We take a radical turn in our worship series through the Gospel of John this week. The past few weeks have addressed large passages of scripture that deal with complex stories: a conversation with Nicodemus (John 3:1-21), the Woman at the Well (John 4:1-42), Healing the Man born blind (John 9:1-10:21), the raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-44). This week we look at a simple story where Jesus washes the disciples’ feet in John 13:1-17.
There are two basic messages in this passage.
First, if you’re clean you’re clean, but not everyone is. Jesus told Peter that he didn’t have to have his whole body washed, because he was already clean. Judas, on the other hand, was not clean. He was about to betray Jesus, and there was nothing Jesus could do about it. Look back to this post about the power of decision and belief in John’s Gospel.
Second, a disciple of Jesus needs to follow Jesus’ example. John 13:15 is one of our guiding verses as Jesus-followers:
“For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.”
Jesus refers specifically here to the washing of feet, which is an act of servanthood. However, I believe this transfers to all of Jesus’ actions: compassion, healing, obedience, speaking truth to power, breaking cultural boundaries, self-sacrifice, etc.
This whole series is called Come and See. The Gospel of John is an invitation to see where Jesus abides and how Jesus lives; to see how God behaves in the flesh. He is our role model for life. Jesus lived in full relationship with God the Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit, for the sake of the world.
So should we.
This scene sets the scene for the words Jesus speaks to his disciples in the Upper Room. We will completely skip this section of John in our preaching series. This breaks my heart, because John 13-17 is my absolute favorite part of scripture. Be sure that I’ll be blogging about it in the next few weeks. Read all my posts on the Upper Room Discourse here.
Here is my visual meditation for this week.