JOHN 13: LOVE is Washing Your Disciples’ Feet and Loving Those Who Will Hurt You

Chapters  13-17 tell us what Jesus said to his disciples on the night before his death.   He gave final instructions to prepare them for his death and resurrection, events that would change their lives forever.  (Life Application Study Bible)

This post covers John 13

Before supper, Jesus began washing and drying the feet of each disciple.  

 6 When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

 7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”

 8 “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!”

   Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”

 9 Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”

14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you

Applications and Notes:

13:1-17   is a portrait of Jesus as the model servant.  He did the task normally performed by a household servant that washed the feet of guests as they arrived at a person’s home.  We must be willing to serve in any way that glorifies God.  Are you willing to follow his example?  Whom can you serve today?

(6-7)  Peter was confused by his Master’s behavior.  He still did not understand Jesus’ teaching that to be a leader, a person must be a servant.  How do you treat those who work under you (whether children, employees, or volunteers)?

(13:8-9)  Talking to Peter – “You won’t belong to me if I don’t wash your feet.”  This might mean he must 1)  wash away his sins by Jesus’ death in order to have a relationship OR 2) that unless Peter allowed him to do so, Peter would not learn humility.  Regardless, Peter understood enough, evident in his response.

(12)  Jesus’ greater goal was to teach about service to all the people to whom the disciples took the message of salvation.

Note:  Jesus already knew that Judas would betray him.  He makes references to this twice in this chapter (13:10-11 and next in :18)

Highlighted Passage:

18 “I am not saying these things to all of you; I know the ones I have chosen. But this fulfills the Scripture that says, ‘The one who eats my food has turned against me.’[ 19 I tell you this beforehand, so that when it happens you will believe that I Am the Messiah.

 (skip to) 21 Now Jesus was deeply troubled, and he exclaimed, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me!”

 22 The disciples looked at each other, wondering whom he could mean. 23 The disciple Jesus loved was sitting next to Jesus at the table.[g] 24 Simon Peter motioned to him to ask, “Who’s he talking about?” 25 So that disciple leaned over to Jesus and asked, “Lord, who is it?”

 26 Jesus responded, “It is the one to whom I give the bread I dip in the bowl.” And when he had dipped it, he gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. 27 When Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, “Hurry and do what you’re going to do.” 28 None of the others at the table knew what Jesus meant. 29 Since Judas was their treasurer, some thought Jesus was telling him to go and pay for the food or to give some money to the poor. 30 So Judas left at once, going out into the night.

(31-33)  Jesus talks about entering his glory and how the disciples cannot come with him. 

Key Verse: 34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

(36-37) When Jesus says that Peter will follow him later, Peter says he wants to come now; he is ready to die for Jesus. 

 38 Jesus answered, “Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter—before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.

Notes and Applications: 

(27)  Satan’s part in Judas’ betrayal does not mean that Judas was innocent.  He was disillusioned, finding that Jesus was not the kind of king he expected.  There are several possibilities of why Judas betrayed him.  Regardless, Satan assumed that Jesus’ death would end his mission and therefore God’s plan.  He did not know that it was the most important part of the plan all along.

(27-38)  We see two disciples who Jesus knew would hurt him, yet he never stopped loving them.  Likewise, he knows exactly what you will do to hurt him, and he still loves you unconditionally and will forgive you whenever you ask him.  (Isn’t that amazing?!)   Judas didn’t understand this, and he met a tragic death at his own hand.  Peter was different.  He understood, and he overcame his shortcomings.  His life ended triumphantly because he never let go of his faith in Jesus.

(34-35)  Christians must demonstrate that love is an attitude revealed through action that is often sacrificial.  We must love others the way that Jesus loves us. 

Let’s help when it’s not convenient, give when it hurts, devote energy to the welfare of others rather than ourselves, absorb hurts from others without complaining or fighting back.  This kind of love is difficult to express; that’s why others notice when we do it, and they know we are empowered by God.


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