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."
12After 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? 13You 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." (John 13:1-15)
Just before Jesus is betrayed, he shows us what it really means to be a leader who serves. Wrapping a towel around himself, Jesus performs the task that was ordinarily left to the servants.
As a group:
1. Read this passage.
2. What act of service does Jesus perform?
3. What does Jesus know in verse 3 that enables him to do this?
Reflect individually or in small groups:
1. Why does it take confidence to be a servant leader?
2. Where does that confidence need to be placed?
3. What act of service could you share in this week?
As a consistory you might consider, rather than doing business as usual, using a meeting or a part of a retreat to have a foot-washing service together.
Pray together, as a whole consistory. Sample prayer:
Lord, thank you for being obedient to the Father and taking the form of a servant. Help us, who have benefited from your sacrifice, to also serve one another in practical and spiritual ways. Amen.