Mat 26:27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you;
Mat 26:28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.
Have you ever taken time to consider this moment? Jesus is performing a prophetic act and prophesying His death. This is my body, and it is broken many times over and distributed to each one sitting at the table. And here is this wine that represents his blood. Well, the only time blood flows like wine is under horrific circumstances. Yet in the midst of this prophetic act, Jesus remains thankful. What did Jesus have to be thankful for? Put yourself in His shoes for just a minute. He, being innocent, was about to be brutally murdered to satisfy the penalty against people, most of whom didn’t even care or know that he was even doing it for them. We catch a glimpse of this burden when He is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, begging Father God to take this burden from Him. As if that wasn’t enough, He knows full well that one of the people at the table was about to betray Him and turn Him over to the people who would ultimately crucify him. Have you ever been betrayed by a close friend? I’m just going to go out on a limb and suggest that most of us probably wouldn’t be feeling very thankful. What’s more is that He just spent the last three years sowing His life into a crew of people who will all abandon Him in His hour of greatest need. He isn’t surprised of these events. He prophesies them in advance. He knows full well what’s getting ready to take place. This same crew of people, despite His best efforts, were still utterly clueless about what He was getting ready to undergo, so I am sure He was starting to feel pretty alone. Not only were they clueless about the events that were getting ready to unfold, they were just exasperating in general. You have James and John who were asking to rain down lightening and to kill an entire village. You have Peter, who is being so hardcore used by the devil that Jesus, looking at the person, rebukes the devil. “Satan, get behind me”. The religious leaders, barring the exception of a select few, never did get it. Here He is the savior of the planet standing right in front of them and they don’t recognize Him at all. His earthly ministry was plagued with erroneous and accusatory YouTube videos claiming that He was full of demons. (Ok, so that’s a bit of an embellishment, but you get the picture.) Eventually they strategize on how they can silence and ultimately murder Him. It’s interesting that those making the accusations of demonic influence are in fact the ones under the demonic influence, but they are too deceived to see it. The one group of people who should have seen and understood what was going on, were absolutely clueless. I can’t imagine how incredibly exasperating that would have been. I can imagine that it felt like, to some degree, He had wasted 3 years of ministry on these people. His own family thought that He was nuts. (Mk. 3:21). And apparently Joseph and Marry were pretty homely, because Is. 53 tells us that there was nothing about his appearance that would attract someone to Him. What does Jesus have to be thankful about? I wonder how many of us would be this thankful if we looked around and saw everything that Jesus saw here.
Why wasn’t Jesus complaining to the Father? “I don’t know why you sent me down here. These people are miserable to be around and so far the mission seems to be a failure. Can’t you just pull Me out of here?!”
Thankfulness is all about perspective. There is always more going on at any given time than what you can see with your eyes. In fact, our eyes usually aren’t the best judge for what’s really going on, especially since God operates in the spiritual realm. It is easy for us to look at everything that is going on around us and to begin to believe the worst. But let’s think about it for a second. What reasons would we have to have a more positive outlook in the midst of what looks to be a disaster? Well, in Jesus’ scenario we see that Father God wasn’t done yet. To a large degree, the apostles looked like disasters, but God wasn’t done yet. Eventually they turned the world upside-down, became incredibly powerful, and had thousands and thousands of people get saved under their ministries, including many of the Pharisees and religious leaders. The devil ultimately lost the war, because Jesus rose again, and millions upon millions of believers have multiplied the works of Jesus across the planet for centuries and continue to plunder the enemy’s camp with power and authority. Things might look bleak to you from your perspective, but God’s not done yet. He’s the God who works all things for good. So what did Jesus have to be thankful about? He had a Father who loved Him beyond anything that we can comprehend and who was actively involved in His life. Jesus was thankful because He trusted that the Father was good and that He knew what He was doing. The truth is, you can trust Him too, no matter what is happening circumstantially in your life. If you are looking out and it looks like God has abandoned you, you need to know this. He hasn’t abandoned you. He’s just not done yet.