You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. John 13:13-17
In this passage in John, Jesus is having a conversation with apostles as He washes their feet. Jesus approves of their honor towards Him, because they call him Teacher. However, Jesus wanted them to know, that what He did for them must be done by them for others.
As believers our love for the Father is measured in our ability to love one another. I imagine that one of the most pressing issues a pastor will encounter is not resolving how the congregation despises him or her, but teaching the congregation not to despise one another. And a parent’s desire would be for their children to love on another and not to lose sight of being connected. The North American World English Dictionary defines the term despise as regarding with loathe and contempt, to look down upon or hold in low regard.
When we look in Matthew Jesus tells the parable of the sheep and the goat and says in verse 40. “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Jesus wanted them to know that we are going to be accountable for how we treat one another. He also says this in 1 John, “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
Jesus was their Teacher. His office of Teacher was to hold discourse with them in order to instruct them. This means the instruction was not to be taken lightly. This whole passage explains how we will be judged by the Father. And this judgment will be measured against how we treat “the least of these” “the lady down the street,” “our colleagues,” “our children,” “our spouses,” “our students,” “our pastors,” and “the stranger.”
I am glad that when I read the passage Jesus didn’t stop after laying out the instruction. He then told the disciples as He is telling us, when we hold up one another, cover one another, and honor one another, we are blessed indeed! Knowing the right way to treat others is good but we are blessed, fortunate, and empowered to prosper when we do what is commanded in our deeds.
Prayer: Father, thank you for loving me so much that you sent your Son to die for me. Forgive me for how I have treated the least of Your children. Help me to lay down my life, my goals, my will for the sake of others. Let your will be done in my life. In Jesus Name. Amen.