Children are really good at watching their parents and imitating them.
So as parents we always need to be careful about what we say and do around young impressionable children so we teach them right.
When you see a child misbehave or use swear words in public you actually look at the parents and blame them rather than the child.
Today, as God’s children, Jesus is leaving us an example that he wants us to follow as well.
And it comes as an object lesson and a verbal lesson.
The object lesson is he washes his disciples’ feet.
The lesson here is one of servanthood.
Jesus had turned things around so much that Peter objected to what he was doing – I need to wash YOUR feet and yet you wash mine.
As Christians we are sent into the world to serve one another and turn things around in the world.
We are called to look for ways that we can help one another which goes against the view of looking after yourself first.
We are sent to look for ways that we can build one another up rather than tearing down others to build ourselves up.
So Jesus gets down on his hands and knees and washes his disciples’ feet.
Totally unheard of for a master to lower themselves below their servant.
But that’s what Jesus did – he came as a servant – not to be served but to serve.
It’s an object lesson on how we are to treat one another – to look for opportunities to help others in need and sometimes that means lowering ourselves and putting ourselves out.
But at the foundation of this object lesson is a verbal lesson – a command –
Love one another as I have loved you.
Previously Jesus had said – love your neighbour as yourself.
Now the command to love has been further defined.
A love where in serving one another our love may require sacrifice which is what Jesus’ love for us meant as he sacrificed his life for ours.
It’s not always easy to love one another and that’s when we have to look beyond our own feelings and be prepared to extend the love of God even to those one might consider unlovable.
To extend love to those we don’t like.
And that’s exactly what Jesus did for us –it is what God did for us when it was while we were yet sinners – unlovable – that he sent Jesus to die for us.
So with that as an example – to love as Jesus loves us – I can’t think of an example where I can ever be right in not extending love to someone.
That’s what Jesus meant when he said: servants are not greater than their master.
If Jesus, our Master, made that sacrifice, then we, God’s servants, are to show the same sacrifice.
At the centre of this object lesson and command, Jesus institutes what we know as The Lord’s Supper.
Here servanthood, love and sacrifice are brought together in Jesus’ Body and Blood.
This is the same Body and Blood that while on the cross continued to show his love for us by crying out – forgive them Father.
As our Father, God has set us an example in much the same way that parents are asked to set examples to their children to teach them the correct way.
And as we example God’s love for us by loving others – not only will our children see what we are doing and copy it – but others who experience God’s love through us will also learn and begin to extend that love to others.
It’s not always easy to love others as Christ loves us but as we receive his Body and Blood in this sacrament we remember that Jesus went to great sacrifice in extending God’s love to us.
And that is what Jesus’ life and death are:
For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but receive eternal life.
So may God grant you the strength to show that same love to one another that he has shown to us and if you love one another as Christ loves you – then all people will know that you are his disciples – that you are God’s children.