By Russ Ramsey
Do you ever feel alone? Overlooked? Forgotten by God? Today’s Scripture readings are an assurance that you are not.
In Matthew 15, Jesus gives thanks for the bread He is about to multiply to feed the hungry crowds. In Luke 10, He thanks God that the mysteries of the kingdom of God are hidden from the learned, and are revealed instead to His disciples. In John 11, just before raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus thanks God for hearing Him, and says He is praying aloud so that those gathered will believe that He and the Father are one. Finally, in Luke 22, we come to the institution of the Lord’s Supper, where Jesus thanks God for the bread and the cup, which represent His body and blood.
What do these passages have in common? What is Jesus thanking God for in each of them? In a word, communion. Jesus gives thanks for communion between God and man. When Jesus gives thanks, He thanks God for being near to His people—for being not only present, but active in a saving, nourishing, and illuminating way. Food for the hungry. Truth for the disciple. Healing for the dead and dying. The body and blood of Christ for sinners. Jesus thanks God for being near.
The beautiful irony here is that, ultimately, Jesus is thanking the Father for His own incarnation. He would feed the hungry, draw His children near, raise the dead, and deliver us from our sin. He would be with us. He would make Himself known. For this, Jesus thanked His Father. If this is what Jesus gives thanks for, why would we imagine He is distant?
Ponder that, you who feel alone in the world. You who feel overlooked, forgotten, and cast aside—consider that when the Son of God gave thanks to the Father, it was for the opportunity to draw near to us and to respond to our deepest needs. The Son of God incarnate is the greatest gift we’ve ever been given, and Jesus Himself thanks God for this gift. “He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘This is my body, which is given for you’” (Lk 22:19).
You are not forgotten or overlooked by God. You are an object of His affection. When Jesus thanked God, it was because He had drawn near to us. Be of good cheer. You are loved.
Written by Russ Ramsey