“And [Jesus] took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drink of it.
And he said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.’”
While the act of giving thanks was likely expressed by Jesus at every meal, my heart is stirred that perhaps this particular moment felt very different to our Savior.
In giving thanks for this cup, He was giving thanks for that which symbolized His blood that was very soon to be poured out.
And I wonder… what might He have struggled with in that moment, as He drew His breath to speak? Was there a shift in the atmosphere, a felt gravity or wrestling, as Jesus chose praise and thanksgiving for something that conveyed the agony and sacrifice He was about to experience? Did His voice tremble with the weight of it?
This was His whole purpose in coming. The accomplishing of the Father’s will, the saving victory for those who would come to believe in Him. As Jesus had said in those final days, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified…Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour” (John 12:23,27).
He was set. Determined. This was His purpose, and He would fulfill it to the uttermost.
But oh, let us not miss His humanity in these moments. His soul was troubled, knowing the time drew near. After this final supper shared with His closest disciples and friends, Jesus went to the garden to pray, even as His accusers gathered to find and arrest Him. Fervent, heart-wrenching prayers. Crying out for deliverance from this cup of wrath, if there was any other way for our salvation (Matthew 26:38-39). In such agony that His sweat became as drops of blood (Luke 22:44).
This was not a light matter to our Savior, facing the cross. He knew what was in store.
Yet He gave thanks. For this cup of wine that symbolically held His blood of the new covenant. He gave thanks to the Lord, knowing He was the Lamb whose blood would seal our eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12).
Behold His great love for us, that He would give thanks even knowing what it would cost Him, satisfied in His anguish because it would provide for our salvation (Isaiah 53:11).
Behold also His commitment to bless the Lord and give thanks to Him in all circumstances.
Fully God, yes, and also fully man. With all the emotions and struggles we face.
This is what makes Him our perfect Savior, Intercessor, and Help. He has experienced it all (Hebrews 5:7-9).
In our battles when we struggle to fathom giving thanks for that which feels unspeakably wrong, our Savior understands. He has been there. He has wrestled through it. And He won.
He knows, and He can strengthen. He can show you how to do what feels impossible: how to give thanks to the Lord in the midst of your deepest, darkest trial.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace,
that we may receive mercy and find Grace to help in time of need.”