Prepare to listen (about 5 minutes). When ready pray: “Speak, LORD, your servant is listening.”
Read John 13:1-17 (read slowly as you wonder about the details in the text).
1Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper 3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ 7Jesus answered, ‘You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ 8Peter said to him, ‘You will never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.’ 9Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!’ 10Jesus said to him, ‘One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.’ 11For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’
12 After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you?13 You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.’
Some background information
Today is called Maundy Thursday because it is the day the Church remembers Jesus’ command to his disciples to serve one another as he served them. Maundy is from a Latin term for ‘command’.
Simon Peter said, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ I like Peter. He’s so real. It never occurred to him that he should have taken up the basin and towel to serve Jesus and the other disciples. It did occur to him that it wasn’t right that Jesus should do servant work. It took a lot of courage to let Jesus wash his feet. I wonder how he felt when Jesus concluded his act of humble service with the command: ‘For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.’
What do you think Jesus meant by his command? How ready are you to obey it?
Respond to Jesus in prayer. Write your prayer response or pray the following prayer:
There is something very ordinary about serving basic needs like washing feet. I’d rather let someone else do the ordinary, Lord. I too often fail to live your way of service to others, wanting to do things that will get me recognition. Lord, forgive me and keep working in me to become more like you. In your name I pray, Amen.
Be silent and still and receive God’s grace and mercy.