Readings for the 9th Sunday after Pentecost

Matthew 14:13-21; Romans 9:1-5; Isaiah 55:1-5

Sometimes, love is a plate of cookies. Or a bag of sweetcorn. Or a hamburger casserole. Have any of these ever shown up at your door out of the blue? I’m guessing they have. I like to think of food as the sixth love language. Sunday’s readings show that this has been true since Biblical times.

Back when the LORD was preparing the people of Israel to welcome their Savior, He spoke as if He were inviting them to a free and lavish feast: “Come…and eat!” (Is 55).

The metaphorical language of Isaiah becomes wonderfully literal in Matthew’s Gospel when Jesus feeds a hungry crowd of 5,000+ people, using just five loaves of bread and two fish. The punchline of that story – “And they all ate and were (according to the Greek word used here) completely satisfied.” (Mt 14). Wherever Jesus is the host, the cups of his guests “runneth over”.

In the Epistle reading for Sunday, the apostle Paul describes his own anguished love for the Jewish people as the original recipients of divine grace and promise. Their failure to believe in Jesus as the Messiah, Paul assures us, is not a failure of God’s Word. But it does expose the gulf between a righteousness of the law and a righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ (Rom 9).