God’s Renewing Word of Love
John 13:1-20: Today’s reading is set within the context of Jesus’s farewell meal with his disciples prior to his arrest and trial. In ancient Jewish society, it was the duty of the servant to wash the master’s feet. Here we read of Jesus taking on the role of servant and washing the feet of his disciples.
Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet
1It was now the day before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. He had always loved those in the world who were his own, and he loved them to the very end.
2Jesus and his disciples were at supper. The Devil had already put into the heart of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, the thought of betraying Jesus. 3Jesus knew that the Father had given him complete power; he knew that he had come from God and was going to God. 4So he rose from the table, took off his outer garment, and tied a towel around his waist. 5Then he poured some water into a washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel around his waist. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Are you going to wash my feet, Lord?”
7Jesus answered him, “You do not understand now what I am doing, but you will understand later.”
8Peter declared, “Never at any time will you wash my feet!”
“If I do not wash your feet,” Jesus answered, “you will no longer be my disciple.”
9Simon Peter answered, “Lord, do not wash only my feet, then! Wash my hands and head, too!”
10Jesus said, “Those who have taken a bath are completely clean and do not have to wash themselves, except for their feet. All of you are clean—all except one.” ( 11Jesus already knew who was going to betray him; that is why he said, “All of you, except one, are clean.”)
12 After Jesus had washed their feet, he put his outer garment back on and returned to his place at the table. “Do you understand what I have just done to you?” he asked. 13“You call me Teacher and Lord, and it is right that you do so, because that is what I am. 14I, your Lord and Teacher, have just washed your feet. You, then, should wash one another’s feet. 15I have set an example for you, so that you will do just what I have done for you. 16 I am telling you the truth: no slaves are greater than their master, and no messengers are greater than the one who sent them. 17Now that you know this truth, how happy you will be if you put it into practice!
18 “I am not talking about all of you; I know those I have chosen. But the scripture must come true that says, ‘The man who shared my food turned against me.’ 19I tell you this now before it happens, so that when it does happen, you will believe that ‘I Am Who I Am.’ 20 I am telling you the truth: whoever receives anyone I send receives me also; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.”
Today’s Key Verse: John 13:15
[Jesus said:] “I have set an example for you, so that you will do just what I have done for you.”
What are your thoughts about Jesus choosing foot washing to teach his disciples about what it means to serve one another? What opportunities have you or your community of faith experienced to be of loving service to others?
Lord Jesus, by your example you have taught us what it means to serve one another. Give me a humble heart and open my eyes this day to those in need of love and care. In your holy name, I pray. Amen.
John 13:21-35: Jesus predicts his betrayal.