Day 5: The Example
Today’s reading: John 13-17
It’s Thursday and the air is thick with betrayal and abandonment. In a few short hours, Jesus will be handed over by one of His own disciples and the remaining disciples will flee.
In His most desperate hour, everyone on earth that Jesus could trust will leave His side. It leaves Him with one choice: to trust His Father and His Father alone.
The content that I could address today is endless: Judas’s betrayal of Jesus, the breaking of bread at the Last Supper, the teaching in the Upper Room, the anxiety and darkness of Gethsemane, Peter’s abandonment, and Jesus’s arrest, but I want us to focus on Jesus.
When all of those who loved Him left Him alone, I want us to fix our eyes and hearts on Jesus.
He Set the Example
As Jesus and His followers gather in the Upper Room, I think the greatest example (other than the cross) of Jesus’s love for mankind takes place.
The twelve gather around a table to break bread together. Yet as they do, the topic of conversation becomes very self-focused. Jesus’s disciples, His very closest followers, begin arguing about which one of them is the greatest.
Jesus doesn’t rebuke them, He doesn’t join the argument—He does something that is unheard of: he begins washing their feet.
As John’s gospel records the event:
“He now showed them the full extent of His love . . . Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power . . . so He got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist . . . and He began to wash His disciples’ feet.” —John 13:3-5
So often, we’re eager to turn the conversation to ourselves. Moreover, we’re eager to throw in our opinion. And competition seems to rule the airwaves.
Who’s better? Who’s stronger? Who’s richer? Who’s right? Who’s wrong?
In the face of that arguments, Jesus says, “Who cares?”
“I have set an example that you should do as I have done for you . . . wash one another’s feet . . . you will be blessed if you do.” —John 13:15
This week, Jesus showed us that He didn’t simply come to be our Savior, He came to be our example as well. And just as He was our example, we must become His example to others.
Did you know that Jesus prayed for you?
As He’s finishing His time with those He loved, He began praying—He prayed to the Father, He prayed for Himself, He prayed for His disciples.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one . . . that the world may believe that you sent me . . . that the love you have for me may be in them.” —John 17:20–26
Jesus, facing the anxiety of the cross and the sins of the world, prays that you and I would believe. He’s getting ready to enter the darkness and He’s looking forward with hope that His act won’t be in vain.
This thought brings tears of joy to my eyes this morning.
Too often, I only pray for myself. And my prayer is that God would rescue me from my adversity.
Jesus shows us that it’s not always about freedom from adversity, but peace in the midst of it.
He’s getting ready to face eternal adversity so that His prayer will be answered: that the love God had for the Son may be found in us.
In Gethsemane, Jesus is in angst. He’s sweating blood and pleading before God. He knows what must be done, but He prays for another option:
“Abba, Father. Everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me.” —Luke 22:42
Then, in an act of obedience that I cannot fathom, Jesus says:
“Yet not what I will, but what you will.” —Luke 22:42
Jesus’s will was not the will of the Father. That is profound to consider. Yet in this prayer, He becomes the example of what absolute surrender looks like.
In this moment, Jesus laid down His will in exchange for God’s will—the pathway to life. It is reassuring to know that Jesus went first.
Then, He rises from His knees and hands Himself over to the authorities. He goes down without a fight. Even when one of His disciples attacked one of His captors, Jesus knelt down, picked up the man’s ear, and placed it back on His head.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, I’m reminded that God’s will is beyond my understanding but we get a picture of it in Christ Jesus.
When it seems daunting, unfair, and insurmountable, Jesus is the example and taught us to always surrender our will in exchange for the Father’s.
When we’re tempted to look to other Christians as our standard, we must remember that Jesus is our example.
1. Where is your will conflicting with the will of God?
2. The Bible tells us that if we delight ourselves in the Lord that He will give us the desires of our heart.
The question is: are you willing?
3. Do you fall into the trap of allowing other “Christians” to be your example? How so?
How can you reshift your eyes to focus on Jesus as the example?
3. As a result, do people leave your presence with a better opinion of Jesus?
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