Saturday, January 13, 2023
By Chris Boudreau, Small Group Leader
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” – John 13:14 (The words of Jesus)
In John 13, Jesus is gathered with his disciples in the Upper Room, sharing the Last Supper and final commissioning instructions. Earlier, the disciples had been arguing among themselves as to which one of them was greatest. Although there is no record of the seating chart we can only imagine there was a pecking order at the table of who is next to Jesus. We’re told that just before the meal Jesus rose from the table and began to wash the feet of his disciples. At first, they were all familiar with the custom, that for those walking in sandals on the filthy roads of Israel needed to have their feet washed before a communal meal, especially since people reclined at a low table where feet were in plain sight. It must have stunned them that Jesus, their Lord and master, wanted to wash their feet when they should have offered to wash His. It’s now Peter’s turn. The washing of his feet made him profoundly uncomfortable and, never being at a loss for words, protested, “You shall never wash my feet!”
Suddenly, Peter’s response quiets the room. Shocked, but they know his reputation of being loud, rugged, self-confident, and the most demonstrative disciple. Peter is looking for every excuse for Jesus to skip him. His mind is spinning, body language has changed, sweat forming on his brow, and now carefully pointing his finger to others and not himself. As Jesus approaches him, Peter raises his hand saying “Jesus, no need here, I got this! You don’t need to wash my feet, I’m good Jesus. You know me…we’ve been down this road before.” Peter gives the eye that it’s the other disciples who really need Jesus’ attention and washing.
How easily is it for us to identify with Peter? Raising up our hands saying, “Jesus, I’ve got this! No need to help me, I’m good.” Peter was thinking about hygiene, not holiness. Jesus is teaching that He has made us spiritually clean the moment we put our faith and trust in Him with our salvation. At the same time, it is a lifelong process of daily keeping short accounts with Him through the confessing of our sins. 1 John 1:9 says that when we “confess our sins he cleanses us from all unrighteousness.” When we do, we point our finger at ourselves and not others.
Finally, the disciples had every opportunity to wash each other’s feet. Instead, Jesus “rose” to the occasion taking initiative to wash their feet. In doing so, he was pointing out the obvious, laying out a pattern of serving others. Very simply, Jesus is teaching us that if you truly “got this” then act like it – and you will have a blessed life.
“Ask God to search your heart ,revealing the areas where you’ve had your hands up to him saying “I’ve got this!” Be open to whom and to where you can serve others.”
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.