As we prepare for Easter, reflect on these lessons about love and humility from Jesus’ teachings at the Last Supper. What can we learn from Christ’s words and example in his last meal with his disciples? Jesus demonstrated the power of love and humility in serving others as he washed the disciples’ feet. Are we willing to love and serve like Jesus?
Evening settles as men gather around a table for dinner. They do not yet know these are last moments carved out of time to have one final lesson with the Master.
Jesus could have talked about many things on this last evening with the disciples. They could have spent the time reminiscing the many stories they had lived together. He could have reviewed three years of teaching.
The importance of Jesus’s teaching at the Last Supper.
Last moments are for the heart and Christ leaves his disciples with powerful lessons on love and humility.
He “rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 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.” John 13:4-5
Getting up from the table, leaving the comfort of a good meal, Jesus purposefully lowers his position. Willingly he places himself in the position of a servant, the one with the most menial of tasks–to wash the feet filthy with the dust of the road and the sludge of life. The disciples were shocked that their teacher would stoop to such a lowly task. From our vantage point in history, the depth of humility is even more striking: the Son of God carried out the work of a servant.
Jesus’s example of humility.
“Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.” John 13:12-15
As Christ washes the filth from feet, example becomes the tool–learning in the living, actions bring words to life and we will never be the same.
Knowing the moment of his betrayal by one of his own is set in motion, Jesus washes feet that walk across the heartache and trouble of this world gaping wide with sin. In just a few hours the sinless Son of God will lay down his life for the sin of us all. We cannot fully wrap our minds around the deep love and humility of Christ.
Six Powerful Lessons on Love and Humility from the Last Supper
Example is the most effective way of teaching lessons that transform. As we reflect on these last hours together, Jesus taught powerful lessons on the value of loving others with humility and service.
1. Be willing to get up from the table.
Acts of service require that we get up from the table. Service begins with a willingness to stop what we may be doing in order to serve others. Selfishness is a default setting in our human brains.
Are we willing?
2. Go low.
Jesus didn’t set a limit on the type of task he was willing to do to show love and service. Even though he set the stars in place, he stooped low to wash his disciples’ feet.
Are we willing?
3. Lay it aside.
Laying aside his garments…Jesus prepared to do the menial work of a servant, washing the feet of his disciples. How many times have we grumbled when interrupted? How easily we balk when it comes to putting the interests of others before our own. In our social media driven culture, we curate our lives, carefully choosing the images that show us at our best. Taking off his outer garments was an act of vulnerability with no shred of pride. Jesus showed how to lay aside image and reputation in service to others.
Are we willing?
4. The power of cleansing.
Peter responds, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answers, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” John 13:8
Has God ever surprised you with how he chooses to work? I’m sure none of the disciples entered the upper room that night expecting Jesus to wash their feet. Are we willing to learn, when the lesson is not what we expected?
Cleaning our sin-stained hearts is a non-negotiable aspect of the saving work of Jesus. True humility of service requires that selfishness and sin be purified.
Are we willing?
5. Knowing is not the same as doing.
IF you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. —John 13:17
If is an interesting word, isn’t it? Packed with possibility and choice, the word If raises a question. Maybe we will, but then again…maybe we won’t.
How often do we know the right thing. . . but don’t do it?
Obedience can be a touchy subject, evoking memories of times we broke the rules, got in trouble, or let someone down. When we view obeying God through the foggy lens of religious duty or performance-based acceptance, obedience feels hard and heavy.
On this last night, Jesus teaches that our best blessings come when follow his example with humility and love.
There is a blessing for us in obedience in serving others, even in the most menial of tasks.
Are we willing?
6. Live it out.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.–John 13:34-35
Why does Jesus close out his time on earth, his last peaceful moments of friendship, emphasizing the importance of loving one another? These are the last hours before the world will rise against him with the harsh words chanted by frenzied crowds, “Crucify him, crucify him!“
When we dig beneath the soil of our ambitions, our greatest need and our deepest struggle is to love and be loved. “Love me,” is the cry of every heart. “Am I loved? Am I loveable? Am I worth loving?” is the question that hides in every motivation, desire, and conflict.
Why did Jesus teach this lesson on love?
- Love is like oxygen. We need to know we are loved and we need to love others.
- Loving God and loving one another is the one foundation we cannot do without.
- Love is where life is lived, salvation worked out, and victory won.
- Love is the motivation of humility.
Without love, service is meaningless, teaching becomes noise, and faith misses the point.
[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#loveoneanother”]Without love we are bankrupt souls and our greatest work turns to dust in the light of eternity.-Holy in the Moment Quote [/tweetthis]
At first glance, this is a seemingly simple command: love others.
Familiar words, until we read as I have loved you. Loving others as Christ has loved us requires a willingness to serve and sacrifice, to love without condition, expectation, or position. There are so many important lessons woven into Jesus’ example and teaching during the Last Supper. Lessons on love and humility that have the power to transform our hearts and impact the world around us.
Lord, make us willing.
Leave a comment and share which one of these powerful lessons resonates most with you today!
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Hi Ginger, I wrote on this Bible story this week too. I like your question “Are we willing to learn, when the lesson is not what we expected?” Visiting from #coffeeforyourheart
I’ll look forward to reading your post on this same passage! I love the way God directs us in a variety of ways as we respond to His word. Thanks for visiting today, Sarah.
oooh… good stuff Ginger!
Welcome, Tonia! So great to have you visit. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Happy Easter, Friend!
Great post post Ginger. “Without love we are bankrupt souls….” So good!
So happy to cross paths with you today, Kelly. May God bless you with abundant joy this Easter.
Love one another, the most simple yet complex command Jesus ever gave. Love this devotional!
You are so right–it is simple yet complex. Loving one another can be challenging. I’m grateful we have the Holy Spirit to empower us to let go of our flesh and love others with the love of Christ.
“Be willing to get up from the table.”
Well said! So true. We have to be willing to lay aside our comfort sometimes to serve!
This can be such a challenge at times. Depending on Christ helps us to sustain a willing spirit to serve others well. Thanks for joining us today!