The Cup of Thanksgiving

By Victor Knowles

“Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf” (1 Corinthians 10:16, 17).

If there is ever a time to be truly thankful, it is when we gather around the Lord’s table to remember Jesus Christ.

2communion2_JNOur Savior instituted the Lord’s Supper during the Passover meal. The third cup in the meal was called “the cup of thanksgiving.” Some translations call it “the cup of blessing.” In the “Doxology,” we sing these familiar words, “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.” In our text, Paul is reminding the Corinthians the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks is a participation in the blood of Christ. That blood, which flowed from Christ on the cross on our behalf, is the greatest blessing we could ever receive from God.

“Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:40). Where would we be if Jesus had heeded the cry from the crowd and come down from the cross? It was the blood of Christ that accomplished our redemption and gave us forgiveness! “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7). That is why we call the Communion cup “the cup of thanksgiving” or “the cup of blessing.” That is why we also sing: “Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing Thy grace.”

The bread we break today is also a participation in the body of Christ. The New Living Translation of 1 Corinthians 10:16, 17 puts it this way: “And when we break the bread, aren’t we sharing in the body of Christ? And though we are many, we all eat from one loaf of bread, showing that we are one body.” Thanksgiving Day is when the family gathers as one around the table to participate in a meal. The Lord’s Supper is when the family of God gathers around the table to give thanks for our redemption and forgiveness, remembered in the bread and “the cup of thanksgiving.”

Let us give thanks.

Victor Knowles is founder and president of POEM (Peace on Earth Ministries), Joplin, Missouri.

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