Talkin' to Jesus (3)
"Jesus, thank You!"
In this moment, it is fitting to consider the story of Jesus healing 10 lepers at once. Seemingly the main point (if not the whole point) of Luke conveying that story from the life of Christ, was to emphasize the value of gratitude. Jesus responded to the 1 who returned (to offer his thanks) with, "Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?" He then added this observation rather grimly, "There are not found that returned to give glory to God, except this stranger." (Luke 17:17-18).
If there was ever anyone who wouldn't have needed to express gratitude, it would have to be Jesus. Yet, in Luke 10:21 we read these words, "In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in Your sight."
Did you catch that? Maybe you need a little context. Jesus was praying after the return of the 70 disciples whom He had sent out to preach the gospel of the kingdom. They were simple men. Yet, they were blessed. The power of God was on them. They were "getting it" so to speak. Jesus' own neighbors, family, and friends had not gotten it. Many of the great religious leaders of Jesus' day and of the days gone by had not seen the truth of the gospel clearly. But the disciples were being shown the truth directly, by the Father Himself. And Jesus' response was to worship His own Father with a joyful expression of gratitude.
In the spirit of Jesus' prayer, He was truly expressing gratitude for people like me. And likely you too. If you are one of the "babes" who has met and recognized Jesus as your own Savior and Lord, then you are one of the ones for whom He was and is grateful.
Now, if Jesus can thank the Father for you and me, how much more should we be thankful for Him?!
"Oh, I'm thankful," you may say. But, are you? The 9 lepers who did not return to Jesus might have retorted similarly. But it's not just an attitude of gratitude that matters, it's also essential that we express our gratitude. And that, to Jesus.
You may remember that I wrote previously how we should pray in the Spirit, in the name of the Son, to the Father. I hold to that. Still, God is one. And, it is the whole of the Trinity that dwells with us. Jesus not only told us that the Spirit would be sent to us from the Father to live in us, but also that He and the Father would come and make their home with us (John 14:23). Surely it would be highly improper to only use Jesus as a messenger to the Father, but to ignore Him personally. So, we should worship the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. We should express our gratitude to the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Of course, as we speak to one member of the Godhead, surely we speak to all. But as we're "talking' to Jesus" in prayer, let us communicate our gratitude to Him expressly and directly.
Why should you and I thank Jesus? What has He done for which we should be thankful?
I'll let you make your own list. But at the head of the list should be your own personal healing. In Luke 4:18-19 we see that Jesus read from Isaiah's scroll, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." Jesus is the gospel. He is the good news of God's grace. And it is His work and His life that He used to bring healing to your life and mine.
Oh yes, He can and does heal our bodies in agreement with His own plan, purpose, and will. But that is temporary and often even withheld. After all, we all die from something eventually. He doesn't heal our bodies perpetually (though He will indeed do so in our resurrection). But He has healed your soul and mine. It makes no sense for us to live continually with a brokenheart, because He has provided health to that facet of our being. We are seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Now. Today. Currently, heaven is your home and mine. Our souls are secure in Him. For that reason (if there were no others), we owe Him an eternal debt of joyful gratitude.
My name is written down in heaven. I am known. I am loved. I am His. He has done so much for me.
As we observed last time, He is wonderful AND He has done wonderful things. We worship Him in wonder, AND we declare our appreciation to Him. At least, we certainly should.
But don't stop with your soul's salvation. What else has Jesus done for you. We read in Ephesians 4:8 that He has given us gifts. What good gifts can you identify that He has given to you? Make a list. Have you carefully and sincerely paused to thank Him for each of those gifts? If not, do so now. If so, do so again.
I love the old chorus by Bill and Gloria Gaither, "Jesus we Just Want to Thank You"
Jesus we just want to thank You Thank You for being so good
Jesus we just want to praise You Praise You for being so good
Jesus we just want to tell You We love You for being so good
Sometimes (or often) songs empower us to express feelings well that we otherwise struggle to communicate effectively. If that's a struggle you have, then perhaps you can start a fresh conversation of gratitude with (and to) your Savior (Jesus Christ) by simply singing that simple chorus to Him a few times. And if you're bad at singing, maybe you can sing along with this video version on YouTube.
"Jesus, thank You!"