Today, we observe the Lord’s Supper and I want us to focus on the power of giving thanks to God.
Someone once said, “I may not be where I want to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be.” As we think through the Lord’s Supper we are going to encounter that truth. When we observe the Lord’s Supper we not only think about what Jesus went through on the cross, but we remember what He has done for us and in us because of the cross and resurrection.
Someone else once said, “The best way to show my gratitude to God is to accept everything, even my problems, with joy.” We will see this today. We will see Jesus give thanks for something very difficult that was about to happen to Him.
Let’s get started.
When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table. 15 Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. 16 For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” 17 Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.” 19 He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you. (Luke 22:14-20, NLT)
As we observe the Lord’s Supper and remember some important things about Jesus, I want us to focus on being thankful. There are a lot of things we can be thankful about when it comes to Jesus, but I want to mention three today.
Give thanks for God’s blessings
First, be thankful for God’s blessings. The context of Luke 22 is the Passover meal. During a typical Passover Meal there were four significant cups that symbolized different things. Luke mentions two of them. This first cup is known as the cup of blessing. This is the cup of wine Jesus took in verse 17 and gave thanks to God for it. The Greek word used for gave thanks (eucharisteo) means to acknowledge how good grace is![i] One of the purposes of the Lord’s Supper is for you to remember the grace of God and the blessings of God that come into your life because of what Jesus did on the cross.
Keep in mind that everything Jesus is doing at the Passover meal has a symbolic meaning to it. I want you to notice that Jesus says to the disciples, Take this [cup of blessing, cup of grace] and share it among yourself. So the disciples take this large cup and drink from it. Passing it from one disciple to another. They share it among themselves. That physical act is an object lesson for two things.
First, it is a picture of unity among believers. They are all drinking and receiving the same cup of blessings. As followers of Jesus, we have all experienced the same grace from the same Lord, the same forgiveness from the same Lord, we all have received a new heart from the same Lord, we have all become new creations from the same Lord… we have all shared the same cup of blessings. You are going to have some believers in your life that are difficult and divisive, but one of the purposes of the Lord’s Supper is to remind you of what you have in common with other believers rather than what you are divided over. “Take this cup of blessing and this cup of grace and share it among yourselves. Because I blessed you, you bless others. Because I have shown you grace, you show grace to others. Share it among yourselves.”
Another thing about this cup of blessing and grace is it reminds us to be thankful. We live in a world where being critical, judgmental, unthankful, ungrateful and easily offended is popular and highlighted. As followers of Jesus, we are to be thankful. Jesus took this cup of grace and blessing and gave thanks for it. Listen carefully, one of the significant pieces of evidence that you are growing spiritually in Christ is thankfulness. Let me prove it to you; listen to Colossians 2:6, “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness” (vs. 6-7, NLT). Be that person who walks into the room with gratefulness and thankfulness. Be that student who has gratitude rather than an attitude. Be that thankful spouse, thankful employee, and thankful son or daughter. Be grateful, appreciate what you have, value what you have. Don’t focus on what you don’t have, but focus on what you do have. Pay attention to the blessings God gives you and less attention to the problems the world gives you.
As you remember Jesus, let it move you to be more thankful for the blessings you to have.
Give thanks for God’s sacrifice
As you observe the Lord’s Supper and think about what Christ has done for you, be thankful for God’s blessings and number two, be thankful for God’s sacrifice.
In verse 19 Luke says, “He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me’” (NLT). Jesus would often use object lessons to help people understand who He was. Jesus referred to Himself as a door (John 10:9) and a vine (John 15:5) to name two. Here, Jesus takes this loaf of bread and says, “This is my body, which is given for you.”
There is something significant going on here that we cannot see, but let’s see if we can see it. Remember, this is the Passover Meal and the bread they used was a special kind of bread prepared in a special kind of way. When the loaf was finished it would be a solid loaf of bread that had been cut along the top. It would look like it had stripes (like with cuts on it), it was also pierced in the preparation process, and cooked or burned in such a way that it would appear bruised. Jesus holds this piece of bread up in front of His disciples – this bread that has strips on it, been pierced, and has the appearance of being bruised and says, “This is my body, which is given for you.”
Now listen to Isaiah 53:5, which is a prophecy about Jesus, “But He was wounded [pierced] for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (NKJV). Jesus held up a loaf of bread that perfectly symbolized what was about to happen to Him and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Here is the crazy thing about this. This bread that represents the torture, abuse, rejection, and all that sin can throw at Jesus on the cross, Jesus gave thanks to God for it. Jesus is not thanking God for the process, but thanking God for the results. To get to something good Jesus knew, just like this bread He was holding, He would need to be pierced, bruised, and whipped. He was thanking God for the result of what was about to happen.
So, I have a question for you and for me. Can you thank God ahead of time for the results that will come from the pain and heartache you are going through? Can you hold up a symbol of your pain and thank God for it? You may not be thankful for the process, but are you thankful for the results that it will produce? Jesus knew that the pain He would endure would be a blessing to many and He was thankful for that. The pain you are currently enduring will be a blessing for many as well. You will be deeper, more mature, and more like Christ on the other side of it.
