Every week, you hear these words: the same night in which Jesus was betrayed, He took bread and gave thanks. At the very moment when Jesus was about to be betrayed, He gave thanks. When Jesus was about to go to His death, He gave thanks. When He was about to be falsely accused, slandered, mocked, abandoned by His closest friends, He gave thanks. When He was about to suffer for the sins of His people, He gave thanks.
Hebrews says that it was for the joy set before Him, that Jesus endured the cross, despising its shame (Heb. 11:2). Why did Jesus give thanks? Because of the joy that was coming. What was that joy? The resurrection, the salvation of the world, sins forgiven, all things made right, all things made new, every knee bowed, every tongue confessing Christ to the glory of the Father.
But Jesus also gave this meal to us. Every week you face challenges and difficulties and troubles, but here you are on the first day of the week, looking out at all of them. Some of them you know are coming Ė old familiar trials, troubles, temptations, difficulties, and some of them you donít know yet. And Jesus calls you to follow Him and imitate Him with them all by giving thanks now. But how can you give thanks for this coming weekís trouble?
This bread is the body of Jesus broken for you, but never underestimate those two wonderful word: for you. That doesnít mean that Jesus died vaguely for a bunch of sins. He didnít give His life vaguely for you. You werenít just a name on a list. He gave His life intentionally for you. He gave His life with all of your sins and all of your troubles in mind.
This is what it means to be a Christian. It means that Christ has claimed you and took responsibility for you and all of your sin and failures and troubles and challenges. When Jesus gave thanks on the night He was betrayed, He was giving thanks for the victory He was about to accomplish over all our trouble.
So the exhortation here is not to be really tough this week because Jesus sets a good example of being tough. No, the exhortation here is to†receive†Christís victory over all your trouble. His death made a way through it all. His blood threads a perfect path through it all. He is the Way through it all: He is the way through sickness and suffering, the way through confession and forgiveness, the way through financial crisis, the way through every trouble. And here at this table, He gives you tokens of His victory: His life for yours, His life ransomed for yours, not just for the beginning of your Christian life, but for the whole thing: all the obedience, all the holiness, all the wisdom you will ever need, and glory forever. So come and give thanks.
And come and welcome, to Jesus Christ.†