Thankfulness was a way for Jesus. He proclaimed His thankfulness publicly so we would learn to live a live full of thankfulness to God. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we become His followers, His disciples. We are called to become more Christlike as we mature in our faith. Do we as His followers live a life of thankfulness as He did?
The Bible records Jesus giving thanks to God, His Father four times. The first time is in Matthew 11 and Luke 11. “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.” (Luke 10:21 NKJV)
If you ever wondered why those who are wise and clever in their own eyes don’t believe in God, we find the answer in Luke 10. Jesus thanked God for hiding the truth from their eyes. He also thanked God for revealing the truth to those who have childlike faith.
Jesus thanked our Heavenly Father before He fed the 5,000. The Gospel of Matthew records, “And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude.” (Matthew 15:36 NKJV) This is also found in Mark 8:6 and John 6:11.
Jesus gave thanks to God, His Father, for hearing and answering His prayers. The Gospel of John records, “Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.”” (John 11:41-42 NKJV)
We can learn for our passage in John 11, that having a thankful heart when we go before our Heavenly Father in prayer makes for a powerful prayer. Many people thank God after He has answered our prayers. Do we follow Jesus’ example and thank God when we first ask for a supplication in prayer?
When we go before God’s throne of Grace and Mercy, we can have the same degree of gratitude and confidence Jesus did, that God will hear and answer our prayers. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, “For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:13-16 NKJV)
The fourth example of Jesus giving thanks is at the Last Supper. The Gospel of Luke record, “Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves.” (Luke 22:17 NKJV) As Jesus followers, we should have a Lifestyle of Thanksgiving, not just be thankful one day a year.
Pastor Timothy Hammond
Oak Street Baptist Church