I have always wondered how the apostles felt when they looked back at the Last Supper and realized that this was the last time things with Jesus would be somewhat normal. In just a few hours, he would be led off the mountain to a scandal-filled trial and a cruel and painful death. In that moment, the apostles would not have realized that some of the last words given to them were words meant to prepare their hearts to spread the gospel around the world.

John 13:12-16 recounts this occasion and says,

“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 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.’” 

Perhaps the apostles thought they were learning a good lesson about service and love, but the message has a special meaning for those of us who teach.

One of our main responsibilities as women in the church is to teach.

  • We teach young children who are just learning about God and his world in Sunday school.
  • We teach the younger women how to be a servant of God. We teach the unchurched to know Jesus and the Bible.
  • We teach our own children the beauty of Christianity in everyday living.

Whether we realize it or not, we are all teachers. And just like the apostles were told that Jesus was an example, we, too, have been given that same example. Jesus was preparing the apostles to do extraordinary things in his kingdom.

We have the opportunity to take these words and prepare our own hearts to teach. Good teachers aren’t just born; they are made with lots of preparation and hard work. 

What can we learn from the above passage about being ready to teach?

Do you understand what I have done to you?

When Jesus asked this question, he was asking if they truly understood that he was serving them, showing humility, and honoring them. As we prepare to teach, we should always ask ourselves, do we truly know what God has done for us? When we have taken the time to count our blessings, appreciate God for who He is, and recount the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, we become more passionate about telling others about the God of our Salvation. People can see a love for God within us. When we are excited about God, others will be excited about serving God as well.

You also ought to wash one another’s feet.

Jesus served. He humbled Himself not to put Himself in a position of honor or gain attention but to show his disciples he loved them and how to love those they would someday teach. As we prepare to teach, we must ask ourselves, are we doing this out of selfish ambition? Teaching is an act of service, whether it be to the cradle roll class that will not remember us or the oft-neglected elder members who still need time in God’s word.

So many people enjoy the attention teaching may garner them, yet they forget it is an act of service. Like washing feet, it is not always pleasant or clean work. We must be willing to sacrifice the time and be willing to navigate tough subjects. When we regard teaching as an act of service, we can better help those who desperately need the love of God.

Nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent Him

As we prepare to teach, we must remember that our message comes from the Father. We cannot teach the word if we do not know the word. How easily we could lead someone astray by giving them our opinion or sharing our feelings. When we teach, we are teaching God’s word and not our own. Therefore, we must be continual students ourselves. By constantly learning, we will be better equipped to help someone struggling with their faith or navigating a tough decision.

We must never lose sight that God’s word is greater than all of us.

As we begin this series on teaching, we will study how to be better prepared to teach those searching for Christ, whether they be young or old, new to the faith, or having grown up in it. Teaching is a marvelous gift that God has given us. Through teaching, we can love those around us and obey the Father. Prepare your heart to teach, and like

Luke 6:45 says,

“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good.”