Jesus wants us to treat each other as he taught us to with his words and example. We can learn to treat one another the way he treated those he met during his mortal life, and the way Father treats each of us still.
His mortal life is a template for our own:
He came in infancy, the most helpless condition a human being will find herself in. Modeling trust in parents, a capacity to receive service from others . He accepted all of the pain and shortcomings of the human condition and would one day rise above them.
He gave Mary and Joseph the opportunity to show us true parenthood. Mary accepted a divine errand, bearing and carrying Him before He bore us. All of us who are blessed to carry children are charged with protecting and nurturing one of the Lord’s precious ones, bringing him into a world of safety and love. Mary accepted, holding Him safe in her body, though she was unmarried. Delivering Him in a stable, away from home, creating “home” with her husband in an unfamiliar barn with few of her earthly possessions, showing us what makes a home anyway.
She raised him as any child, scolding, hugging, laughing, crying. As each of us parents do, she learned from Him. That He remained behind in the temple to teach taught her more about His mission, the depth of his purpose, and showed us the capacity of children for testimony and faith.
Joseph showed us the true nature of parenthood. The gift and privilege of adoption. The greatest of All was parented and raised by a man who had no part in His conception. Was Joseph less a father than he’d be if he had sired this boy? Joseph accepted a woman and her child, though he may have faced derision and mockery for doing so. Joseph protected and provided for the Prince of Peace, teaching us that the relationship between Father and Son in no way depends on biology.
This child lived as a child of His time and of His parents and grew to be a man in that place. Aware of His mission, He set out to fulfill Father’s will. He sought as disciples, aids and comrades, not rich or mighty, but meek. Fishermen, to make fishers of men.
He gave these men the opportunity to follow Him in service and rise beyond the struggle for food and shelter. Just as we may be lifted beyond what we currently are if we cast aside our worldly cares to follow Him.
He taught at the temple, in the streets, on a hillside, healing, speaking, blessing as He went. Always teaching. Mingling with adulterers, thieves, the poor, the weak. Touching them with words, love, and hands to soothe and administer. He admonished, calling to repentance, and forgave, healing broken hearts and souls.
He went purposefully into the desert, demonstrating purpose in seeking to commune with God, in finding privacy and quiet to do so. Here he underwent a heroic struggle, though not the most difficult He would face, as He fasted, defeating the tempter and overcoming those failings of mortality He accepted at birth.
When He entered Jerusalem the week of His passion, He accepted His place, riding a donkey over palm fronds reserved for rulers, as those who had accepted Him cried out in joy.
He served to the last, administering the sacrament in an upper room, washing feet and giving comfort even before it was needed, then knelt in Gethsemane. Wrestling mightily, not, this time, with desires of flesh, but with the misery and darkness that plagues every man, His frame shook as the ground soon would at his death. He sweat and bled, before the nails pierced him, before the sword touched him.
And finally, as the end neared, He made no protest. Arrested, He healed the soldier who the impulsive Paul wounded in defense of His master. He stood at the bar of a false justice, where a political leader threw him to the ravenous horde, washing his hands of an innocent’s blood. He carried His own cross, as He carries each of ours, and was stuck to it, willingly.
The earth shrieked her lament, as God and angels wept. He would rise, oh yes, but what unspeakable grief at the pain and destruction of this beautiful man who was more than a man. This son of God, of a woman, of a carpenter, who became Father of All. This teacher who IS truth. This lamb who is shepherd. When His disciples came to the seplechure three days after the crucifixion, they found it empty and an angel told them, “He is not here, for He is risen.” The world and its people found themselves saved, whether they knew it or not.
He asks us to do as He did. To treat each other as He did. With everything He gave He asks for a pittance back. He gave us purity and asks for our sins. He gave us joy and asks for our tears. He gave us His blood and asks for our hearts. He reminds us, as He did His friends before His death,
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)