The Great Teacher Served Other People
An article specially designed for parents to read with their children
JESUS was always doing things for people. He showed love for them. He said: ‘I came, not to be served, but to serve.’ So, if we want to be like the Great Teacher, we also must do things for others.—Matt. 20:28.
It is true, many people do not do this. In fact, most people always want others to serve them. At one time even Jesus’ followers felt this way. Each one of them wanted to be the greatest or the most important. This is shown by what happened one day.
Jesus had been traveling with his followers, and now they entered a city near the Sea of Galilee. The Bible tells us: “When [Jesus] was inside the house he put the question to them: ‘What were you arguing over on the road?’ They kept silent, for on the road they had argued among themselves who is greater.”—Mark 9:33, 34.
Jesus knew that it was not right for them to argue about this. He wanted to correct their wrong thinking, and to help them change. So, one day when they were together, he gave them a lesson that they would never forget. What did he do?
While they were having a meal together, Jesus got up from the table. He took off his outer garments, picked up a towel and wrapped it around his waist. Next he took a basin and put water into it. They all must have wondered what he was going to do.
As they watched, Jesus went around to each one of them, bent down and washed their feet. Then he dried their feet with the towel. Just think of that! His followers felt uncomfortable about having the Great Teacher serve them in this way. In fact, one of them was not going to let Jesus do this lowly service for him. However, Jesus said that it was important for him to do it.—John 13:2-11.
Why did Jesus wash their feet? Well, in the land where they lived, people wore open sandals on their bare feet or went barefoot. So when they walked on the dirt roads, their feet got covered with brown dust. Therefore, it was a kindness in those days to wash the dusty feet of a person who came in the house to visit. If a home had servants the least important servant did this work of washing the visitor’s feet.
But this time not one of Jesus’ followers offered to wash the feet of the others. So Jesus did it himself. By doing it, Jesus taught his followers an important lesson. They needed to learn this lesson. And it is a lesson that we today need to learn.
What was the lesson? After Jesus put his outer garments back on and took his place at the table again, he explained: ‘Do you understand what I did to you? You call me “Teacher” and “Lord,” and you are right. If I, your Teacher and Lord, washed your feet, then you should wash the feet of one another.’—John 13:12-14.
Here the Great Teacher showed that he wanted his followers to serve one another. They should not think they were so important that others should always serve them. That was the lesson Jesus was teaching!
Jesus did not mean for his followers always to be washing the feet of other people. Rather, he meant that they should be willing to serve others, even though this service were as lowly as washing someone’s feet. He did not want his followers to think only about themselves. He did not want them to be proud or selfish.
Was that not a fine lesson? Will you be like the Great Teacher and serve other people? We can all do little things for others. This will make them happy. But, best of all, it will make Jesus and his Father in heaven happy.
It is not hard to serve other people. If you watch, you will find many things that you can do for other persons. These can be in your home, at school or almost anywhere else.
Think now: Is there anything that you can do to help your mother? You know that she does many things for you and the rest of the family. Can you help her? Why not ask her if you may?
Maybe you can set the table before the family eats. Or maybe you can stack the dirty dishes after the family finishes eating. Some children take the garbage out every day. Whatever it is you can do, it will be serving others, even as Jesus did.
Do you have younger brothers and sisters that you can serve? Remember, Jesus, the Great Teacher, served even his followers. By serving your younger brothers and sisters, you will be copying Jesus. Also, you will be teaching these children to serve others.
What can you do for them? Maybe you can help them to learn to put their toys away when they are finished playing. Or maybe you can help them to get dressed, or help them to get ready for bed. They will come to love you for doing these things, just as Jesus’ followers loved him.
In school, too, you can serve other people. It might be your classmates or your teacher. If someone drops his books, it would be kind of you to help him pick them up. You might offer to clean the blackboard for your teacher, or to do something else for her. Even holding the door open for someone is a kind service.
At times you will find that people will not thank you for serving them. Should this stop you from doing good? No! Many people did not thank Jesus for his good works. But that did not stop him from doing good.
So never hold back from serving other people. Remember the Great Teacher, Jesus. Always try to follow his example.