Maybe this seems like a morbid topic, but for all of us, death may not be imminent but it is certain. I lost a close family member recently — he died unexpectedly, in his sleep. I said to my husband, “isn’t this the best way to die? No drawn out painful last illness, no time to dwell on what we’ve lost or won’t get to accomplish.” His answer was, “not really. I think I would prefer to have a chance to say good bye and tell people all the things I hadn’t gotten around to saying.”
That made me remember Jesus. He knew he was going to die. He told his disciples clearly, over and over, although they never seemed to quite believe Him. On his final day he took some specific actions:
- He spent time in fellowship with his loved ones, the disciples. He clearly planned this ahead of time, securing a place for the Passover Supper. (Luke 22:8-13)
- He washed their feet, as a way to emphasize once more the important values of humility, sacrifice and service he had been trying to each them. (John 13:13-17)
- He established an important tradition that would continue to evoke His presence with them and love for them. (Mark 14:22-25)
- He prayed for them, and for the believers who would come after them. (John 17:1-26)
We’re not Jesus and we don’t know exactly when our last day will arrive:
“No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death.” Ecclesiastes 8:8
However, in all things, we should strive to imitate Him. John tells us:
“By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way as he walked.” 1 John 2:5-6
Death is a sure thing. Let’s focus on Jesus and make our death a good one, whenever it comes. Say and do the things that are important, now. Don’t wait.
For more about death see these posts:
The Darkness of Death
“Even unto death”
When we’re deciding on a direction for our lives, it is not uncommon to follow someone else’s example. As children, we naturally look to our parents. As we get older, teachers, friends, and siblings influence us. At work, we may choose a mentor, someone we respect, and imitate their work ethic or philosophy. Sometimes we even look to celebrities or heroes whose lifestyle we wish to duplicate in our own lives. Often those we choose to follow end up disappointing us in some way. We find out that even the greatest saints have feet of clay… or as one Christian author said, we’re all cracked pots.
Jesus is the one person whose example is always perfect and safe to follow. Earlier this week I went to Maundy Thursday service and I learned something about that (for those who are from not from liturgical background, this is the evening when we celebrate and remember the Last Supper). Before the Passover meal Jesus deliberately set an example for the disciples. He knew that His time with them was growing short and He wanted to impress upon them this matter of great importance.
“When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them. ‘Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.'” John 13: 12-17
Jesus set the example for us — servanthood. As His disciples, He expects us to follow. Are you moving in the right direction?