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 gave thanks for the bread He multiplied to feed the hungry crowds. In Luke 10, He thanked God that the mysteries of the kingdom are hidden from the learned and were revealed instead to His disciples. In John 11, just before raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus thanked God for hearing Him and said that those gathered would believe that He was sent by the Father. Finally, in Luke 22, during the Passover meal, Jesus thanked God for the bread and the cup, His body and blood.
What do these passages have in common? What does Jesus thank God for in each of them? In a word, communion. Jesus gave thanks for communion between God and man—food for the hungry, truth for the disciple, life for the dead and dying, the body and blood of Christ for sinners. When Jesus gave thanks, He thanked God for being near to His people and His active presence that saves, nourishes, and illuminates us. Jesus thanked God for being near.
For 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 is the greatest gift we’ve ever been given, and Jesus Himself thanked 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’ ” (Luke 22:19). The beautiful image here is that, ultimately, Jesus thanked the Father for His own life. 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 Him as distant from us?
You are not forgotten or overlooked by God. You are an object of His affection. When Jesus thanked God, it was because God had drawn near to us. Be of good cheer—you are loved.