“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. John 17:20-21
Written by Michael Herbert
One of the attributes of Jesus, I deeply admire was to think of others while going through agonizing pain. When we look at the cross and realize he thought of the salvation of a man who was dying next to him rather than concentrate on his own state. He said to the dying thief, Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43. Wow, what an incredible statement as he was about to die. It was Jesus who never missed an opportunity to lead someone to the cross, It was Jesus who knew the extent of his blood would pay for the sins of mankind. He had asked the father if there was another means the sins of mankind could be justified, the answer was a resounding… no!.
In our key verses today Jesus gives thanks to the father for many things that take up a chapter of John seventeen. My prayer partner indicated to me, Jesus gave thanks for those who were yet to be saved. I asked God why Jesus, would he give thanks to the future when the Holy Ghost would come at Pentecost and he would live in the hearts of the new believers? The best answer I can think of is this. Remember when Jesus asked Peter, who do men say that I am?, So, they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. Matthew 16:14-17 There is a special blessing that is bestowed on a man or woman when they realize their lostness and muster with all their will to be saved. Some folks have a hard imagining that God does not violate your will. Jesus gets excited for all those who, when hearing the Holy Spirit tug at their heart surrender their lives for the kingdom of God. The revelation of who Jesus is, not a natural thing for Peter to know, however, when the Holy Spirit gave it to him and he agreed in his heart, the answer flowed through Peter’s mouth that indeed Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ.
For 3 or 3 1/2 years, it seemed like a failed ministry as people continually rejected the good news and stayed in their dead dried up religion that offered nothing, but bondage. The more he wanted to press in, the more they wanted to kill him. Jesus was very thankful for those who walked out of the dark and into the light. Jesus was thankful his life made a difference in an individual’s life. Jesus was thankful he could be the person who could redeem mankind. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.Hebrews 12:2 Many a good man or woman of God would consider that a failed ministry, however, God has seasons where fallow ground is being broken up for salvation to come at another time.
Thanksgiving, as the original settlers saw it was a way to celebrate and be thankful to God. They realized their whole existence was because a loving God. Although the Pilgrims came in 1620 and held the First, Thanksgiving shortly thereafter, the national holiday which we celebrate didn’t come into existence until 1863. But America was not without Thanksgiving celebrations in the intervening years. As the quotes below demonstrate, days of prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving became a frequent part of American life, particularly during the Revolutionary War. This Thanksgiving, perhaps we would do well to go beyond our surface gratitude for things like “turkey,” “pie,” and “not having to wash the dishes,” and instead consider many of the benefits they included in their Thanksgiving lists.
“Resolved, That … Wednesday, the 30th day of December next, to be observed as a day of public thanksgiving and praise, that all the people may, with united hearts, on that day, express a just sense of his unmerited favors; particularly in that it hath pleased him, by his overruling providence, to support us in a just and necessary war, for the defense of our rights and liberties, by affording us seasonable supplies for our armies, by disposing the heart of a powerful monarch to enter into alliance with us, and aid our cause; by defeating the councils and evil designs of our enemies, and giving us victory over their troops; and, by the continuance of that union among these states, which, by his blessing, will be their future strength and glory.” – U.S. Congress, November 1778 (a)
This Thanksgiving, let us give thanks to God for sending us his son and giving us life. Every day should be a day of thanksgiving for all that he does for us, Would you and I, remember every day in prayer the Lord’s goodness in our lives with Thanksgiving in our heart.