Do you have a bucket list? You know, the list of things you really want to do, must do, before you die… before you “kick the bucket.”
Do you suppose if you knew the exact date and mode of death, your bucket list would change? Would your priorities be rearranged?
I don’t mean to sound irreverent, but I think Jesus had His own bucket list and it was never once rearranged or changed, for it was never about Him at all; it was entirely focused on those He loved, those He would love to the end.
Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end, (13:1).
What was most important to Him from the very beginning was that His followers would know and understand His love, and in turn love others. To impart this knowledge, He would not merely deliver a set of instructions; rather, He would demonstrate what His disciples needed most. And as the Perfect Teacher, He did it by His Example.
“For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you,” (13:15).
Consider His Example
- He Loved His own to the End.
- …having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end, (13:1).
- He Laid Aside His Place of Honor.
- Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, 4 got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself, (13:3-4).
- He Lowered Himself to Serve.
- Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded, (13:5).
- He Led by Example.
- He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you,” (13:12-14).
- He would Lay Down His Life.
- “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends,” (John 15:12-13).
How do we respond to His Example?
“You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am,” (13:13).
He is not just our Teacher; He must first and foremost be our LORD. Today may we bow to Him in surrender as Lord.
…so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, (Philippians 2:10-11).
As our Lord, He left us His Example to follow. That doesn’t mean it will be easy, for who can follow the Example of Jesus, but Jesus?
We must always begin by faith, depending on His life in us to live as He did. And as we reflect upon His selfless love for us, we will desire to love others as we have been loved.
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me, (Galatians 2:20).
- May we learn to love others to the end, with unending patience, kindness and forgiveness.
- Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, (Ephesians 4:1-2).
- So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity, (Colossians 3:12-14).
- May we learn to humbly lay aside the place of honor for the sake of others.
- “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, …go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted,” (Luke 14:8, 10-11).
- Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; (Philippians 2:3).
- May we learn to lower ourselves in humility in order to serve the Lord and others.
- But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;” (Matthew 20:25-27).
- Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you, (James 4:10).
- May we learn to take hold by faith of His Example, that we would serve as He served and demonstrate His love and mercy that others may believe in Him for eternal life.
- “…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many,” (Matthew 20:28).
- It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life, (1 Timothy 1:15-16).
May our own bucket lists be all about Him. May we live by faith and take hold of the life of Christ in us, to fully depend on Him. May we grow to so follow His Example of Love, that others would know we belong to Him and be drawn to His great love.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another,” (13:34-35).
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends,” (John 15:13).