Lesson 80

The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

13:12 So when he had washed their feet, put his outer garment back on, and sat down again, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? 13:13 You call me, 'Teacher' and 'Lord.' You say so correctly, for so I am. 13:14 If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 13:15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 13:16 Most assuredly I tell you, a servant is not greater than his lord, neither one who is sent greater than he who sent him. 13:17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 13:18 I speak not of you all. I know whom I have chosen. But that the scripture may be fulfilled, 'He who eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me.' 13:19 From now on, I tell you before it happens, that when it happens, you may believe that I AM. 13:20 Most assuredly I tell you, he who receives whoever I send, receives me; and he who receives me, receives him who sent me."

 Today's Lesson 

In Today's Scripture, Jesus explains His purpose for washing the disciple's feet in Him own words. After He had finished washing their feet, He put His outer garment back on and came back to recline at the table with them. Then, He proceeds to instruct them on the purpose of the lesson.


He begins by saying that they call Him "Teacher" (Rabbi) and "Lord" and it is good that they do so. He is their Rabbi and their Lord. And then He makes the application to His lesson. "If I then, the Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet." Jesus was giving them an example that they should follow. But, why does Jesus want them to wash each other's feet?


The disciples had dissension in their ranks because of their own pride. Though the Gospel of John does not dwell on this aspect of their relationship to one another, the other gospels certainly do. There seemed to be real rivalries as to who was more important and who would lead. The disciples were not unusual in this regard. Men everywhere, as groups of animals will usually do, tend to establish a "pecking order". We gauge our performance and ourselves as it compares to others in our peer group.


But, Jesus wanted to teach His disciples that they needed to serve one another. In Christ's kingdom the strong serve the weak. God gives us gifts that we might serve others. And, the more gifts that we receive from God, the greater our responsibility to serve. From those that have been given much, much is expected. Jesus had chosen these disciples so that they might be able to lead His people when He was gone. It was time that they begin to mature and to accept the mantle of their responsibilities.


Jesus repeats to them that they are not greater than their Lord is. If they are to be His servants, they cannot hold themselves above the things that He, as their Lord, was willing to do. Though He had been given all things, He was willing to lay everything aside and take on the form of a servant. He was willing to be obedient, even unto death on the cross.


Not all of them would follow Him. Not all of them were "chosen". He knew that one of them would betray Him and He was telling them now so that when it happened they would be prepared. And He was telling them so that they might believe as well. "I tell you before it happens, that when it happens, you may believe that I AM." Jesus takes for Himself again the Holy Name of God.


Accepting Christ as Lord has profound consequences in life. If we call Him Lord, we cannot think that we are above doing that which He did. We cannot refuse to serve. We cannot rank ourselves by the world's standards. We must demand of ourselves that we follow the example of Christ. We are His servants. We must do as He bids us with the strength that He gives us.


What has Christ called you to do that so far you have resisted? If you feel that you have done all that He has asked, it is only because at some point you have ceased to listen. Christ constantly challenges us, constantly draws us closer to God. Listen closely to His voice. He is calling you to greater service. Are you willing to listen? Are you willing to serve as your Lord did?


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