Thursday, April 13, 2017

Setting the Example of Love

I recently taught a lesson based on the last week in the earthly life of Jesus, and my! What a power packed week! Did you know that 40% of the book of John focuses on Holy week? (Statistics appeal to my nerdy brain ...)

Pondering Holy week made me think ... what would I do with my last week of earthly life if I knew the end was near?

It's a sign of the times that my very first thought was, "I would update my password list so my family could get into all my accounts."

Looking at Jesus' example, His final week included some very important lessons such as the first and greatest commandment, and we must all decide what we think about Christ, we need to be fruitful, and loving the least of humanity will be the topic at the final judgment. Sobering stuff ...

He also thought it very important to teach His disciples a lesson on humility which is the focus of my post today. 

Over 2,000 years ago on Passover, the Lord and His disciples gathered one last time to break bread together. Besides eating, they also did some washing ...

I'm re-posting my adaptation of John 13:

The Teacher had a special group of students, men whom he had poured three years of his life into as they had lived life together. There was nothing about those students he did not know, their strengths as well as their weaknesses, and how they would react under pressure. Yet he loved them and always would.

Time was short. Not much longer would he be able to impart to them what he wanted them to know. Home was calling him back.

So, they had one last supper together. The Teacher knew that one had already decided to betray him, yet he treated him the same as all the rest. It was meant to be.

After supper, the Teacher stood up and got a towel, basin and pitcher. He wrapped the towel around his waist and then knelt down, and one by one, he placed each student's feet in the basin, scrubbed the foot and then, much like a mother would do, propped the foot on his knee, drying it with the towel that was still wrapped around his waist. What an intimate humbling act for a teacher to do!

That rascally student, Peter, who was always quick with a retort, spoke in wonder, "Do YOU wash my feet? 

The Teacher smiled and said, "I know you don't understand now, but one day you will."

Peter insisted, "Teacher, you will never wash MY feet."

The Teacher replied that if he couldn't wash Peter's feet, then Peter could have no part in the Teacher's ministry.

Always one to go "whole hog", Peter did an about-face and wanted the Teacher to wash his head and hands. The Teacher said there was no need for that. They were all clean and only needed their feet washed - well, except for one ...

When all twelve students' feet were washed, the Teacher put away the towel, basin and pitcher and putting back on his robe, he sat down again in his place.

All their eyes looked at him expectantly. "Do you understand what I did?" he asked them.

"You all look to me as your Teacher, as well you should. What I just did is an example for you. You should wash each other's feet, just like I did yours. A student is not greater than his Teacher. You should always do like you've seen me do."


The greatest Teacher who ever lived, and who still lives forever, is Jesus. He came and did life with us for 33 years. While He was here, He taught us about what is important, and what's not. He taught with words, lecturing in places like synagogues, boat decks and mountaintops. But, He also taught by example, always willing to bless and to heal, letting the crowds come to Him with their overwhelming needs, always putting others first and somehow finding time to spend alone with His Father.

On that fateful foot-washing night long ago, the Teacher gave a new commandment to apply to the life of anyone who calls themselves one of His students:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

Students, let's follow His example.

I'm sharing this post at Arabah Joy's Grace&Truth and Crystal's #FreshMarketFriday communities. You can find some really writers there!


betty said...

Amen. We do need to indeed follow Jesus' example in loving and serving others. Happy Easter!


Anonymous said...

So much to learn from his last days!

Nylse Esahc said...

I like your reflections on Jesus' last week in particular what is commonly called Maundy Thursday. He set a powerful example.

Stopping by from #FreshMarketFriday

Jamie Miles said...

"Let all you do be done in love." 1 Cor 16:14 I try to keep that in the back of my mind all day. It usually comes to mind after I've been sucked into another argument with our teen. Which is exactly what she wants.

I wish my words could be as measured and thoughtful as Christ. At least some of the time. I know his heart was in the perfect place but --

in love and with a servant's heart. If the world could know the real Jesus, I can't believe anyone would not follow him.