From the Teaching to the Teacher
The new commandment that Jesus articulated in John 13:34 is to love one another as I have loved you, or to love others as we have been loved. One of the ways that Jesus loved me the disciples was by serving them.
With that passage in mind, I have been thinking about ways to serve my wife. One tangible way is for me to clean up the kitchen. So while I was feeling magnanimous, I emptied the trash, loaded the dishwasher, and washed the pans in the sink. I know that this blesses my wife and I was looking forward to a big thank you when she returned home and noticed what a wonderful thing I had done for her.
But alas, she came through the kitchen and never mentioned it. It seems I have been growing up lately, because I didn’t point out my achievement, nor did I pout. Instead I thought of how often Jesus had served me and I had not thanked Him. And even though I have not thanked Him for what He has done for me, He continues to serve me to this day.
Jesus was not merely an excellent teacher, He was and is, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. If anyone deserved to be served and worshiped it was the Son of God. Yet He used His divine power and authority to serve us and build us up instead of Lording it over us.
Matthew 20:25 Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
As I ponder this concept of Jesus as a server, I recognize that He has never asked me to do something He has not done. He preached what he practiced. He demonstrated what it means to serve with an incredible ‘hands-on’ illustration.
John 13:4 (Jesus) rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. … 14 ‘If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.’”
We know Jesus was absolutely consistent in His walk and His talk. After all He was the word, made flesh. But something has been added to the way I read scripture. Instead of simply thinking of what Jesus said and did, I find myself meditating on who Jesus is. The teaching, is pointing me in a new way to the teacher himself.
The more I have reflected on Jesus as a servant, the more convinced I am that He truly ministered from the heart. He didn’t put on a mask to temporarily make a point to His disciples. He was genuinely humble. I personally find it difficult to kneel down and wash people’s feet. I think most people do. Sometimes when I am feeling particularly loving I think I can pull it off. Jesus did not serve when he was up to it, He was a servant through and through. It is His nature to minister to others. So that night in a quiet room, Jesus, from the heart, willingly and honestly washed the feet of Peter, John, Matthew, and the other men, even Judas.
This truth impacts me when I think of my role in the family. According to scripture, I am the head of my wife. My children are to honor and obey me. This position, and the accompanying authority that comes with it, does not make me the lord of my home, rather, it equips me to serve my family. Seeing Jesus humble himself and serve His disciples, inspires me to have this same mindset and serve my wife and children.
In the Steve vernacular, being head of my home does not entitle me to special treatment, slippers when I walk in the door, control of the remote when watching TV, or the right to treat my wife and children as second class citizens. I am not Lord of all I survey and the King of my castle. The authority that God has granted me is for serving my family, building them up, and encouraging them.
Paul articulated this concept in his letter to the Philippians. 2:5 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
What a King. What a Savior. What a Servant.
Pressing on to know Him more,
One of the resources at Building Faith Families is Hymns for Family Worship, a booklet that has sheet music and history for 62 classic hymns, as well as a three CDs with piano accompaniment.
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