Have you ever had an experience when someone said something that sounded profound, but you didn't know why it struck you so intensely? This happens to me sometimes and when it does, I store it away in the back of my mind and then revisit it occasionally until I can see what is profound about it. This happened to me after a comment my friend Lesley Whitney made about a passage of scripture during one of our Thursday night prayer meetings. I knew it was important but I couldn't get a grasp on what it was that God wanted me to see. Although that comment was made a long time ago, it finally struck me this week. Let's listen the passage together and then I'll share with you how that insight came to me:
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (1 Cor. 11:23-24 English Standard Version)
You remember this passage, right? Paul is telling the congregation in Corinth about the nature of the Lord's Supper on the night when He was betrayed. At the Bible study, my friend reminded us that God doesn't say anything that isn't important; so the question: why did God have Paul begin by telling us that this memorial event took place on the night when Jesus was betrayed? Last week, it suddenly dawned on me: on the night that Jesus was betrayed…He gave thanks. Jesus knew what His manner of death would be, since He had been telling the disciples all about it. He knew his death was going to be terrible. Worse, Jesus knew His betrayer would be His disciple and friend, Judas. He knew how the whole thing was going to play out and yet, in the midst of this distressing moment and the trials he knew were ahead, Jesus still gave thanks. I'm talking to someone today. You are going through a troubling time right now and the future doesn't look very bright. The cross wasn't the end of Jesus' journey and your trouble isn't the end of your journey, either. Three days after Jesus' betrayal and death He would rise, ascend to glory, and reign as King of the Universe. Let me encourage you to stop whatever you're doing right now and give thanks.
Jesus gave thanks and is alive and at work...and that's very Good News!