This week, our Pause Bible Reading Plan takes us to the end of the Gospel of John. As I was reviewing the biblical text for this devotional, I read about Jesus’ arrest and Peter’s denials in John 18, our Lord’s crucifixion in John 19, the glorious resurrection in John 20 and Jesus’ reinstatement of Peter in John 21, and I couldn’t get the following verse from 1 Corinthians out of my head…
“Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ?” — 1 Corinthians 10:16
I probably got stuck on this verse, because this week is Thanksgiving. I don’t know about you, but I was not ready for Thanksgiving to come around so early—in fact, I’ve discovered this is the earliest Thanksgiving can ever fall in any given year—and maybe because of that, it caught me off guard…and maybe because of that, I could be tempted to not fully embrace thankfulness, because I feel a bit pressed to get ready for something I was totally unprepared for! (How’s that for transparency?)
But then I recall that Thanksgiving isn’t simply a holiday, it’s a way of life, and, as I read John 18-21, I remember I’m thankful because Jesus died for me and forgave my sin; I’m thankful because Jesus seeks me out to restore me after I’ve denied Him in words or actions; I’m thankful that, because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, I’ve been given new life to participate in; I’m thankful that, because of the Cross, I’ve been welcomed into God’s family, I’ve been given the Holy Spirit, and I’ve been sent out to touch others with His love; I’m thankful that, because I know Jesus, He regularly provides miracles of provision!
This week, may I encourage you to join me in refocusing our hearts to be truly, deeply, utterly thankful because of what Jesus did for us? If you’re having a hard time with that, perhaps you can read the last few chapters of John and ask the Lord to show you things you’re thankful for, because I believe everything we have to truly give thanks for starts at the Cross!
Have a great Thanksgiving!