B.L.E.S.S: Serve with Love

By Rick Bayer , June 04, 2023

John 13:1-17 (NIV) It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

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.

Serving begins with a relationship v. 1

“A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.” Luke 22:24 (NIV)

“You shall by no means wash my feet, no, never.” v. 8 (WUEST)

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:10-11 (NIV)

Serving grows when you’re secure in your relationship v. 3

Serving finds its basis in v. 34-35

John 13:34-35 (NIV) A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Serving requires you to get out of your v. 4-5

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52 (NIV)

Questions for Discipleship group and/or personal study:


  • Who would you nominate for a “Mother Theresa award” for selfless, tireless servanthood? Why them?

Go to the Source:

  • Read John 13:1-17
  • Given the custom of the time in foot washing, why do you think the disciples didn’t wash one another’s feet?
  • Why do you think Jesus did so?
  • If you were one of the disciples, would you have allowed Jesus to wash your feet or would you have reacted like Peter (v. 6-8)?
  • Rick said he was moved by picturing Jesus washing Judas’ feet. What does this mean for you to figuratively wash the feet of someone opposed to you? **

Live it out:

  • B.L.E.S.S.: Serve with love. What does it mean to put into practice this week, ‘Serve with Love’?