John 13:1-17: The Son as a Slave
There were two things on Jesus’ heart the night before his crucifixion—his Father and his disciples. In John 13-17, we have the privilege of listening to his conversations with them both. However, before Jesus can instruct his disciples about his death, he has to act out a lesson in servitude. Jesus also shows us the spirit he expects in those who follow him. Greatness in Christ's eyes does not come from having many servants but from being the servant of many.
Warming Up to God
Have you ever been asked to do a demeaning, lowly job? What thoughts went through your mind at that time? Praise God for a Savior who was willing to take on the lowliest task of all.
Discovering the Word
- According to John, what did Jesus know about himself (vv. 1-3)? In light of that knowledge, what is remarkable about what Jesus did next (vv. 4-5)?
- Footwashing was normally done by servants or slaves. Why do you think that Jesus washed his disciples' feet instead of simply talking to them about love?
- Was Peter simply being humble when he refused to allow Jesus to serve him (vv. 6-8)? Explain.
- What spiritual truth was Jesus trying to communicate to Peter (and to us) in verses 8-11?
- Based on Jesus' words in verse 17, how would you describe the relationship between knowledge, action and joy in the Christian life?
Applying the Word
- What has this chapter revealed to you about your attitude toward serving?
- In what specific ways can you model the humility of Jesus toward those with whom you live or work?
Responding in Prayer
Ask God to give you a humble spirit.