S-Scripture: John 13:1-17
Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the
Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper 3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.
6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7Jesus answered, “You do not
know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” 9Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” 11For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.” 12After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
W-What Does it Mean and What Can I Obey?
“Peter begins by acknowledging Jesus’ place: He calls Jesus, “Lord” (v. 6). The word Lord is kyrios, and means someone
who is over another . . . a mentor, a head of household, someone in leadership, a person whose position is above your
own and must therefore be honored appropriately. It is not only a religious word . . . but a common word from society
for a person of position or status,” writes Jerry Webber in his notes on this passage.
“Jesus indicates he wants to wash Peter’s feet, but Peter is aware of the dynamics of kyrios power and wants nothing
to do with it. “No! Never!” Emphatically, he says to Jesus: “You’re not going to wash my feet—ever!” (John 13:6, MSG)
“But this is who Jesus is . . . and his message to Peter, to the Twelve, and to us is that this is who God is. God is willing to be humble in order to reach out to us. Jesus embodies God’s humility, God’s desire for a connection with us that is meaningful and undergirds all of life.
“Jesus wants his followers to receive this message unequivocally: You are not above anyone else . . . if God is able to
step down into the morass of human life, you can step down into the grit of human life, too.”
Webber continues, “The basic operating principle of our social and political structures is based on competition – with a healthy dose of comparison – rather than cooperation.” Peter compared himself to Jesus and found himself lacking.
Paul, in Philippians 2, explains what Jesus enacted in the foot washing. Jesus humbled himself. He knew who he was
and he willingly set aside his equality with God to show us how to live.
Webber concludes, “We have not sufficiently assimilated the spirit of Jesus for our lives in the world . . . in order to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly in the world. We are more practiced in individualism and personal rights than in solidarity with those who are in need. Culturally, we are more prone to self-sufficiency than we are to interdependence.”
“Humility means that we live into the truth of who we are . . . that we recognize and live with an awareness of both our strengths and weaknesses. When we live the truth of who we are with God, accepting our own limitations as well as our gifts, we will also find ourselves accepting the limitations – and gifts – of those around us. Finding compassion for ourselves most always translates to compassion for others, as well.
What do you consider to be your greatest strength? You biggest weakness?
How have you come to accept this about yourself?
What do you sense Jesus wants you to know about yourself?
What is one step you can take this week to develop compassion for the gifts and limitations of someone in your life
who you find hard to love and accept?
As your prayer, read aloud Micah 6:8 (The Message) Make the words personal, between you and God.
For example, Thank you, God, for making it plain how I should live and what I should do. You are faithful to let me know what you are looking for in me. Help me listen more closely . . .
But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously—
take God seriously.
Used with permission from Chapelwood UMC