John 13: Washing feet

December 20th, 2006

A successful team leader is someone who cares about the team members and can see the world from their perspective. A successful team leader is one who measures success through the achievements of the team as a whole, rather than through his or her personal achievements. So in today’s reading, when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, he was teaching them an important lesson in leadership. True leadership is not, as most people think, about telling people what to do. It’s really about being a servant to the people who have been placed under your care, and helping them to become all that God created them to be.

John’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 13

13:1 Before the Passover feast, Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave the world and go to the Father. He loved his disciples who were in the world to the end. 13:2 They were having supper, and the devil had already put the intention of betraying him into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son. 13:3 Jesus knew that the Father had delegated all things to him, and that he came from God, and was returning to God. 13:4 He got up from the supper table and took off his coat. He took a towel and wrapped it around his waist. 13:5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and wipe them with the towel wrapped around him.

13:6 He came to Simon Peter, who said, “Lord, should you wash my feet?” 13:7 Jesus answered, “You don’t know what I am doing now, but you will understand later.” 13:8 Peter said, “You will never wash my feet!” Jesus answered, “If I don’t wash you, you won’t belong to me.” 13:9 Simon Peter said, “Then Lord, don’t just wash my feet, but also my hands and my head!” 13:10 Jesus said, “Someone who has bathed only needs to have his feet washed to be completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you.” 13:11 He knew the one who would betray him, so he said, “You are not all clean.”

13:12 When he had washed their feet he put his coat back on and sat down again. He asked them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13:13 You call me, ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord.’ You are right to say so, because I am. 13:14 But if I, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you should also wash each other’s feet. 13:15 I have given you an example, and you should do as I have done to you. 13:16 I can guarantee that a servant is not greater than a master, and one who is sent is not greater than the sender. 13:17 You know these things and you are blessed if you do them. 13:18 I’m not talking about all of you. I know who I have chosen. The prediction will be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me.’ 13:19 I tell you before it happens, so that when it happens you will believe that I am the Messiah. 13:20 I can guarantee that a person who receives someone that I send receives me, and a person who receives me receives the one who sent me.”

13:21 When Jesus had said this, he was troubled in spirit, and said, “I am certain that one of you will betray me.” 13:22 The disciples looked at each other, wondering who he was talking about. 13:23 One of his disciples whom Jesus loved was at the table, leaning beside Jesus. 13:24 Simon Peter motioned to him and asked, “Tell us who he is talking about.” 13:25 He leaned towards Jesus and asked him, “Lord, who is it?” 13:26 Jesus replied, “It is the person to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. 13:27 After taking the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you have to do, do quickly.”

13:28 No one at the table knew why he said this to him. 13:29 Some thought, because Judas had the money bag, that Jesus was telling him to buy the things needed for the feast, or to give something to the poor. 13:30 After receiving the piece of bread, he went out at once. It was night.

13:31 When he had gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 13:32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him immediately. 13:33 Little children, I will be with you a little while longer. You will look for me, but I told the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you can’t come,’ and I tell you the same thing now. 13:34 I give you a new commandment, that you love each other. Just as I have loved you, you must love each other. 13:35 This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for each other.”

13:36 Simon Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going, you can’t follow now, but you will follow later.” 13:37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will give up my life for you.” 13:38 Jesus answered him, “Will you give up your life for me? I can guarantee that the rooster won’t crow until you have denied me three times.”

Entry Filed under: Generosity

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. » The&hellip  |  June 13th, 2009 at 8:11 am

    […] John chapter 13 describes how, during the Last Supper before he was crucified, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. The timing and circumstances suggest that Jesus wanted his disciples to remember this as one of the most important lessons he ever taught: “Jesus knew that the Father had delegated all things to him, and that he came from God, and was returning to God… he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and wipe them with the towel wrapped around him.” […]

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