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Dr. Walter D. Huyck Jr. D.Min.

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Our Thankful Lord

John  11.38-44

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[Thankfulness matters in our lives and in our relationship with our Heavenly Father.  Are you thankful?  Do you realize that our Lord Jesus Christ was thankful when He lived here on earth?  We have many examples of our Lord’s thankfulness in the Bible.] 

Jesus Gave Thanks - He was thankful for: 

A.     The Father's Listening Ear (John 11.41-42; 1 Thess 5.18; 1 John 5.14-15; Philip 4.6) [-  Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. - When Jesus prayed, God listened and Jesus knew that His Father was listening.  Our Lord expressed His thankfulness that He knew His father was listening to Him.  Our Lord did not need to express this thankfulness out loud but He did.  Why?  To remind you and I that our Heavenly Father is listening to us and hears us and we too ought to be thankful for this incredible fact.] 

[The fact that our Heavenly Father is listening to us ought to cause us to be even more thankful and confident.  This confidence ought to pray more and with purpose.  The Bible says,] 

[1 Thes. 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.] 

[Hence we ought to be in prayer continuously, thanking God for everything that comes into our lives.  If you have confidence that God is listening to you, just as He was listening to our Lord Jesus Christ then you ought to be talking to your Heavenly Father all the time.  John wrote,]  

[1 John 5:14-15 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.]

 [Whenever we ask something of our Heavenly Father that we know is in His will then we can be absolutely confident that He will hear us.  The word Confidence hear denotes complete freedom of speech. Anything can and should be said.  After all we are talking to our omniscient Lord who knows our every thought and secret.  Nothing can be hidden or masked from Him.  Paul wrote,] 

[Philippians 4:6 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.]  

[From this simple verse we discover,] 

1.      The Composition of our Prayers (Philip 4.6) [- Be Careful for nothing, but in everything . . .] 

[Careful - μεριμνᾶτε (Gk) - Pres, Act, Imper from mérimna (3308), anxious care. To care, be anxious, troubled, to take thought, used in an absolute sense (Matt. 6:27, 31; Luke 12:25; Phil. 4:6), followed by the dat. (Matt. 6:25; Luke 12:22); by “unto tomorrow” (a.t. [Matt. 6:34]); by perí (4012), concerning, with a gen. (Matt. 6:28; Luke 12:26), with the acc. (Luke 10:41); by hupér (5228), regarding, with the gen. (1 Cor. 12:25); by pōs (4459), how (Matt. 10:19; Luke 12:11). By implication it means to care for or take care of (Matt. 6:34; 1 Cor. 7:32–34; Phil. 2:20).[1]]  

[There is absolutely nothing that you cannot pray for or about.  Everything is already laid open to our God, so you would be wise to ask Him about it.  What is on your mind?  Ask God about it.  What are you worried about?  Talk to God about it.  Be careful for nothing.

2.      The Content of our prayers (Philip 4.6) [- . . . by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving . . . – We notice in this simple prayer three different elements that might be incorporated in to our prayers.] 

a.       [Prayer - Something given toward God.  Simply talking to God.] 

b.      [Supplication - An earnest request.] 

c.       [Thanksgiving – recognizing what God has done for you with gratitude.]

[A couple of other elements that we find in Scripture that might be added to our prayers include,] 

d.      [Intercession – This is praying for the needs of other.] 

e.       [Praise – This is recognizing God for who He is.  Praying about God’s characteristics like His holiness, righteousness, purity, justice, mercy, omniscience, ect . . . ] 

3.      The Context of our prayers (Philip 4.6; James 4.2)[. . . let your requests be made known unto God. . . -  Concerning your requests, make them known.] 

[Made Known - γνωριζέσθω (Gk) - 1 to make known. 1a to become known, be recognised. 2 to know, to gain knowledge of, have thorough knowledge of. 2a in earlier Greek it means “to gain a knowledge of” or “have thorough knowledge of”.[2] ] 

[One must fully release their concern or request to God in His providence.  Turn it over to your Heavenly Father.  But making your request known also reminds us that we must ask.  For James wrote,] 

[James 4:2  . . . yet ye have not, because ye ask not. ]

[Hence, you must ask and you must release your interest or your control over your request when you pray.] 

4.      The Culmination of our prayers (Philip 4.7) [- And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. – When we learn to turn all of our concerns and fears over to our Heavenly Father, being fully confident that He hears us when we pray then a supernatural peace will calm and assure us in our most difficult moments.] 

B.     The Father's Lavished Hand (Matt 15.34-37) [- On this occasion we find that over four thousand men, beside women and children, were gathered to hear our Lord and our Lord ask the disciples to feed this crowd.  The disciples were beside themselves.  All they had were seven loaves and a few small fishes.  The passage records,]  

[Matthew 15:34-37 34 And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes. 35 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. 36 And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. 37 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.]

