JOHN 13:1-17


Life of Christ #51


There is no substitute for good solid preaching and teaching, both in church and in our homes. And those of us who do so are to be good examples. 1 Timothy 4:12


If anyone ever practiced what He preached it was the Lord Jesus Christ. 


As we return to our study of His life, we find him practicing what He preached.  He provided “Room Service”, or service to His disciples in “The Upper Room”.

It was the night before His death and He gathered His disciples together for the celebration of the last supper. Before the institution of the Lord’s Supper, He took the role of a servant and washed the disciples’ feet.


In this passage the Lord sets for us an example that we should follow. We will see: 




What Jesus was about to do in the Upper Room, in the Garden of Gethsemane, during his trial and on the cross was absolutely unbelievable.  To think that the God who created us would suffer so much for us!


The reason Jesus could endure what He endured was His feeling secure as God the Son.


Vs. 1 – In other passages it was said of Jesus that His hour or his time had not yet come.  But now, Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world by way of crucifixion.  He would go back to His Father in the splendors of glory, after suffering the most brutal and unfair death in all of history.


He knew where he was going, which gave Him a real sense of security.  You will only feel secure if you know for sure where you are going when you die.  It is something that nobody should want to leave to chance.


Another thing we see here is that He loved His own unto the end.  Even when they didn’t understand Him, forsook Him and denied Him, He loved them to the end. 


That is true today.  Jesus loves us to the end of this life and into eternal life. Romans 8:38-39


Vs. 2 – Judas was influenced by Satan to betray Jesus.


Vs. 3 - We are given some more reasons for Jesus’ being able to take the role of the servant, not only in the Upper Room, but in His sufferings and death.




All things were under control.  All that He was about to do He had the authority to do from God.  He was doing it voluntarily.  He wasn’t forced to do anything.

He had the authority to serve.

He had the authority to suffer.

He had the authority to sacrifice for us to give us eternal life.

He was secure because He had authority.




Jesus knew that He came from God.

Jesus knew that He was God.

You can endure a lot when you know who you really are!

You can serve a lot when you know who you really are!




Jesus was secure because He knew that when it was all over, He would be returning to Heaven. 


You, Christian will be called upon to humbly serve and submit yourselves in various ways.  You will be able to do this if you realize that.


1. You have authority.

God has given you authority to witness, to teach, to serve and to suffer persecution. Matthew 28:18-20, Matthew 23:11, 2 Timothy 3:12


2. You know who you are.   


Jesus knew that He came from God. You and I know that we are born of God, making us His children. John 1:12-13, Galatians 3:26


3. You know where you are going.


We can feel secure in suffering and service because we know where we are going when we did.  This life is a hundred years long at best.  Eternity is forever.  With God’s help we can endure anything!

2 Corinthians 5:8, Philippians 1:21


Jesus was secure!

You should be secure as well.   




When Jesus and the disciples had arrived at the Upper Room their feet would have been dirty.  The roads were dusty, and they wore open sandals. Usually when there were guests at a dinner, the host would have one of his servants wash the feet of the guests. In the Upper Room, there were no servants.


One of the disciples should have performed this task, but evidently none of them were willing. It was a menial, lowly task. Luke 22:24


Not one of them had fully learned to be a servant, except of course, our Lord Himself.


Vs. 4 – Our Lord arose during the meal, and quietly, humbly, and majestically laid aside his outer garments


Vs. 5 – Then our Lord poured water into the basin, and began to wash the feet of each disciple present.  As their Lord and Master, this was not His assigned task. As the Lord of Glory, He should have not been required to do this. But He did it out of loving service and as an example for them and us.


Vs. 6 – Simon Peter enters the picture.

Outspoken, impetuous, Peter could not keep still!

Others might let the Lord Jesus wash their feet without a whimper, but not Peter!

The thought that the one whom Peter rightly understood to be the Messiah would wash Peter’s dirty feet was intolerable.     


Vs. 7 – Notice the answer that our patient Lord gives to impatient Peter. “Peter, you don’t understand what I’m doing now, but you will later!”


After our Lord’s humiliation, death, burial, and resurrection Peter would understand. But right at that moment, he didn’t understand.


This verse encourages me.  We do not always understand why the Lord is doing what He’s doing.  And sometimes we don’t even know what He’s doing! I am reassured that when there are times when I don’t understand, I will understand later, if necessary. I am also reassured that whether I understand or not, the Lord knows what He is doing, and that He can be trusted.


Vs. 8 – Peter was emphatic! He was saying, “You’re not going to wash my feet! No way! No how!”


Jesus was even more emphatic.  He tells Peter, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me!”

If Jesus did not wash Peter, there would be no communion, no fellowship, and no part with the Lord.  We’ll explain that in a moment.


Vs. 9 – Good old Peter went overboard again.  He was expressing his desire to be a part of the Lord. If being washed by the Lord Jesus had something to do with being a part of Christ, then Peter was willing to have all exposed parts washed.


Vs. 10 – What Jesus is saying here is, “He that has had a bath only needs to wash his feet.”


These men would have already bathed for the day.  Their feet, however got dirty as they walked in open sandals. Only their feet needed to be washed.


Let’s think about the symbolic meaning here.

When you came to Christ you were redeemed. You were “washed in the blood”. You were saved. You were totally forgiven. You had a spiritual bath that made you a child of God, based on the sacrifice that Christ made for you on the cross.


But you have what has been called, “a daily walk”.

You walk in a dirty, sinful world, and although you are clean because you’ve been saved, your feet still get dirty.

They get dirty with sin!


You haven’t lost your salvation, but you have lost your fellowship with God. Proverbs 28:9


You have also lost your spiritual power because you have grieved or quenched the Holy Spirit that lives inside of you. Ephesians 4:30, 1 Thessalonians 5:19


How do we have our feet washed? 1 John 1:9


If Peter did not have his feet washed, he would have union with Christ, but no communion.


Even today, Christ washes our feet when we confess our sins.  He is still acting, in a way, as a servant. This should make all the more, not to want to sin!   


This act of submissive service by our Lord Jesus was just a precursor to what He would do on the cross.  Unless He had taken on the role of servant all His life and through to His death there would be no forgiveness of sin. Philippians 2:5-8  


Vs. 11 - And notice that Jesus knew who wasn’t clean.  Judas wasn’t clean. He never had a bath! He’d never trusted Jesus as His Savior.  He betrayed Jesus instead!

Remember, you can pretend to others, but Jesus knows if you are clean from being saved, or not. He makes not mistakes!




Vs. 12 – Jesus finished his foot washing ministry, got dressed and took His place at the chief spot at the table. He now sets His standard for us as our superior.


·       Jesus is Master and Lord – Vs. 13


They called Him “Master”, or “Teacher”.

They called Him “Lord”.

They were absolutely right to give Him these titles!

As Master or Teacher He would instruct them, and they were to listen.

As Lord, He was their sovereign, their king, their authority!

He was the one they should reverence or respect!


Christian, Jesus is your Teacher, Your master.  Let Him teach you!

Christian, Jesus is your Lord. Let Him boss you!


·       We are to follow the Lord’s example – Vss. 14-15


Vs. 14 – I see two applications in this verse.


First, Jesus humbled Himself to serve. He took the lowly job of washing feet. He took the even lower job of going to the cross to die for our sins. If our Lord and master stooped so low to serve us and others, we should be willing to stoop as low to serve other Christians, no matter how low or demeaning the job may be. Matthew 10:24


Second, when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, it was symbolic of cleansing from sin. This reminds me that symbolic foot washing is of another brother or sister’s sin is one messy, lowly job that we should submit ourselves to do. Galatians 6:1-2 


Vs. 15 – Do we need to literally wash the feet of the brethren today?

As a ceremony in the church, I don’t think it’s necessary.

But if I am in a situation where my brother’s feet need literal washing, or he needs some other sort of physical attention I should be ready to wash, or physically bathe him or her.

Whatever loving service is needed to make my brother or sister comfortable should be done, and never considered to be “below our dignity”.   


·       We can not escape the responsibility – Vs. 16


You and I are servants. Jesus is Lord!

You and I are the “sent”. The Lord Jesus is the “sender”.

You and I are not greater than the Lord Jesus.

If He served in lowly submission, washing feet, enduring a mockery or a trial, being brutally beaten and then suffering the shame of the cross, then I should serve in the same way!


I can’t escape that responsibility, nor should I want to!


·       Obedience leads to happiness. – Vs. 17


You will only be truly happy when you do as you have been told.

If you know these things in your head, obey them with your heart!



·       Jesus had authority

·       Jesus knew who He was

·       Jesus knew where He was going





Jesus is Master and Lord – Vs. 13

We are to follow the Lord’s example – Vss. 14-15

We can not escape the responsibility – Vs. 16

Obedience leads to happiness. – Vs. 17