Whenever we discipline our children, it’s important to us that they understand why they were disciplined. It’s not enough to just know they “made a bad choice”, but that they can tell us what specifically the bad choice was. It’s a way of learning what the right behavior is that we expect from them. Hopefully, this leads to better choices in the future.
Doing what’s right and understanding why it’s right are different things. Jesus gave lots of instructions to His disciples about how to live as a follower of Jesus. One particularly meaningful instance was when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet at dinner. The job was usually reserved for the lowest servant. I mean, really, who wants to wash everyone’s feet?
Jesus is teaching by example here, but He wants to make sure they get the point, so he asks them:
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?” John 13:12
Jesus wants to make sure they understand the full significance of what just happened. So He continues:
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 also 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. John 13:13-16
Following Jesus means loving others as He has first loved us. It means doing the jobs that no one else wants. It means sacrificing your own desires for the good of others. It means getting dirty—just as Jesus did for you!