For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes (1 Cor 11:23-26, New King James Version).
It is easy to have an attitude of thanksgiving when we experience the wonder-working power of God in our lives. However, it takes faith, courage and strength to maintain a thankful attitude when we cannot see a tangible manifestation of His presence in our circumstance or situation. Jesus Christ demonstrated and reinforces our need to be thankful in all conditions during His Last supper with His disciples on the night He was betrayed.
Although Jesus was aware of the sufferings He would endure for us, after supper, He took bread, which symbolized His broken body, and in the same way He took the cup, representing our new covenant, and gave thanks to God for His impending ordeal; and He requested that we continue to do this in remembrance of Him until He returns. Jesus instructs and compels us to persevere foremost with prayer and thanksgiving to fulfill the will of God in our lives (Ephesians 5:18-20, 1 Thessalonians 5:16, 1 Timothy 2:1).
The Greek translation of "to give thanks" is eucharisteo, which is a combination of eu meaning ‘good,’ and charis meaning ‘grace’. Therefore, ‘to give thanks’, is to recognize and express the ‘good grace’ of God in all things and at all times. Thus the Holy Communion or Last Supper is called Eucharist - the ultimate example of thanksgiving.
In the midst of suffering and in the face of death, Jesus was able to give thanks to God because He maintained a lifestyle of thanksgiving. He knew assuredly that God would fulfill His hope and expectation as promised and through His death, His sufficient grace enables us to live a life of thanksgiving for the victory that God, through Christ, assures us amidst our sufferings (2 Corinthians 2:14). As we partake of the sufferings of Christ, His resurrection power, which secures our hope of deliverance, empowers us to give thanks with praise to Him before we can clearly see Him working in our situation; we are able to refrain from being anxious for anything as we wait with expectation for His answers to our requests (Philippians 4:6).
Jesus demonstrated the power, faithfulness and glory of God by praying in faith with thanksgiving when confronted with impossible circumstances and situations. Before He saw any evidence of God’s power working in the situation at hand, Jesus declared, with thanksgiving, that He would receive what He asked for according to the will of the Father and, as a result, He evoked the hand of God to move mightily on His behalf to answer His prayers, with both signs and wonders (Matthew 14:16-21, John 11:40, John 6:10, Matthew 15:32).
The true test of our faith in God and His ability to fulfill His Word for us is when we offer a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to Him before He answers our prayers; God is pleased with such sacrifices and what we envision through faith is what we will receive (Hebrews 13:15-16, Romans 4:16-21). As we bolster our hope in His infallible Word, our faith in Him will lead to recovery, restoration and victory in every area of our lives.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible and without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:1-3). When we choose to cultivate an attitude of thanksgiving for our past, present and future and avoid pronouncing negative sentiments over ourselves and others (Ephesians 5:4), regardless of how dire the situation is or could be, we will begin to see hopefulness amidst hopelessness. As we exercise our faith in God by giving thanks always, the Holy Spirit will open our eyes to see His purpose in every circumstance and situation we encounter, which is not to harm us but to establish our hope and future in Him (Jeremiah 29:11; John 15:4-5).