Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you are able to enjoy the holiday and give thanks to God for all that he has done and continues to do in your life.
At the inauguration of the meal that represented his death and resurrection, Jesus gave thanks (Matt. 26:26-29). Knowing that the meal he was about to eat was to become the symbol of his coming suffering and death, he still gave thanks to God for the food before passing it to his disciples. His thankfulness to God for all things shows his complete and total obedience to God. It marks him as the pure and blameless sacrifice who would soon offer himself for the sins of his people. Jesus willingly obeyed God in everything, even to death on the cross.
Even as Christ gave thanks to his Father for his provision of food, we give thanks to God for his provision in Christ to take away our sin. Thankfulness flows from a heart that has been reconciled to God and sees the great beauty and richness of Jesus Christ. John Newton writes,
The cross of Christ displays the Divine perfections with peculiar glory. Here the name of God is revealed, as a just God and a Saviour. Here the believer contemplates, in one view, the unspeakable evil of sin and the unsearchable riches of mercy. This gives him the most affecting sense of the misery which he has deserved, while at the same time he receives the fullest assurance that there is forgiveness with God, and discovers a sure foundation whereon he may build his hope of eternal life, without fear of disappointment. From the moment the apostle Paul was enlightened to understand this mystery of redeeming love, he accounted his former gain but loss; his former supposed wisdom no better than folly, and became determined to know nothing, to depend upon nothing, to glory in nothing, but Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (Jewels from John Newton: Daily Readings from the Works of John Newton, May 30)
Because of Jesus' great sacrifice, we have been given entrance into his courts. As believers living after the time of Christ, we have the privilege of Jesus’ constant intercession in the courts of heaven.
When someone gives us a gift that we weren’t expecting, our usual response is that of praise and thanksgiving. This is especially true for us when we hear the gospel from our generous God. We are told that the first response to the proclamation of the gospel at Pentecost was sharing a meal, providing for the needs of all, and thanksgiving:
And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. (Acts 2: 44-47)
Whenever we hear this great news that God has done precisely what we could not do for ourselves, our hearts are filled again and again with thankfulness, and we respond to him joyfully with praise. How sweet it is to hear of God’s amazing grace in Jesus Christ.
Meditations from the Bible
Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles and the judgments he uttered, O offspring of Israel his servant, children of Jacob, his chosen ones! (1 Chron. 16:8-13)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col. 3:16–17)
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. (2 Cor. 4:13–15)
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17)
Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have
done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole
creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life,
and for the mystery of love.
We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for
the loving care which surrounds us on every side.
We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best
efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy
and delight us.
We thank you also for those disappointments and failures
that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.
Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the
truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast
obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying,
through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life
again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.
Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and
make him known; and through him, at all times and in all
places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.
(“A General Thanksgiving,” Book of Common Prayer)
Listen to Dr. Michael Horton's special Thanksgiving message on the Thanksgiving episode of Core Christianity Radio Show: "Cultivating a Thankful Heart."
Yours in Christ,
The Core Team