In some ways, Jesus was thanking God for the opportunity to sacrifice for the benefit of others. To follow Jesus, we need to learn the same, which will make you a greater blessing to others.
Give thanks for God’s covenant
As you take the Lord’s Supper, and you remember what Christ has done for you let it cause you to be thankful. Be thankful for God’s blessings. Be thankful for God’s sacrifice. And number three, be thankful for God’s covenant. Mark then says in verse 20, After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you” (NLT). In the Bible there is the Old Covenant and a New Covenant. The Old Covenant is described in the Old Testament. The New Covenant is described in the New Testament. The Old Covenant was a picture and pointed to the New Covenant. The New Covenant brings about a new way of approaching and a new relationship with God. This new approach and new relationship with God happened because of Jesus.
Remember, there were four cups used during the Passover Meal. Here Jesus takes another cup of win and uses it as an object lesson to move His disciples from Old Testament thinking to New Testament thinking. From Old Covenant to New Covenant thinking. Instead of God being unapproachable He is now approachable. Instead of there being a barrier between you and God there is an open door. Instead of living by religious laws, you live by grace.
In this New Covenant with God, God is all in on you. In this New Covenant God says “I’m going to remove your sins from you as far as the East is from the West. I’m going to adopt you into My family and you will receive all the benefits of being one of My children. I will never leave you. I will never let anyone or anything take you from Me. Nothing or no one will be able to snatch you out of My hand.” In the New Covenant you get God’s best. He is for you, not against you. In this New Covenant God will give you the strength, wisdom, and understanding to walk by faith in this life. In this New Covenant God also provides you with all of heaven when you leave this life.
God’s Word has a lot to say about this New Covenant, but let me show you two verses regarding this new covenant.
- Romans 11:27 says, “And this is my covenant with them, that I will take away their sins” (NLT). I have already mentioned this, but I think some of you need this highlighted. God has made a decision about your sin. When you placed your faith in Jesus for salvation and you acknowledged His Lordship over your life, God decided to take away your sin (past, present, and future) and give you the perfect righteousness of Jesus. This is what the Bible calls justified. You stand before God as though you have never sinned. Your sins have been taken away. You are forgiven. You are free. You are pardoned. Because of the New Covenant, God has “taken away” your sins, and because of the New Covenant, God will never give them back.
- 2 Corinthians 3:6 says, “He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life” (NLT). As a follower of Jesus, you are a “minister” and servant of this “new covenant.” This means you willingly place yourself under the authority of this new covenant with God so that you represent this new covenant to others, and you share the goods of this new covenant with others. You are a minister of this new covenant that God provides to others who place their faith in Him.
One of the things a minister of this new covenant does is to be thankful for it.
Conclusion / Lord’s Supper
Today, as you take the Lord’s Supper I want you to be thankful. I want you to thank God for the blessings in your life, the sacrifice Jesus paid for your new life, and for the covenant that God has made with you. Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
At this time I would like the band to join me.
This morning the Lord’s Supper will be up to you. I want to encourage you to take a moment and pause and talk to God. Praise Him, thank Him, confess to Him, ask Him to help you repent of your sin and ask Him what He wants to do in your life. Talk to Him.
When the band begins to play in a moment and when you are ready, you can come up to the front to one of the tables. The bread represents His body which He sacrificed for you and the juice represents His blood he shed for you. You can receive the Lord’s Supper up here or you can take it back to your seat. It’s up to you. You can eat or drink when you are ready.
I encourage you to be in a prayerful attitude as you receive the Lord’s Supper. We are not in a hurry. Take some time and slow down. Fix your heart and mind on God this morning.
When you are done you can place the cups in the trash cans on the way out.
When the band begins to play you can begin to come and when we are done I will come back and close out our services. Band you can begin to play.
- Do you think observing the Lord’s Supper should encourage you to be a more thankful follower of Jesus? If so, why or why not?
- In the introduction, there is a quote that reads, “The best way to show my gratitude to God is to accept everything, even my problems, with joy.” What is your reaction or thoughts to that?
- The cup of wine in verse 17 is believed to be the first cup of four symbolic cups used at the Passover meal. It is known as the cup of blessing. How has God blessed you? How does the Lord supper help remind you of your blessings?
- Jesus told the disciples to take the cup of blessing and “share it among themselves.” What does this say about our unity as believers? How do we share in the same blessings? why is this important?
- In verse 19, Jesus held up a loaf of bread and said, “This is my body, which is given for you.” How did Jesus give His body for us? What does Isaiah 53:5 teach us about Jesus’ sacrifices?
- We are also told that Jesus “gave thanks to God for” the bread (which represented His sacrifice). What does this teach us about being grateful to God for our sacrifices for Him and others?
- In verse 20, Jesus took another cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and His people….” What is the “new covenant”? What was the old covenant?
- How does the Lord’s Supper help you to remember the new covenant? Why is it important that you are reminded of the new covenenat between you and God?
- What personal application do you see regarding the new covenant based on Romans 11:27 and 2 Corinthians 3:6?
[i] Eucharisteo (eu = good + charis = grace, thereby you have good grace).