By | November 1, 2020


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November 1, 2020


Devotional Reading: John 15:18__ 16:4a

Background Scripture: John 13:1-35

Lesson Scripture: John 13:1-15, 34-35


I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. John 13:15

Primary Learning Outcome/Indicators

Learners will know that God has commanded us to love one another as He loves us and indicate achievement of this by:

• Discussing the implication of Jesus’ action in the passage;

• Narrating Jesus’ perception of true greatness;

• Making verbal commitment to serve others this week with a sense of love and humility.


Some time ago, “Love Baptist Church” was faced with the challenge of cleaning her toilets, especially on Sundays. It happened when the Women’s Missionary Society (WMS) of the church could no longer afford to pay someone to clean the toilets due to financial constraints. For a long time, the toilets and urinals became dirty, having offensive and uninviting odour so much that it caused embarrassment to the church. In his attempt to encourage the people on the need to demonstrate love through service, the Pastor gave examples of how members of some Pentecostal churches, who are highly placed in the society, offer to clean their church toilets with joy and passion. The following Sunday, the pastor and his wife woke up very early in the morning and cleaned the toilets with all sense of humility. When the deacons heard about it, they were troubled. However, when they contacted the pastor, he simply said, “I am a servant, go and do likewise”. Of course, they were challenged and resolved to have a roster for the cleaning of the toilets, starting with their chairman. Eventually, the Women Missionary Society agreed to bear the financial responsibility of cleaning the toilets again. The word ‘Service’ originated from a Latin word ‘Servitium’ meaning ‘to be a servant.’ Jesus’ love for His disciples is evidenced in His selfless act of washing their feet, when actually it was the responsibility of the servants to wash the feet of their Master. Today’s lesson is a practical demonstration of humility, love and service to others as shown by Jesus to His disciples. Indeed, this act is contrary to the understanding of the world about humility and service.



Jesus spent the last few hours before the end of His public ministry with His disciples adequately preparing them for the continuation of the ministry. However, He knew the hour for Him to leave this world and go to His Father had come. Already, the Devil had put the thought of betraying Him in the heart of Judas Iscariot, son of Simon while the evening meal was being served. Interestingly, Jesus had a foreknowledge of three important things about the situation: That the Father has given Him complete power; the fact that He came from God and was going back to Him (v. 3). Therefore, He arose from the table, took off His garment and wrapped a towel around His waist. He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel. The experience was strange to Simon Peter thus he objected and did not want Jesus to perform this lowly service majorly performed by servants. He said to Jesus, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” (v. 6) Even though they did not understand the implication of the exercise but Jesus’ response in verses 7 and 8b explained the importance. Thus Peter replied in verse 9 saying, “…not just my feet but my hands and my head as well”. Jesus’ act is a replica of John the Baptist’s initial reaction to Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3:14).

According to the Jewish culture, it was usually the duty of the host to provide water for his guest to wash his feet (Genesis 18:4; 19:2). In this case, Jesus voluntarily offered to wash the feet of His disciples to show them humility and true greatness. This happened before the Feast of the Passover when He was preparing for His departure to meet with His Father in heaven. Jesus’ washing of the disciples’ feet is symbolic. As the host in His Father’s house, He demonstrated hospitality to His guests, the disciples. It is a lesson that whosoever wants to be great in life must be ready to love and serve others in humility. However, the reverse is the case with many leaders today. Rather than showing hospitality, humility and serving others in love, they enjoy being served and respected. They claim superiority over their followers and demand for their recognition, respect and service. This is quite the opposite of the life of Jesus who demonstrated true greatness by washing the feet of His disciples, even though He is God.


1. What is your view about some churches that still practise ‘Feet Washing’?

2. Mention instances where leaders in your church have demonstrated service to others in humility and how it has affected their understanding of service to others.


Jesus’ response to Simon Peter’s request to have his hands and head washed is remarkable. It explains the spiritual purity a person needs in order to have a saving relationship with God and live a fruitful life. Jesus said, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” (v. 10) Of course, Jesus knew who was going to betray Him because He knows all humans and as such, He does not need the testimony of humankind (John 2:24-25); hence He said not everyone is clean. When He had finished washing their feet, He put on His garment and went back to the table. “Do you understand what I have just done to you?” He asked them. Jesus declared the reason for washing their feet. As the Lord and Teacher had washed their feet, the disciples also ought to wash one another’s feet through love and service offered in humility. He concluded in verse 15 with the command, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”

Jesus’ exemplary lifestyle and the instruction to imitate Him in serving one another in our text have set the standard for servant leadership. It is no gainsay that these teachings are contrary to the belief of the world, but Jesus had made it clear that His followers should emulate Him as they serve one another in love and humility. It is not uncommon today to see some leaders instead of humbly serving the people in accordance to Jesus’ command, they prefer to be served and respected. This is contrary to Jesus’ teaching about servant leadership.


1. Why do some leaders see themselves as bosses to be respected and not servants who should love and serve others like Jesus?

2. ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ Mention some things you had joined others to do without fully understanding the purpose behind them.

3. Why is humility required to be an effective leader?


Jesus knew that His time on earth will soon end. After Judas left Him, He explained the revelation of His glory and that of His Father, which shall be revealed through Him. Specifically, He stated in verse 33 that He would only be with them for a while but the disciples cannot go to the place He is going (vv. 31-33). Based on the information of His physical absence, He gave a new command to them to ‘love one another’ (v. 34a). He charged them to practically demonstrate genuine love toward one another just as He had done to them. The admonition to love one another became necessary because it is the only proof that they are His disciples.

The commandment to love one another is repeatedly stressed in the Scriptures, both in the Old and New Testaments. In actual fact, Jesus’ new commandment to His disciples to love one another sums up the Christian way of life. It will be a mark of their brotherhood, created by Christ’s great love for them (Mark 12:30-31; Luke10:27), particularly when He will no longer be with them physically. Although it is sometimes difficult and seems impossible to show genuine love to others in this wicked generation; however, Christians should remember that it is Jesus’ command, and one of the ways to prove to the world that we are His followers. When we love one another, we are able to serve God and humankind without reservation.


1. Some people are tagged ‘unlovable’ in our society. Give examples of these people, and how Christians can genuinely show them love.

2. Discuss the different ways God shows us His love from day-to-day.

3. Why is love the hallmark of a disciple?

Commitment Based on Today’s Lesson

My Personal Commitment__________________

Commitment to My Church_________________

Commitment towards My Relationship with Others___________

Prayer Points

• Lord, give me the grace to love everyone as Christ has loved me.

• I pray for the spirit of humility and tolerance, in Jesus’ Name.

• Pray for our leaders from the church level to the Convention for the spirit of servanthood.

Fellowship and Ministry Building Activity

• Make a list of some menial jobs in the church or community that are difficult to do. Encourage class members to identify one of the jobs they will prefer and why.

Take Home

• Jesus is our perfect example of humility.

• Serving others is one of the pathways to greatness.

• Leaders should emulate Jesus’ example and desire to serve their followers instead of seeing them as insignificant people.

• God faithfully rewards those who serve His people diligently.

• Christians should be willing to love others as themselves.

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