Summary: Servants make the eternal difference.


John 13:1-20

S: Service

C: Jesus’ washing of feet

Th: Sacrificial service


Type: Inductive

PA: How is the change to be observed?

• We are to understand Jesus.

• We are to serve each other

• When faced with opposition, we still move forward.

Version: ESV

RMBC 06 February 05 AM

ILL Unexpected – psychic (by Robert Carroll)

A reporter, named Summer, was excited about an upcoming assignment. All week, she had been preparing to interview a woman known as a psychic. She wasn’t sure how seriously she was supposed to take the woman’s powers.

“Should I have a reading done?” Summer wondered to her coworker, Robert Carroll. “What if it’s bad news, like I’m going to die or something?”

But the morning of the interview, the psychic called. She was going to have to postpone the interview, she said. Something unexpected came up.

I hope you pick up the irony of that…


Have you ever been confronted by the unexpected?

That is the testimony of the apostle John in the text we are studying today.

In fact, though John is writing many years later, he uses the present tense to describe the action.

It is so vivid in his memory that the past tense (which our translations use) will not do.

I am confident that the action of Jesus which we are about to explain surprised the disciples.

There was certainly a sense of irony, for it was very much on each of their minds who was the greatest among them.

For if they had not argued about it yet, they would soon.

They were a competitive bunch, and each one probably thought they could make a case about being the best.

Surely, John had felt he was at the top of the list.

He was one of the inner circle, and Jesus had unquestionably given him preferential treatment.

But many years later, John keenly remembers this action of Jesus as a rebuke to such selfish ambition.

The event begins in an upper room.

As Jesus and the disciples had come into the room there had been no servant to take care of the customary duties.

It is a different culture than what we are used to in our modern, suburban surroundings.

These were people that traveled by foot, walked in sandals and made their way on dusty roads that were cluttered with various unsavory things.

If there was no servant, it was the custom that the first one or two who arrived would wash the dirty feet of the rest of the guests.

But it is apparent that nobody in this group was in the mood for it.

They were enjoying the success of the week and began to be filled with bravado.

They were willing to fight for thrones, but not towels.

As the disciples are gathered, John describes the action.


1. Jesus rises (4).

As all are seated around the room, reclining on the floor (there would not likely be chairs) and getting ready to eat, Jesus leaves His own comfort zone of the table.

He gets up.

He makes the move.


2. Jesus lays aside His garments (4).

He does so for a very poignant reason.

For over there in the corner lay two untouched objects.

They sit there in the corner.

Just over there.



By men who were proud.

They are the towel and basin.


3. Jesus takes a towel (5).

And it is now, as the other men begin to notice Jesus’ movements, they are also able to interpret them.

For Jesus is about to do the very thing they were all too proud to do.

The raucous noise of laughing and cajoling slowed down to murmurs and whispers.

And then it became silent.

They were stunned.


You could hear a pin drop as…

4. Jesus pours water into a basin (5).

He has wrapped the towel around Himself.

Jesus is preparing to do the unthinkable.

He kneels before John and…

5. Jesus washes feet (5).

He is down on the dirty floor.

He is literally at the feet of the disciples.

It is toes in the nose.

Their smelly, dirty feet are being washed and rinsed by the Lord of the Universe.

He is washing the feet of James, Andrew, and Matthew.

He is washing the feet of Nathaniel, Philip, and Thomas.

And it is a room that is absolutely silent.

For Jesus is doing for them the very thing they were all too proud to do.

He is doing the very thing for them that they were ashamed to do.

And the silence continues…

Jesus maneuvers around the room, until…

Until He comes to Simon Peter.

Peter is shocked.

This is beyond his imagination.

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Browse All Media

Related Media

Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion