Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet

The Gospel of John

John 13:1–20

Jesus Washes the Disciples Feet

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture. From memory, determine the central points.

  1. Perhaps this meal takes place the day prior to the “Last Supper” or, according to some, on that very day.         
  2. At that time and place, it was customary for either a servant or the youngest physically present, to wash the dirty feet of those gathered.
  3. Jesus is preparing His disciples for His departure; there are yet things He wants them to clearly understand before that event.
  4. John notes the presence of Judas, and also points out that the devil had already planted the betrayal into Judas’ heart and mind.
  5. Jesus rose up, took off His outer garments, put on the traditional linen garment meant for foot washing, and began to wash the disciples’ feet. Their feet would have been outward with the head around a central table.
  6. Peter does not want Jesus to wash his feet. Jesus, not rebuking Peter, but stating Peter would understand later, makes it clear to Peter it must be so. Peter quickly recants and Jesus washes his feet.
  7. Again John mentions Judas, who did not protest the foot washing, but despite the washing, would be a traitor.
  8. After the “ordinance” Jesus asks if what He did was understood. He then says that they are to wash each others’ feet.
  9. The Christian Church has generally understood this to mean that we are to humble ourselves and seek to meet each other’s needs. This is a healthy concept for us today who live in a world that emphasizes self fulfillment.
  10. Jesus points out that what He did they should do as well–acts of simple kindness. He pronounces blessing on those who so do.
  11. There is one present who will not be so blessed, and He references Psalm 41:9 which speaks of an intimate betrayal.
  12. John concludes with the promise that the one who receives Jesus sends, receives Jesus, and that one therefore receives the One who sent Jesus.

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