: By Appointment

Evening And Morning

July 31, 2021 Pastor: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Christ Lutheran Church
Cleveland, Ohio
August 1, 2021
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Pentecost 10
Evening and Morning

I have heard the complaints of the people of Israel. Say to them: “In the evening you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.” (Exodus 16:12)

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All Scripture is about Christ!

Whether the subject matter is Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar; Moses and Pharoah or Israel in the Wilderness everything in Sacred Scripture teaches us about Jesus, and urges us to put our faith in him who is the Bread of Life. In Christ who is the source, content and substance of life. In Jesus of whom St. John writes: “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 Jn 5:12)

All Scripture is about Christ!

Case in point: today’s Introit from Psalm 78 which liturgizes God who:

rained down on them manna
to eat and gave them the grain
of heaven, so that man ate of
the bread of angels.”

All Scripture is about Christ!

Case in point: today’s Old Testament lesson. What we heard happened just as it is written. But unless we are trained to see Christ in this event it remains little more than a morality tale of a faithless people; and a faithful God. But let us examine things more closely.

The first thing that should jump out at us in our first reading, as heard from the lips of our reverend deacon, is that Israel is spoken of 4 times as a “congregation.” Not simply as a nation, or a race of people – critical though they were to God’s strategy for salvation. But they are spoken of as a religious entity. One that was founded by God. Married to God. And who made solemn promises to be faithful to him: because from this marriage the Savior of the world would be born in the fulness of time. And so as we say: All Scripture is about Christ!

Notice, too, that each day Israel was to go out and gather bread for the day: daily bread we could say. But on the 6th day, Friday, the day on which the Son of God would die on the cross to expiate the sins of the world, they were to gather twice as much. Not only because the next day was the Sabbath, but because by the Lord’s death mankind received double in blessing for all that he lost in sin. (Isaiah 40:2) And so this seemingly insignificant detail also teaches us about the Son of Man who: gives his flesh for the life of the world. (John 6:51)

The order in which God gave his provisions is also noteworthy. They were fed in: the evening and in the morning. In the evening God provided quail. Meat, that is, to nourish them; and in the morning a unique Bread whose source is God. A bread that they called Manna, which means, “what is it?” because they did not know – even as many today do not know, or do not want to know what the Sacrament of the Altar is: the True Bread from heaven. But the scheme of morning and evening is essential to understanding our redemption.

We first encounter this order in Genesis Chapter One where we hear six times: “And there was evening and morning” the first day, the second day and so on.

The same is true about Israel’s worship which was arranged, “from evening till morning.” (Ex. 27:21 et. al.)

In Psalm 30 David writes, “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Ps. 30:5) This too is a prophecy of the cross and resurrection of Jesus.

And now we hear of meat in the evening and bread in the morning, because this order corresponds to our Lord’s death and resurrection; and to the church’s Eucharist by which the benefits and blessings of the Lord’s death, and resurrection are given to us, and by which Christ himself mingles himself with us.

Our Lord died at the 9th hour which was late in the day, an hour so close to evening that they barely had time to take him off the cross, and get him into a tomb before the Sabbath rest began. And so like the Lord’s flesh which was given for the life of the world late in the day, and late in time – the flesh of the quail was also given in the evening, and so as we say: All Scripture is about Christ.

Moreover all 4 of the gospels record the same thing about the Lord’s resurrection, that it took place “very early” on the first day of the week. In the same manner the Bread from heaven was given to God’s people “early in the morning,” while the dew was still on the ground, because all Scripture is about Christ.

But not only about Christ as a notion or a talking point; but also about Christ in active and powerful in the Sacraments by which we obtain the remission of sins and birth into an enduring and resplendent world without end.

For the last 2 weeks, today, and the next 2 weeks as well, the church turns our focus particularly to Holy Communion so that we might understand that it is the “good and perfect gift that comes down from above, from the Father of lights” (James 1). That it is the Living Bread from heaven that constitutes and defines us as the baptized children of God; and as heirs of God; and that makes us superior to death, and gives us indestructible life.

And so while it is true that all Scripture is about Christ more needs to be said! Because as we cannot have God without Christ, nor can we have Jesus without the Sacrament of his Body and Blood. The case is just as the Lord says,
"…unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood you have no life in you.” (John 6:53)

And so let us never complain like Israel of old, but let us be like the few in today’s gospel on whom the light dawned, and who prayed: “Lord, give us this bread perpetually!”

It is a prayer that the Lord has answered for us countless times, and will again in a few moments as we kneel at his altar: which is his empty tomb. And so hear the word of the Lord: "I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never hunger and he who believes in me will never thirst." (John 6:35). Amen.