As you gather round family, friends, and food this week to give thanks, let me draw your attention to another table where that happened. Jesus sent some of his disciples ahead to Jerusalem to prepare the last supper. The final passover meal he would share with them before his crucifixion.
I found myself thankful for many things Jesus did at that meal.
Maybe his actions can inspire ours this weekend as we gather around tables of food with family and friends. Here's 5 slices of gratitude found at the last supper.
I'm thankful Jesus served us first. As the meal began, Jesus washed his disciples feet. It was confusing. This was the job of servants, and Jesus was doing it! Peter refused to allow it at first before Jesus insisted. Why? Jesus says in John 13:14, "So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet." Look around at your Thanksgiving celebrations. Who can you serve? Serve them. It expresses your thankfulness for Jesus serving us first.
I'm thankful Jesus shared truthfully. After washing their feet, Scripture says Jesus became troubled in his spirit (John 13:21). He revealed that someone would betray him. Then he exposes Judas. Peter again protests, but Jesus truthfully shares that Peter will eventually deny him. Sharing truthfully can feel like an explosive proposition at family gatherings. We don't have to go around calling people out. But if your spirit becomes troubled by a rejection or dismissal of truth, we'd be wise to ask the Holy Spirit to help us share truthfully.
I'm thankful Jesus made a way to the Father. Jesus shared a vision of heaven that just makes you want to be there. "In [his] Father's house are many rooms," he says (John 14:2)! Philip and Thomas, amongst others we'd presume, want to go there! He teaches them that he is the way, the truth and the life. As you chat with friends and family, if you come across those discouraged by life's circumstances, be sure to remind them the truth to the only way to life: Jesus. I'm not saying don't empathize. I'm saying be sure to call them to faith as you love and care for them. Jesus can help them go places you never can - to the comforting arms of the Father.
I'm thankful Jesus answers prayer. Jesus makes a bold statement in John 14:14: "If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it." Now, that doesn't mean you can tack meaningless words at the end of a prayer and get it. It does mean that as you pray together with your family, you can ask for things that are in the will of God and he will answer. So take a few moments to consider the holy moment you share together with your family when you pray over the meal. You have an opportunity to pray big things with and for your family.
I'm thankful Jesus sent the Spirit. Before leaving the meal, Jesus announces the coming of the Holy Spirit. He came in Acts 2 and now the promises Jesus announced are reality. The Spirit is with believers. He counsels us, comforts us, gives us courage and more. So if this Thanksgiving is a hard one - perhaps it's your first without a loved one, or it brings memories of loved ones past, maybe this year's just been especially difficult - know that as a believer in Jesus, the Spirit is with you. Lean on him more today. Let him comfort you and encourage you and give you a strength that isn't your own. Doing that won't just change your thanksgiving, it will change those around you.
Thank you, Jesus!