Summary: Discover how to bring blessing, oneness and wholeness through a spirit of thanksgiving.
THE POWER OF THANKSGIVING
John 6:1-13, 35
Thanksgiving comes from the Greek word Eucharist. Although not a common term amongst many modern evangelistic churches today it relates to one of the oldest experiences of Christian worship, the remembering and celebration of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ. This sermon discovers the power of thanksgiving and its effect upon our daily Christian living.
A SPIRIT OF THANKSGIVING BRINGS BLESSING
John 6:11 Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks (Eucharist) to God, and passed them out to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate until they were full.
This miracle of multiplication and addition is a result of the supernatural breaking into the natural. Not only did God’s power produce enough food to feed five thousand people, not counting the women and children, but there were twelve baskets of left over, twelve tribes of Israel - in effect, this story tells us that there enough leftovers for all of God’s people.
It takes faith at times to have an attitude of thanksgiving but God rewards our faith by doing more than we could ever imagine.
A SPIRIT OF THANKSGIVING BRINGS ONENESS
John 6:11 And they all ate
There were two ideologies regarding food in Jewish culture that are even relevant today. You are what you eat and who you ate with, we are talking about purity, about keeping kosher. It wasn’t just the ingredients that could make the food - and you - impure; it was also the hands passing the food. Eat impure food, and you’re impure. Eat with a rebellious son or a tax collector and you’re not going to be seen as being any more honorable than they are.
There are only two ways to be sure that what you’re getting is kosher. One is to be hovering over everything on the ingredient list, making sure that no surface has been contaminated. The other is if you know your host family and trust they know how to keep their kitchen and prepare their food.
Strangers brought the bread to Jesus, who blessed and broke it ... and handed the pieces to the disciples, who handed them to others in the crowd, who handed them to others, countless pairs of hands touched it before it got to you. Take that bread, and you’re taking into yourself not just what was in the field where the wheat was grown and in the kitchen when it was baked, but also what was on the hands of every person in the crowd. But all ate…….five thousand people were willing to receive not only Jesus and the bread that he blessed, but also the strangers with whom they shared it. Every one of them became, on that dusty hillside, one with every other. Distinctions between Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female, priest and tax collector -- indeed, all the distinctions around which wars were fought between nations, families, and brothers -- just didn’t count any more.
In the feeding of the five thousand a spirit of thanksgiving overcame prejudice, rejection, fear and pride to become one.
A SPIRIT OF THANKSGIVING BRINGS WHOLENESS
John 6:35 Jesus replied, "I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever be hungry again. Those who believe in me will never thirst.
1 Cor. 11:23-25 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."
There are two senses to remembering: the sense of bringing to mind a time or place or person from the past and the sense of healing, or putting the pieces back together – re-membering.
In communion, or Eucharist, the central sacrament of our faith, we re-member Jesus. “Take and eat this in remembrance of Christ,” we are told. “Drink this in remembrance of Christ.” With these symbolic acts, we remember Him and seek to make His Word a living presence in our lives. And, by remembering Him, we open ourselves to grace – the realization that God re-members us making us whole through His Divine work on the Cross.
Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
Acts 17:28 For In Him we live and move and have our being