Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 8 PART 4– Gentleness (Matthew 11:29)
Bible Story: John 13: 1-20
It was the day before the Passover festival, and Jesus just had supper with his disciples. Judas was about to betray Jesus, but Jesus knew that the Father had given him complete power and that He was going to return to the Father soon. So Jesus rose from the table and poured some water onto a washbasin. He began to wash his disciple’s feet and wiped them with a towel which he tied around his waist. When it was Peter’s turn, Peter objected, but Jesus answered, “If I do not wash your feet, you will be no longer my disciple.” Upon hearing this, Peter then said he wanted Jesus to wash not only his feet, but his hands and head also!
Jesus told them that those who have taken a bath are clean and only need their feet to be washed. And he also said that all those present were clean, except one, because Jesus knew one of them was the betrayer.
When he had finished, Jesus explained what he did. Verse 13-16 tells us this, “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
Points to Ponder:
- The act of washing another person’s feet is a truly humbling experience. During Jesus’ time, it was something that was usually done by non-Jewish slaves. But in this account, we see the Son of God himself, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, taking on the role of a very lowly servant and instructing the disciples to follow his example. Jesus tells his disciples that because their Lord and Teacher served them, so too must they be willing to show sacrificial love by serving others in the same way.
- The human kings that came before Jesus (and even current world leaders as well) acted superior to their subjects and ordered everyone around – they expected to be served. But Jesus wanted to show a better way to lead – and that is to be a true leader, one must be willing to humble oneself and to serve others. And thus Jesus presents to us a great challenge that can He repeats in 1 John 3:16, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
- Let us be reminded that “humility” is the attitude of the heart that produces an outward manifestation of “gentleness.” The apostle Peter learned this well when he remind us of the truth, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)
- The apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 4:2, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Truly, it all goes back to ‘LOVE.’ It is when we seek to imitate God’s love as demonstrated by Christ’s sacrifice can we find rest in our souls and peace in our hearts. The Lord Jesus himself tells us this, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)