March 28, 2002 - Maundy Thursday

John 13:1-17, 31b-35

Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end. It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal.

Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, "Master, you wash my feet?"

Jesus answered, "You don't understand now what I'm doing, but it will be clear enough to you later."

Peter persisted, "You're not going to wash my feet - ever!"

Jesus said, "If I don't wash you, you can't be part of what I'm doing."

"Master!" said Peter. "Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!"

Jesus said, "If you've had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you're clean from head to toe. My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene. So now you're clean. But not every one of you." (He knew who was betraying him. That's why he said, "Not every one of you.") After he had finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to his place at the table.

Then he said, "Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as 'Teacher' and 'Master,' and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other's feet. I've laid down a pattern for you. What I've done, you do. I'm only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn't give orders to the employer. If you understand what I'm telling you, act like it-and live a blessed life.

... Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man is seen for who he is, and God seen for who he is in him. The moment God is seen in him, God's glory will be on display. In glorifying him, he himself is glorified-glory all around!

"Children, I am with you for only a short time longer. You are going to look high and low for me. But just as I told the Jews, I'm telling you: 'Where I go, you are not able to come.'

"Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples-when they see the love you have for each other."

<The Message >


1. How would you know the time has come to shift your gears from talk about servanthood to actually demonstrating same? I expect it was as difficult for Jesus to live his preaching as it is for any of us. To move from unnumbered teachings and healings, and directing the practice of the disciples in this same work, to living it is always tricky. It is the movement within a family when it becomes known that the children have been learning more from the modeling they see than the words they hear and a parent finds they must actually walk their talk.

2. What is just now coming clear to us from this action of washing feet? How would you demonstrate mutual living in today's images? What would demonstrate not first requiring something from another, but offering something to them (whether "deserved" or not)? Something as simple as a kind word? Do you ask someone to confess or otherwise measure up before they are worthy? Do you proceed even if it is misunderstood or won't be understood for years?

3. The Spiritual Formation Bible says: "Go and perform an act of loving service for another person. Celebrate the fact that when someone receives your service, Jesus is received also."

What do you think is received when we refrain from loving service? Yes, we can receive nothing as well as something - we can also give nothing as well as something. Does thinking about what is not received help push us to greater offering?

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