Jesus Washes the Disciples Feet

To Remember: We are here to serve God and each other


  • humility:  not thinking too highly of oneself, opposite of pride
John 13:1-20 "1 Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. 2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him; 3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; 4 He rises from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. 5 After that he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. 6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter said unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? 7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou know not now; but thou shall know hereafter. 8 Peter said unto him, Thou shall never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. 9 Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. 10 Jesus said to him, He that is washed need not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. 11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. 12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? 13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. 16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. 18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eats bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. 19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he. 20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receives whomsoever I send receives me; and he that receives me receives him that sent me."

The Lord knew his time on earth was ending. This was the last time he would be with all his disciples. What does John say was on his mind? His love for the disciples. And out of love he taught them one last lesson - humility. It should not be surprising that this was an important lesson for the disciples to learn. Jesus said "loving your neighbor as yourself" was the second greatest command ever. It is second only to loving God with all that we are. In order to fulfill the mission of spreading the gospel, the disciples would need to learn to serve. Pride and arrogance would ruin the disciples' relationship to God, to each other, and to the people they were trying to save. Humility and service to others is the evidence of love.

Life of Jesus Bingo

It's an important lesson for us as well. People line up to do the tasks that are considered important, glamorous, or respected. But Jesus showed humility by doing the task that no one wanted to do. He washed the disciples' feet -- a dirty job usually performed by the lowest ranking person in the room. Was Jesus the lowest ranking person? No. He was Lord and Teacher. He knew he would soon be at the Father's side in heaven. Did he think it was too lowly a task for him to do? No. Are there tasks that we won't do because they are lowly? Because they are dirty? Because they are unpleasant or hard? But aren't those the jobs that most need to be done? And won't God reward those who do His work? We need to be willing to do whatever is needed. Jesus was not only willing, he prepared himself to do this service. Have we made plans to serve others?

The disciples had argued in the past about which one of them would be greatest in the kingdom. Jesus had answered them by saying the greatest people were not the warriors, leaders or heroes. They are like children who are powerless, obedient and humble. We should not waste our energy worrying about how we compare to others. It is not our job to judge others for what they do or do not do. It is our responsibility to fill the needs we see, whatever we are. James 4:17 says "Therefore to him that knows to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." Look at who all Jesus served. Even Judas, who left that table to betray the Lord, had his feet washed by Jesus. Jesus put himself in a position of servitude to his own betrayer.

Discussion: What can we do to prepare to serve others? What talents, resources, and services can we provide?

Discussion: Read 1 Cor. 13: 1-3 What role does love play in our service to others?

Discussion: Why did Peter not want Jesus to wash his feet? Why did he change his mind?

Sing:I want to be a worker for the Lord

Activity: Make a thank you card for the leaders of the congregation, acknowledging the services they provide.

True or False

  1. Jesus wanted to teach the disciples how powerful he was. F
  2. Jesus taught the disciples out of love. T
  3. Jesus said that if we do these things we'll be miserable.  F
  4. Leaders in the church are servants.   T
  5. As long as we do good things, it doesn't matter what our motivation is.  F

Memory Work:

Mark 12:33 "And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."

1 Peter 5:5-7 Likewise ye younger, submit yourselves to the elder. Yes, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble.

Proverbs 29:23 A man's pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit.

Review Questions for gameboard

 linguistic questions

  1. Define humility.
  2. Unscramble this word:      stuvierted   (servitude)
  3. Take the letters from your name and the name of someone next to you and make three words.
  activity questions
  1. Have every student turn to the person next to them and thank them for something.
  2. Act out the scene between Jesus and Peter.
  3. Play a version of "hot potato". Give a tossable item to the student. Have them 'give' the item to someone else, who then has to 'give' it to another as fast as possible, on and on until someone drops it.
  emotion questions
  1. What emotions should Judas have felt in this passage?
  2. What was Peter's motivation for his comments? Were they commendable?
  3. What does the passage say Jesus' motivation for the lesson was?
application questions
  1. How can we guard ourselves against pride?
  2. Name two acts of service you can do for others.
  3. The Bible describes all church leaders as servants. In what ways do elders, deacons, and teachers serve others?
fact questions
  1. Jesus said: "If you love me, keep my ________________" John 14:15
  2. Why did the disciples need their feet washed?
  3. What feast were the disciples about the participate in?
review questions
  1. Name two things stated in the passage Jesus knew about the near future. 1) that his hour was near, 2) that the Father had given him all power
  2. What was Jesus' response to Peter's objection?
  3. What did Jesus say would make them happy?