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16. THE MASTER AS A SLAVE (John 13:1-17)

BACKGROUND: Jesus had rented a room and asked his disciples to prepare a Passover meal there. Water, a basin and a towel were ready at hand, but no servant was there to wash everyone’s feet before the meal. People ate in a half reclining position, and the unwashed feet of a neighbor could reduce one’s appetite.
  1. Jesus knew that he would die the next day. What would you do today if you knew that you would die tomorrow?
    • What does verse 3 have to do with the rest of the story?
  2. Why didn’t any of the disciples want to do the work of a slave? (Why did even the youngest of the company refuse to serve the others by washing their feet?)
    • Why is “a pecking order” so important for us humans, do you think?
  3. How do you think the disciples felt when starting the Passover meal with unwashed feet?
    • Why do you suppose Jesus washed the feet of the disciples only after they had started to eat (verse 4)?
  4. What did Jesus want to reveal about himself through this act?
  5. How would you feel if Jesus did something you had already refused to do?
  6. Why did Peter refuse to be washed by Jesus (verses 6-8)?
    • What do the words in verse 8a reveal about Peter?
    • Why do you suppose a person can have no part with Jesus if he refuses to be washed by him (verse 8)?
  7. Why do you think Peter all of a sudden wanted Jesus to wash his hands and his head as well as his feet (verse 9)?
    • What does Jesus mean by his reply to Peter in verse 10? (What does he refer to by “having a bath”, what about “washing one’s feet”?)
    • Can you say that Jesus has washed away your sins? If you can – where and when did it happen?
  8. Why did Jesus want to wash even the feet of Judas (verses 2,11)?
    • How do you think Judas felt when Jesus was kneeling before him?
    • Do you think Judas believed in the love of Jesus (verse 10)?
    • What was the big mistake made by Judas?
  9. How can Christians in our day follow the example Jesus set for us here (verses 12-17)?
    • Why is it impossible for a Christian to wash the feet of others, if he hasn’t already let Jesus wash his own feet?
  10. Why does this particular act of Jesus show "the full extent of his love" (verse 1)?
GLAD TIDINGS: Jesus associated the work of a servant or a slave with his own death on the cross by saying: “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-45).

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