“And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it.” – Matt. 26:27
We’re told of three specific times in the life of our Lord when He gave thanks to His Father. I feel sure these were not the only times, but they were the only ones the Holy Spirit has set down for us in the written Word of God. The first is found in Matthew 11:25 and Luke 10:21, where He Jesus was so overwhelmed in spirit that God would choose to reveal Himself to the lowly and untrained (mere “babes”) instead of the worldly wise and lofty. Then again in Matthew 15:36 and Mark 8:6, on the occasion of the feeding of the four thousand. Here too, He “gave thanks.” But it’s the third occurrence which has drawn my attention today, this day before Thanksgiving.
We’re told that before partaking of both the bread and the cup at the Passover with His disciples the night of His arrest, Jesus Christ “gave thanks” (Matt. 26:27; Luke 22:19). Knowing what the bread and the cup represented – His soon to be broken body and poured out blood – He raises a prayer of thanksgiving to His Father. Even knowing He would suffer betrayal, mockery, torture, and abandonment from both man and God, Jesus Christ, the Man, was able to see past the Cross to His restored seating place “at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2). He was able to see past the pain to the joy.
Are we? I wonder. Thanksgiving is a time to remember both the blessings and trials that have brought us to where we are today. But what about the future; can we thank God by faith for what may lie ahead? Paul “reckoned” that the sufferings of this life weren’t even worthy to be compared with all the glory that will one day be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18). Is this not something for which to be thankful too?
Oh, I want to be thankful by faith…today, tomorrow, and always!