As the knife sliced through the tension of the dining room, the faithful mentor rose from supper to do the unthinkable. He left the comfort of being seated with his twelve protégés in order to bend down and wash each of their feet. This action seemed to be the ultimate fleshing out what John 13:1 describes when it said that “he loved them to the end.”
He faithfully loved protégés like James and John who asked Him for worldly request of power. (Mark 10:35-45) He faithfully loved a protégé like Peter who while under scrutiny denied that he even knew who his mentor was. (Luke 22:54-62) He even faithfully loved a protégé like Judas. I mean Judas is forever remembered for being… “a Judas” (Luke 22:48) and yet Jesus still washed his feet.
When looking at the best picture of the faithful mentor our best model will always be Jesus Christ. In reflecting on how Jesus mentored his disciples the principles that we can pull from his model is endless. However, for the purpose of brevity we will focus on 7 principles from Jesus’ model as the faithful mentor.
- Pointing to God- Theologians debate on this issue but it can be argued that Jesus’ primary reason for being here was to point to God’s glory. From his very words in the High Priestly prayer (John 17:1-26) to his miracles like the raising of Lazarus (John 11:4,40), Jesus continually directed the gaze to the Father. As mentors we sometimes can get enamored in our own abilities, planning, invested time and resources. However, the crux of our mentoring is found in the hope that God is displayed as being ultimate in our lives and prayerfully one day in the lives of our protégés.
- Prayer-Filled – If Jesus prayed so can we. The ministry of Jesus was complete with Him praying to his Father. If we even narrow the scope to how he interacted with his disciples regarding prayer, we clearly see his dependence on the Father through reading the scriptures. He prayed for them (John 17:9-26), taught them how to pray (Luke 11:1-4), corrected them by pointing them back to prayer (Mark 9:29), modeled rejoicing in prayer (Luke 10:21-24), prayed giving thanks for meals (John 6:11 and Luke 22:19) and transfigured in front of them while praying. Father, I pray that we as mentors would be given the grace to live prayer-filled lives dependent on you.
- Patient – It would seem like the disciples would have a perfect grasp on life and doctrine after walking with Jesus for three years. However, the scriptures reveal a different narrative, the disciples continually showed signs that they missed the how great He really was. Jesus was patient when Peter cut off an opponent’s ear in haste (Luke 22:47-51), awoke the disciples when sleeping on the job (Luke 22:39-46) and paused for the “Doubting Thomas’” (John 20:29 and Matthew 28:17) in the crew. We take our time to love our protégé’s through their blunders and mistakes. Sometimes, we narcissistically agonize over how we will be perceived through our protégés imperfections and miss our opportunity to minister with patience, grace and truth.
- Pursuing – “Oh how I love Jesus!!!…because He first loved me…” While the words of this Children’s Sunday School song are simple, its implications are profound. Jesus pursuit is seen throughout the biblical narrative. It is seen in his literal pursuit of his followers (John 1:35 – 51), the core of the gospel narrative if found in Jesus’ supernatural pursuit of us (2 Corinthians 5:21 and Romans 5:8) and the book of Revelation shows us that he is coming again for the faithful. (Revelation 22:7). While we one day we hope that our protégés will reciprocate that pursuit. One day we hope they will pursue growth in the knowledge of God, the love of God, the fellowship of believers, shoot… sometimes just pursue returning our phone calls. Let us take the initiative in follow Jesus’ model in being a faithful mentor that pursues.
- Purposeful – In observing the ministry of Jesus, there was an intentionality in the way that He led his disciples. One key component of Jesus’ discipleship was the fact Jesus brought His protégés along through Him. Among other things His interns watched him fulfill prophecy (Matthew 21:4), transfigure while God the Father audibly affirmed Him as his son (Luke 9:28-36), interact with naysayers (Matthew 22:23-33) and observe His numerous miracles (John 6:1 – 21). Throughout the great works done by Jesus he made it a point to his disciples to the glory of the Father. As we mentor we must seek to purposefully develop our protégés through cultivating in the teachable moments that point towards God’s glory.
- Promise – Keeping – While our sin nature limits us from keeping promises as seen in Jesus we can seek to model his integrity with our words and actions. The faithful mentor is one that shows up when they say that they are going to show up. They honor their commitments. They understand that mentorship is both taught and caught. Our protégés are looking at every aspect of our lives, let’s make it a priority to keep the promises we make to them.
- Perseverance – In 1 Peter 2:20 – 24, the leader of Jesus’ disciples writes a stirring reminder of Jesus’ perseverance in his letter to Christians who are suffering under the hand of persecution. To encourage the sufferers to persevere he writes about the suffering servant like this “20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (taken from biblegateway.com) Praise the Lord for Jesus’ perseverance.
As mentors our model for faithfulness is Jesus Christ. He loved his disciples as displayed by his service of them to the very end. As His protégé’s we strive to be prayer-filled, patient, pursuers who purposefully point to the prestige of God’s preeminent placement.
Mentors, thank you for being faithful thus far and be encouraged.
-Zach Middleton, Relationship Coordinator