[Not only were those few loaves and fishes enough but the passage records that leftovers were taken up.  Our Lord’s thankful prayer teaches us of the power of,]

1.      Ascending Gratitude (vs 35 ; Psalm 37.16; Matt 6.33) [- . . . and gave thanks . . . - There was a little provided by God; five loaves and two small fishes.] 

[Psalm 37:16 16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked. ]

[Our God is able to take a seemingly small provision and turn it into plenty and abundance.  But we must seek and trust our Heavenly Fathers benevolent hand to provide for us in His time.  The Bible says,] 

[Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.] 

[Our Lord looked up to Heaven, relied upon His Heavenly Father, and trusted God to do the rest.  Jesus was teaching us a lesson about gratitude and God’s provision.  No matter how small your provision seems to be God knows how to make it more than enough.]  

2.      Appropriate Grace (vs 37; Matt 7.11) [- . . . And they did all eat, and were filled: . . . – After our Lord gave thanks the disciples took and distributed the food to that massive crowd and God met the need.  I am reminded of our Lord’s words when he said,] 

[Matthew 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?] 

[When you come to God in prayer you must know that your Heavenly Father knows what your need is, and He already knows what He plans to do about your need.  God provided this need.  We don’t know how God provided, but we know that He provided.] 

[There is a great debate among theologians today about how this all happened.  Some claim that as the baskets were passed that some people took and some people added to the baskets.  Others, like myself believe that God miraculously added to the baskets and multiplied the food.  This miracle would be a far lesser miracle than raising a man dead four days from a grave, or causing one born blind to see.  Our God is able to do whatever He wants to do.] 

[The primary point here is not in the “how” it is in the “fact” of God’s provision.  God provided at the right time and in the right way.  God gives you appropriate grace for your appropriate need.  As our Heavenly Father He is in the unique position of knowing what we, as His children, need and when.] 

3.      Abounding Growth (vs 17; Luke 6.38; 2 Cor 9.6-11) [- . . . and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full. – On this occasion the disciples found all that they could and gave all that they had and then God made up everything else that was needed.  This reminds us of when our Lord said,] 

[Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. ] 

[Paul wrote,] 

[2 Cor. 9:6-11 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 9(As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. 10Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) 11Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. ] 

[I tell people often when they are in need, don’t fret, but don’t be a fool either.  First pray, thanking God for His provision and promises.  Make your request and supplications to your Heavenly Father.  Then do everything that you can do without sinning, and when you have done all that your can do, rest in God’s graceful provision.] 

[The disciples gave everything they had and God provided more than what they needed.] 

C.     The Father's Loving Heart (Luke 22.17-20) 

[Luke 22:17-20 17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: 18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. 19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. ]

[Our Lord Jesus Christ gave thanks for what this cup and bread represented.  For Jesus it represented His soon coming suffering and death.  But for His disciples and every other human being it meant their forgiveness, redemption, and pardon.  This Lord’s table represented the unconditional love of God.] 

1.      The Body (vs 19; 1 Cor 11.24) [- The bread represents Jesus broken body, which was given for you.] 

[1 Cor. 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.] 

[This bread represented that the price required for our sins had been paid in full.  Someone had to die for our sins, Jesus paid the penalty for us.]  

2.      The Blood (vs 20; 1 Pet 1.18-19; 1 John 1.7) [- That cup represented the shed bloos of our Lord Jesus Christ that washes our sins away.  The Bible says,] 

[1 Peter 1:18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:] 

[1 John 1:7 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.]

 [It is the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and cleanses us of all our sin and fits us to stand in the presence of our Heavenly Father.] 

3.      The Benefit (Rom 5.8; John 3.16) [- What is the benefit of our Lord’s broken body and shed blood?  They provide salvation for all who will recognize what Jesus did for them and will choose to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.] 

[Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.]  

[John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. ] 

[We see our Lord Jesus Christ giving thanks for,] 

  • [The Impossible – The resurrection of the dead.]
  • [The Improbable – The provision for a massive crowd]
  • [The Intolerable – His coming suffering and death.]

[Therefore we learn from our Lord that we are to give thanks for all things and at the same time we must trust our Heavenly Father in His protection, provision, and providence.  So, not matter what our circumstances might be, we must give God thanks in all things. 


[1]Zodhiates, Spiros: The Complete Word Study Dictionary : New Testament. electronic ed. Chattanooga, TN : AMG Publishers, 2000, c1992, c1993, S. G3309

[2]Strong, James: The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible : Showing Every Word of the Text of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurrence of Each Word in Regular Order. electronic ed. Ontario : Woodside Bible Fellowship., 1996, S. G1107



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