Learning about Thanksgiving from Jesus

November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving is a prime occasion for believers to praise and thank God for all His benefits to them. Jesus teaches us to be thankful for something that probably not many believers often praise God for doing.

The Preceding Successful Mission of the Seventy

Prior to Luke’s recording that Jesus gave thanks to God for something that many believers likely rarely praise God for, Luke records Jesus’ instruction to the seventy after they had returned from their mission:

Luk 10:17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. 18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. 19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

With these words, Jesus taught these believers that they should not rejoice that they had power over demonic spirits but rather they should rejoice that their names are written in heaven.

I have heard other believers praise and thank God a number of times for the glorious truth that their names are written in heaven, and I often do so as well in my prayers. Thanksgiving is a prime occasion for us to thank God for this wonderful reality!

A Striking Record of Jesus’ Giving Thanks to God

After his instruction to the seventy who returned from their successful mission, Jesus uttered some striking words. These statements reveal profound things that Jesus praised and thanked God for doing:

Luk 10:21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.

In exultant gratitude to the Father, Jesus praised Him as the Lord of heaven and earth that He had both hidden certain things from certain people and revealed those things to others. Jesus then expressed His assent to the Father’s doing these things that were good in His (the Father’s) sight.

A full exposition of these statements from Jesus would require a lengthy treatment; what is unmistakable from this teaching without such a full treatment is that Jesus was thanking God for hiding His truth from certain people and revealing it to others! What Jesus said next to the Father confirms this interpretation:

 Luk 10:22 All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.

Jesus thus thanked God not only for revealing Himself to certain people but also for His hiding true knowledge of Himself from others!

What Believers Should Praise and Thank God for Doing

Based on this passage, believers should be like Jesus by giving thanks to the Father for revealing things to them that they would never have been able to know had He not seen fit to do so. They should also give thanks to the Son for revealing the Father to them.

Should believers also be like Jesus by giving thanks to the Father for hiding things from other people, specifically “the wise and prudent”? Giving God thanks for doing this may go strongly counter to the thinking of even many believers, but Jesus’ perfect example in doing so means that they must learn from Him to honor God by also thanking Him for concealing His truth from the people that He has seen fit to do so.

Rajesh

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