“He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.” — John 13:4
When I graduated from Bible college, I was given a towel with John 13 embroidered on it. The towel was meant to remind me that just as Jesus came to serve, I was called to serve others.
I’m ashamed to admit that I have often not had the heart of a servant, but, once again, I want to look at the example of Christ and seek to live out who I am in Christ.
Notice some things about serving from Jesus’ example:
- To Jesus, having a position does not exempt one from serving (v.3). He knew that all things had been given into His hands, that He came from God and went to God, yet He still washed their feet.
- Just because someone has hurt us or will hurt us does not exempt us from serving them (v.11). Jesus was fully aware that Judas was plotting to betray Him, yet He still washed his feet.
- To be like Jesus, our Master and Lord, means that we will follow His example and serve others (v.14-15). There are many ways to be Christlike, but Christlikeness must be expressed in practical acts of service to our brothers and sisters in Christ or we not very Christlike.
- Submission to our Lord’s example and to the needs of others brings great joy (v.17). The most miserable Christian is the most selfish. The most joyful is the most focused on serving others.
- Service is made possible by love (v.34-35). If we struggle to serve, it is a love problem. Jesus loved His disciples and as a result had no issue serving them. Jesus commands us to love one another like He loves us. This is the defining mark of a true disciple.