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Master turns Servant: Jesus washes feet

As we continue on our Lenten Journey we continue in our readings from the gospel of John.

We’ve skipped a chapter and are now in chapter 13, the chapter which begins what is termed as the Farewell Discourse. These next 5 chapters (13-17) all take place at the final meal that Jesus and his disciples share just prior to the betrayal and arrest of Jesus. Our reading today is the only one of those 5 chapters we will explore in worship, and I really recommend you taking the time to read chapters 13-17 before we get to next week (20th March) and chapter 18.

As you’ve heard me say before, and others as well, there is soooo much that could be touched upon in John, and this passage is no different.

I’m going to focus on master turns servant and the ideas around servant leadership and just what Jesus is doing when he wraps that towel around his waist – but you’ll get that on Sunday! I want you to think about some other things as we come to this reading:

John’s gospel is the only gospel that gives us the telling of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. What does this tell us? Is it significant that this telling comes so quickly after the telling of Mary anointing Jesus’ feet and drying them with her hair? What do you hear Jesus saying when you read vs 1 of this reading? Take note of the timing of this piece. This is the 3rd Passover Festival in John but if you read closely you’ll notice that the action here and in the following chapters actually happen on the day of preparation for the Passover, so 24 hours earlier than what the other gospels give us! This 3rd Passover helps to establish the concept that Jesus spent 3 years in ministry before his death on the cross and resurrection.

The Farewell Discourse prepares the disciples for what is coming, and I hope when you read it you will feel the love and concern for them and their wellbeing dripping from every verse. Amongst this concern is also the promise of things to come, that Jesus’ words will keep them from stumbling, that an Advocate will be sent to guide them into the Truth. We hear of the great love Jesus has that is shown by the laying down of his life for his friends and we hear of the place of servants, friends and those who would be great.

Much to think upon as we begin to get into the detail of those last hours of Jesus’ life before the glory of the cross and resurrection is revealed.

Jay Robinson

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