God’s Word of Love
John 13:1-35: In ancient Jewish society, it was the duty of the servant to wash the master’s feet. In today’s reading, Jesus takes on the role of servant and washes his disciples’ feet. Jesus predicts his betrayal by Judas, and he gives his disciples a new commandment about loving one another.
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.”
Jesus Predicts His Betrayal
(Matthew 26.20-25; Mark 14.17-21; Luke 22.21-23)
21After Jesus had said this, he was deeply troubled and declared openly, “I am telling you the truth: one of you is going to betray me.”
22The disciples looked at one another, completely puzzled about whom he meant. 23One of the disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was sitting next to Jesus. 24Simon Peter motioned to him and said, “Ask him whom he is talking about.”
25So that disciple moved closer to Jesus’ side and asked, “Who is it, Lord?”
26Jesus answered, “I will dip some bread in the sauce and give it to him; he is the man.” So he took a piece of bread, dipped it, and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Hurry and do what you must!” 28None of the others at the table understood why Jesus said this to him. 29Since Judas was in charge of the money bag, some of the disciples thought that Jesus had told him to go and buy what they needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor.
30Judas accepted the bread and went out at once. It was night.
The New Commandment
31After Judas had left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man’s glory is revealed; now God’s glory is revealed through him. 32And if God’s glory is revealed through him, then God will reveal the glory of the Son of Man in himself, and he will do so at once. 33 My children, I shall not be with you very much longer. You will look for me; but I tell you now what I told the Jewish authorities, ‘You cannot go where I am going.’ 34 And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.”
Today’s Key Verse: John 13:34
“And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Why did Jesus choose foot washing to teach his disciples about serving one another? In today’s reading, Jesus gives a new commandment—to love one another in the same way that he has shown his love for people. How do you make known to others Jesus’s love for them and for you? What loving acts of service will you do today? Whose “feet” will you wash today?
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.
1 Corinthians 13:1-13: The apostle Paul teaches about love.