”You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message.” (John 13:13-16)
John 13 is a pivotal scripture, as it is one of the final moments that Jesus spends with His disciples before He is betrayed and crucified. As they begin to gather, Jesus begins to wash His disciples’ feet. When the disciples, especially Peter, push back on the idea that Jesus would be serving them, Jesus uses the moment to teach them. If the disciples are going to acknowledge Jesus as their “teacher”, then He says they ought to follow the example that He has given them. What is the example He has set? Service. Culturally, washing feet was considered a very lowly act; something only done by servants. Jesus, however, sets the precedent that nobody is too good to be a servant. Jesus challenges His disciples by setting the standard that disciples serve.
As a disciple of Jesus, someone who calls Jesus “Teacher” and “Lord”, this passage is challenging for me. While Jesus may not be calling me to literally wash someone’s feet, there are certainly times where God, in the moment, is calling me to do something that I would consider “inconvenient” or “undesirable”. In that moment, when God is asking me to do something that will interrupt my schedule and routine, or is simply something that I don’t want to do, what is my response? What is my attitude? At that moment, Jesus calls me to serve, but too often, I believe that my time, comfort, etc. is more important. In John 13, Jesus reminds me that I am not above serving and sacrifice. He sets the example by sacrificing everything to serve me; the least I can do is be willing to sacrifice my routine and comfort. Honestly, it’s humbling and convicting, and challenges me to evaluate the things that I need to sacrifice in order to serve Christ every day.
Today, I am going to ask God how He wants me to serve. I am going to ask Jesus to give me His heart for service.
“Heavenly Father, please help me to follow Christ’s example to serve wherever you lead. Please help me to sacrifice my pride, which so often gets in the way of being willing to serve. I want to follow you, and serve you, with my whole heart. Thank you for the ways that you have served me in my deepest needs. Amen.”
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. From the passage of Scripture you read, highlight one or two verses that stick out. Write them down, and even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make some basic observations about the scripture you just read by asking these questions:
- Why was this written?
- To whom was it originally written?
- What is the author trying to communicate?
- What does the Scripture passage teach me about God and humanity?
After taking some time explaining the highlighted scriptures, begin to think about how they apply to your life. Ask yourself these questions and spend some time writing down your thoughts:
- What do these verses mean today?
- What does this verse(s) mean for my life?
- How does this verse challenge my thinking and actions?
- What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?
Your response to the passage may take on many forms. You may write a call to action. You may describe how you will be different because of what God has said to you through the Bible verses. You may indicate what you are going to do because of what you learned. You may respond by writing out a prayer to God. For example, you may ask God to help you to be more loving, or to give you a desire to be more generous in your giving. Keep in mind that this is your response to what you have just read.