Wednesday (11/1)
Wednesday (11/1)

Wednesday (11/1)

The Passage

John 13:1-20

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. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 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, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 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. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 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.” 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.”

Word Work

Ask and answer questions. Questions unlock new discoveries and meanings. Ask questions about the passage using these words: who, what, why, when, where, or how. Jot down your answers to these questions

Word Thoughts:

As Jesus prepares the disciples for the crucible of his death and the pain of his departure, what will they need? The same thing every generation of disciples need: not a pep talk, but a deeper understanding and experience of the gospel.

Jesus loved these men “to the end” (v. 1)—that is, to the completion of his work as the last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45–49); “to the end” that God will be glorified in the redemption of ill-deserving sinners; “to the end”—to the fullest extent. No one loves us like Jesus, and nothing will ever separate us from his love (Rom. 8:31–39). And his compelling love propels us into faithful service (2 Cor. 5:14).

The water and towel, with which Jesus humbly washed the disciples’ feet, clearly anticipate the humiliation of his cross and blood, by which he would wash their hearts. Peter’s adamant refusal (literally “never to eternity”; John 13:8) demonstrates our innate resistance to God’s grace. Peter wasn’t being noble; he was being foolish, even self-destructive. Unless we submit to the criticism of our uncleanness indicated by our need of the washing of Christ’s blood shed on the cross, we have no life in Jesus. Jesus is always more ready to meet us at the throne of grace than we are willing to meet him there.

Jesus is our substitute before he is our example. The imperative to wash one another’s feet flows out of the indicative of Jesus washing us by his grace. Are we free (and lovingly compelled) to wash one another’s feet in our services of worship? Of course we are; but only as a gospel reenactment of the grace we have received, and when such an expression is accompanied by a lifestyle of servant love. Ritual without humble recognition of and response to the reality of grace is vanity, only fueling sentimentality and self-righteousness.

Jesus is the servant of Yahweh (cf. Isa. 52:13–53:12) who did for us what we could never do for ourselves. Through our union with Jesus, and the encouragement of his love, we are set free to honor one another above ourselves, and to serve each other in humility (Phil. 2:1–11). (1)

Word Reflection:

  1. What stood out?
  2. What did Jesus mean, If I do not wash you, you have no share with me?
  3. Why did Peter not want Jesus to wash his feet?

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Memory Verse(s): John 13:8

“If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.

End in Prayer

Resources used:

  1. Gospel Transformation Study Bible