Monday, November 22, 2010

A Thankful Savior

    "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes" (Matthew 11:25).
    Eleven times in the New Testament, the Lord Jesus Christ is recorded as giving thanks to His Father.  "I live by the Father" declared our Lord, whose grateful heart now inhabits the spirits of those who believe.
    "Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father" (Galatians 4:6).*
     Thanksgiving as known and practiced by believers begins with God, that is, with the second person of the triune Godhead, the Lord Jesus, and with the third person, the Holy Spirit.  The latter inhabits us for the sublime purpose of revealing the character, nature, and disposition of the former.  Gratitude is a primary feature so revealed, first during the earthly sojourn of our Savior's personal human life, and now during His sojourn of grace as Christ dwells and walks within us (II Corinthians 6:16).
     Thanksgiving takes on a different and greater meaning when we realize it to be the expression of Christ in us.  It becomes a matter of faith as we trust the Holy Spirit to lead and enable us to "walk, even as Christ walked" (I John 4:19).  In terms of our present consideration, He leads us to give thanks, even as Christ gave thanks.  Genuine, heartfelt gratitude therefore grants to us tangible spiritual experience of our Lord, whether or not we are consciously aware of it as it happens.  The grateful heart of the Lord Jesus is revealed in us, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are glorified as an eternally ancient relationship of giving, receiving, and giving thanks becomes localized in our trusting hearts and upon our thanking lips.
   I have often said that I would love to have been a fly on the wall, as it were, witnessing the life of the Lord Jesus, as did His disciples.  This is particularly true regarding His prayers, and what an experience it would have been to have heard Him giving thanks.  However, our present opportunity of His grateful heart manifested in us allows for an even greater experience of the Lord Jesus.  Rather than a fly on the wall, we are sons and daughters in Christ, and with Christ dwelling in us.  In as sense, our Father grants to us the privilege of hearing His Son give thanks.  Only now it is manifested in us and by us as we respond to the moving of our Lord's Spirit dwelling within us.  This is a far greater thing, and the answer to our Savior's prayer for us recorded in John 17:
"O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee: but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me. And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them."
(John 17:25-26)

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