John 13:12-17

City Life Church   -  

By Opeyemi Ojekunle

The Word

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.


Jesus was God in human flesh and He washed his disciples’ feet, including Peter who denied Him three times and Judas Iscariot who betrayed Him. This act of washing the feet of His disciples is symbolic to a total submission and obedience. Jesus knew the disciples could not comprehend what he did, so he asked them, “Do you understand what I have done for you?”.

This question was not intended to make the disciples appear foolish because they knew the outward action Jesus had done for them; however, they did not know the mystery of what He did and what He would have them learn from it. Jesus asked the question to wet their appetite and increase their desire to learn. They called Jesus their ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’, so it is obligatory for them to receive and observe the instruction He gives them.

Jesus wants His disciples to serve one another in the same way that He has served them and to love one another, even if this love is not reciprocated. As we see in the case of Peter who denied Him three times and Judas Iscariot who betrayed Him. Jesus showed them that despite his royalty, He kept His mind humble and loved each and every one of them unconditionally. He wanted them to do likewise.


It is highly important, as believers, to know what is expected of us. If you picture a soldier in a war front who does not know his duty or where to serve, defeat will be inevitable. It is not enough to know, but doing what Christ has commanded brings peace, James 4:17.

We should always apply this to Christ’s command of humility, love, and service as Ephesians 4:2 explains. As we are washed clean by Jesus in God’s deep and generous love, our hearts are stretched to love more completely, fully, and steadfastly. Also, if we find ourselves in any position to help others, we should do so as this will give others an opportunity to grow spiritually.


Heavenly Father show us how to live and love in service and with compassion just like Jesus, Amen.