Summary: A Communion sermon designed to provoke thankfulness by sharing the Good News of God’s grace and salvation.
THANKFUL? FOR WHAT!?
Sermon Objective: A Communion sermon designed to provoke thankfulness by sharing the Good News of God’s grace and salvation.
Thankful? For What!?
Those were the words of an acquaintance of mine. I will never forget them.
From his vantage point there was very little, if anything, to be thankful about in life. From my vantage point, he had plenty to be thankful for.
I have discovered that thankfulness is more a matter of character and choice than it is life circumstances. No one better illustrates that to me than Jesus Himself.
Listen to this lengthy story from Mark 14. While doing so, place yourself in Jesus’ shoes and see if you can find reason to be thankful.
1Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him. 2"But not during the Feast," they said, "or the people may riot."
3While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
4Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, "Why this waste of perfume? 5It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor." And they rebuked her harshly.
6"Leave her alone," said Jesus. "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."
10Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
12On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, "Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?"
13So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14Say to the owner of the house he enters, ’The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there."
16The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
17When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. 18While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me."
19They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, "Surely not I?"
20"It is one of the Twelve," he replied, "one who dips bread into the bowl with me. 21The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."
22While they were eating, Jesus took bread, GAVE THANKS and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take it; this is my body."
23Then he took the cup, GAVE THANKS and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.
24"This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them. 25"I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God."
26When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
In many circles the Lord’s Supper is known as the “Eucharist.” The word comes from verse 23 and means “thanksgiving. It is called the “Eucharist” because of Jesus’ thankfulness and demeanor of gratitude.
The Eucharist (communion) has always been a central point in the life and worship of the church. It seems ironic on this dismal day from the last week of Jesus’ life … only 24 hours away from His death. But, yes, there were reasons that inspired Jesus (and us) to give thanks.