While reflecting on thanksgiving I was struck by the fact that in the first three Gospel accounts of the Last Supper (and in Paul's 1 Corinthians sharing on it as well) Jesus gave thanks before partaking of the bread and wine. I have passed over that so many times in my reading of those accounts without ever really giving it a pause, but this time it made me sit back and go, "Woah. There is something powerful there!"
We read, of Jesus, in John 1:,3 "All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made," and in Colossians 1:16-17 it says of Him, "For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together." These are statements so powerful about Jesus that they rock our minds when we realize what they are saying, and yet . . . He gave thanks to the Father for the most simple of things while on earth.
What does it say to us that the One through whom, and for whom, all things are made lived on earth, as one of us, choosing to live so surrendered of His rights and so dependent on His Father that He even gave thanks for bread? I have a sense that the thread of thought and example we could follow in this would take us to a place so deep that our entire Christian life could change if we were to internalize it. Jesus made all things, and Jesus had all rights, and Jesus could have done whatever He wanted . . . but He did not grasp those rights, or that place, bur rather laid it at the Father's feet and lived a life so dependent on the Father, and so surrendered to the Father, that He would say that He could do nothing apart from the Father, that He cast out demons by the Spirit, that He only did or said what He saw and heard the Father doing or saying, etc.
If Jesus could so lay His life down and let the Father live out His will through Him, to the point of even thanking the Father for bread, what example does it give us about surrendering our rights and life to the Father who gave His very Son's life for us? We are dependent on God for every good thing in our life—and James assures us that every good thing indeed comes from the Father. I also know that, as God's children, we have tremendous rights and authority in this dark world—rights and authority that come from the Father Himself and our identity in Christ. But, something I have wondered about for some time and have not ever really voiced outside of Mary Ann, is if the reconciliation between these two things comes in our choice to surrender. Here is what I mean, and I'd love your thoughts:
We have tremendous rights and promises from God. The Bible is clear on that. Some teachers teach on that almost exclusively, about standing in faith on our rights, and promises, etc. But, then, comes Jesus' example. Philippians tells us that He didn't grasp His right as God, but surrendered it and humbled Himself and gave up His rights to allow His Father's will to be done through Him. I wonder if it is not true that, while we have those rights and can stand, on faith, receiving them . . . if there isn't a place beyond that we could go where we give back to God the very rights He gave us, where we surrender them back and say to Him, "Here, Father. I know my rights on this earth as Your child, but I give them back to You. Let my life be Yours to do with as You will. I choose not to stand on my rights, or even to Your promises, but to surrender it all so that you might have free access to my life no mater the cost. I choose to live so that it is You alone who live through me, and I choose to live so dependent that I recognize even your love and gift in a simple slice of bread."