Today’s text is from Mark 14:12-26.
And when he had given thanks. We hear this phrase in our reading today and we hear it every week before we have communion – that before Jesus gave the bread and wine to his disciples to eat and drink he first gave thanks.
I find that to be an incredible moment. Now, it’s not unusual for us, we as people, to give thanks – we do it all the time. We give thanks for seeing another day, we give thanks for family, friends, work, freedoms, food – we each have things that we’re thankful for.
But what a humbling reminder to always be thankful that we get from Jesus today. In our narrative timeline we’re only moments away from Jesus being arrested. Jesus’ last moments with his disciples is unfolding before our eyes – and Jesus knows what is going to happen next – he knows that Judas sits at the table with him – that his betrayer is present in the midst of this final and intimate meal shared between friends.
And yet in the midst of impending arrest, trail, and less than 24 hours away from his own death, Jesus gives thanks. Not for all the miracles he performed or all the lives he changed, but instead for the simple elements he held in his hands: Bread and wine.
That the God of all creation – the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end – thought it necessary to give thanks for the meal that was before him. What a powerful statement. That in the midst of impending pain and suffering and death, Jesus didn’t worry, didn’t run, didn’t hide from what he knew was approaching.
Instead, he ate a meal with his friends. He gave thanks for the food that was before them. And so this day we give thanks for the gifts that we have been blessed with – whether they are many or few. For in and through Jesus Christ you have been given the ultimate gift of salvation.
In Jesus Christ you have been made right with God, all your sins have been forgiven, and you have been given grace upon grace, mercy upon mercy, and love upon love. The Savior of the whole world calls you friend. At this table Jesus Christ joins you each and every week providing abundant and overflowing gifts.
And so, we too, can give thanks. We can give thanks for the love and friendship we receive from Jesus. We can give thanks for the forgiveness and salvation. We can give thanks for the breath of life in our bodies. We can give thanks for the creation that surrounds us. We can give thanks for the seemingly small and insignificant things in our lives – like bread and wine – for through Jesus Christ they are transformed into gifts of everlasting life.