Thanksgiving and Jesus
by Dr. Michael Sharp
Professor of Worship Studies, NOBTS
Learn more about Dr. Sharp, HERE.
Giving Thanks for Our Daily Bread (eucharisteo)
At the very center of living a life devoted to Christ lies the need to depend on God. As Christians, we know that all that we enjoy in life comes from the hand of our loving Heavenly Father. Jesus taught us to pray asking God to provide us our daily bread. The simple act of asking God daily for what we physically need is an acknowledgment of our dependence on Him. We ask, and we receive. Daily dependence and daily provision.
But Jesus also taught a third part to the sequence of asking and receiving: the act of giving thanks for the daily bread we receive was the grateful conclusion to the dialog of asking and receiving. The New Testament, no fewer than ten times, records that Jesus gave thanks for the physical provision God had given. (Contexts of feeding the multitudes; in the Upper Room when he instituted the Lord’s Supper; and at the table with the disciples on the Emmaus Road) (Mt 14:19; Mt 15:36; Mt 26:26-27; Mk 6:41; Mk 8:6-7; Mk 14:22-23; Lk 9:16; Lk 22:17-19; Lk 24:30; Jn 6:11, 23.
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you'” Matthew 26:26-27.
In each instance, as Jesus broke the bread, he took the time to say thank you to the Heavenly Father for providing daily bread. Even as we are dependent upon God for our physical needs, we should take the time to express our gratitude for the wonderful outpouring of His provision. The sequence is complete as we ask, we receive, and we give thanks. This is the mark of a grateful heart.
As we follow Christ’s example in thanksgiving, let’s not forget to express our gratitude for the daily provision we receive each day from the hand of our loving Heavenly Father.
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