“Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And He said to them, ‘This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.’” Mark 14:23–24
How amazing it is to see the Son of God, the Creator of all things, giving thanks to the Father for the bread and wine! By His incarnation into flesh and blood, the Lord Jesus partook with us in all the difficulties, demands, and duties of our humanity.
By His mighty act of humility, God the Son stepped down into history (Phil. 2:5–9) to share with us in all that it means to be human: bearing trials, temptations, and sorrow—yet without sin. I believe that this is what the author of Hebrews means when he calls Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2). He is not only the source and object of all that we believe, but in His life, He is the absolute embodiment of faith in action. This is why His very name is “Faithful and True” (Rev. 19:11).
It was necessary that He who cast the stars into space and named them all (Psalm 147:4; Isa. 40:26) should also share in our frailty and understand, by experience, the sorrows that mankind suffers as the consequence of sin. Only in this way could He be perfected as our High Priest (Heb. 5:8–10) and go to the cross “for the joy that was set before Him” (Heb. 12:2), knowing that, by His sacrifice, the debt of sin would be paid, and deliverance from its curse provided.
And so, as He met in the Upper Room on the night before the crucifixion—the night dedicated to the Passover—He took in His hands bread and wine. What thoughts might have passed through His mind as He held those simple emblems? Someone had labored long over the field that raised that wheat. Some woman had likely worked over a hot fire to bake that bread. How much watchfulness and anxiety, perhaps sweat and tears, had gone into that vineyard which produced the wine?
We are simply told, “He [gave] thanks” (Mark 14:23). We are not given His words in that brief prayer of thanksgiving, but we have a hint. He then said, “this is My body … This is My blood of the new covenant” (Mark 14:22, 24). In essence, He was thanking the Father for sending Him into the world to break the bondage of sin and to liberate the human race. Perhaps He was also thinking of the precious gift that the Father had promised to give to Him—the Bride—made up of all who would believe (John 6:37; 10:28–29).
How much greater ought our gratitude be to Him who has done so much for us?
May our Thanksgiving be not one holiday in the year, but rather, a moment-by-moment lifestyle of gratitude and praise to our mighty, yet humble Savior!
In His service,
Gene and Nan