From ages 11-15, I attended a church that practiced foot washing. What a humbling experience! Each time we celebrated the Lord’s Supper, the men would sit at tables on one side of the church, the women on the other. Before we ate a meal of meat and broth with chunks of bread soaked in it, one by one we took a long towel passed from person to person, tied it around our waists, and washed the next person’s feet. It was all pretty ceremonial, as we had washed our feet before coming. But that was not the case when Jesus did it. Every foot he washed was dirty.
- How would you feel if your someone washed your feet?
READ THE WORD: JOHN 13:1-20 (ESV)
13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
12 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? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 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. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
(Today’s questions focus on verses 1-11.)
- Three different verses refer to Jesus knowing something. What did Jesus know? What does this tell you about Jesus?
- Why do you think Peter challenged Jesus about washing his feet (vs. 8), then reversed himself so forcefully (vs. 9)? What does this tell you about Peter?
- What do verses 2 and 11 tell us Jesus knew about Judas? Jesus washed all the disciples’ feet, including Judas. How does this demonstrate Jesus’ love (vs. 1)?
- How does the first part of verse 10 illustrate a believer’s need for confession of sin and cleansing on a daily basis? How can you practice this in your life today?
RESPOND TO GOD
You gotta love Peter! He always seems to provide comedic relief in the Scriptures. And Jesus, the greatest teacher who ever lived, always seems to be challenging the way we think about life. Custom dictated that a slave in the household would wash the guests’ feet after they arrived; yet Jesus, their leader, assumed this lowly servant’s role for those who were his followers. Peter protested, but Jesus had a larger purpose in mind. When faced with Jesus’ ultimatum, Peter eagerly submitted to the Lord’s will, even when he didn’t understand.
- Lord, thank you for your promise to cleanse the parts of my heart that get dirty each day as I walk through life (1 John 1:9). Let me have a heart like Peter’s, to follow you with gusto to the end of my life.