Read John 13:1-17
What’s the overwhelming message of this well known passage?
- Washing a guest’s feet was the job of the lowliest servant in the household.
- If Christ Himself, the Son of God, is willing to serve in this way, how much more should we be willing to do likewise.
- And if we look at verse 17 we see that there is a special blessing for those who follow Christ’s example in this way.
- The challenge for us today is to look to see how we can serve others – and to do so.
Jesus clearly states here that there is a difference between simply knowing what we should do – and actually following it through. How does that resonate with us as we seek to live out our faith lives each day?
What can we learn from the protests of Peter in this passage?
- Truly understanding what Jesus was and is all about isn’t always easy.
- Even if we ‘spend time’ with Christ as we allow Him into our lives, still it’s easy to get things wrong.
- Especially so if we ourselves are in a position of prominence or importance in our work place, where we might be called upon to ‘serve’ our subordinates in some way.
How often, like Peter, have we failed to grasp the message of Jesus in different ways.
What was the real aim in teaching this lesson to His disciples?
- To prepare them to continue His ministry when He had gone.
- To show how humility and servitude were essential in spreading the message of salvation.
How can we learn from this in our service for Christ today?
- Often as Christians it’s easy to become too pious and even to think of ourselves as better in some way because we have accepted Christ.
- Our mission should be too use the gifts that God has given us to do everything in our power and in the power of the Holy Spirit, to invite others to come to Christ too.
What else strikes us about this passage?
- For all the evangelical overtones of his Gospel, John is often accused by some of overlooking the Sacraments.
- Yet here the continued reference to bathing – both of the whole body and the feet – appears to be a strong reference to the Sacraments.
- Unfortunately, the Greek word used here can mean either ‘to bathe’ or ‘to wash’ and that has led to debate among scholars.
- Also, some translations have a shorter text ‘he who has bathed does not need to wash…’, whilst others have a longer text, ‘he who has bathed does not need to wash except for his feet…’
Some, therefore, see overtones of both Baptism and the Eucharist, whilst others see no real reference at all – so which is it?