Did you know that Jesus was thankful? I’m sure you did. He is God, after all, and He knows what is “good” better than all of us.

If you were to review the New Testament, you would see Jesus giving thanks to His Father several times. But I’d like us to focus on one occurrence in particular—the Last Supper:

And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said,“Take this and divide it among yourselves.For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vineuntil the kingdom of God comes.”

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying,“This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise, the cup after they had eaten, saying,“This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” 

Luke 22:17-20 (ESV)

What a baffling Savior we have, who gives thanks before both friend and traitor for His oncoming suffering.

Indeed, Jesus models for us what unconditional thankfulness looks like. He demonstrates how to face even the darkest of nights and then turn to face His Father and say, “I am glad.”

What might we be able to learn from this? How should this affect our lives?

Just as Jesus was thankful for His Father’s plans, provisions, and answers to prayer…we ought to seek to rejoice in where He has led us, what He has given us, and how He answers our prayers. To be clear, we ought to rejoice not in spite of our situation but because of our situation—regardless of whether it is what we had hoped for—because we can trust our King knows what He is doing. We can trust His decisions are, first and always, filtered through His justice and love. So, no matter the difficulty of the path set before us, we too can say, “I am glad.”

It’s not easy, Jesus knows that well. He Himself sometimes wept over the cup He had been given. But we must not think He resented the plan or doubted the kindness of His Father because of it. For as much as Jesus grieved, did He not, even more, trust the One who had sent Him and love the ones He was suffering for?

As you celebrate this Thanksgiving—whether your heart is crowned with joy or crippled with grief—will you follow Jesus’ example of giving unconditional thanks for God’s plan and provision?

I pray that we both forsake our pride and embrace God’s wisdom.

I pray we both surrender our self-pity, distrust, and resentment and cling to God’s wisdom.

I pray we both learn how to carry thankfulness even when it feels the heaviest.