Teacher Notes

Bible Stories for Adults

Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet

John 13:1-20

Welcome and Announcements
    Next Week - Jesus Ascends into Heaven (Luke 24:44-53; Acts 1:1-11)
    Bible Words to Remember:
      I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. John 13:15

Opening Prayer

Jesus' Example (Philippians 2:5-8)
    What is the key message of today's lesson?
      Philippians 2:5-7 = Imitate Christ and take the very nature of a servant
    How did Jesus fulfill the role of a humble, obedient servant?
      Philippians 2:8 = Became obedient to death - even death on a cross!

An Example from Last Week's Lesson (Mark 6:31-44)
    How intent was Jesus in living His life as a servant?
      Mark 3:20-21, 31-34 = So focused on others' needs that He neglected his own
    In last week's lesson, who was Jesus concerned about after learning of John's death?
      Mark 6:31-32 = He wanted to give His exhausted apostles some rest
    How did Jesus react when this solitary place proved not to be so solitary?
      Mark 6:33-34 = He had compassion on them...so He began teaching them

    How did Jesus again play the role of a servant as evening approached?
      Mark 6:35-37 = He accepted the responsibility of feeding the crowd
    How did the great servant complete this example when His apostles gave up?
      Mark 6:38-44 = He used His faith to perform a miracle in feeding the 5000

The Example of Everyday Servants (Luke 17:7-10)
    How did Jesus illustrate the tireless service of an obedient servant?
      Luke 17:7-8 = Used an everyday example of a servant doing his job
    Should we, as obedient servants, expect praise for our service?
      Luke 17:9-10 = We are unworthy servants, we have only done our duty

The Well-Taught Students (Mark 9:33-37)
    Did the apostles learn servanthood after a couple of years watching Jesus live as a servant?
      Mark 9:33-34 = No, they argued about which was the greatest
    Did Jesus clearly explain their calling as servants, or did they misunderstand a parable?
      Mark 9:35 = He clearly said that the greatest must be the servant of all
    How did Jesus add an object lesson to make sure they understood? = Kids were 2nd class
      Mark 9:36-37 = Even serving lowly children is not stooping too low

A Forgotten Lesson (Mark 10:13-16)
    Did the apostles take this lesson to heart?
      Mark 10:13 = No, they tried to keep kids from getting in Jesus' way
    How did Jesus restate His lesson of a few months earlier?
      Mark 10:14-16 = He pointed out how we should look up to & emulate kids

Looking for Greatness in All the Wrong Places (Mark 10:32-41)
    How did Jesus again show His obedient servanthood a few days later?
      Mark 10:32-34 = He went on to Jerusalem despite danger; obeyed destiny
    Did the apostles recognize and understand what Jesus was doing?
      Mark 10:35-37 = No, they continued to look for greatness in Jesus' kingdom
    Were James and John willing to work to earn these positions of honor?
      Mark 10:38-39 = Yes, although they didn't understand what they were agreeing to
    Would they be given these positions of honor because they wanted them or were first to ask?
      Mark 10:40 = No, those positions were reserved by the Father
    How did the other apostles feel about J&J's attempt to be the greatest?
      Mark 10:41 = They were upset with them

Greatness in the Lord's Kingdom (Mark 10:42-45; 1 Peter 5:1-6)
    How did Jesus explain that greatness in His Kingdom is different than greatness in this world?
      Mark 10:42-44 = Rulers are great in the world, Servants are great in God's kingdom
    What example could the apostles look at to see the greatness of servanthood in action?
      Mark 10:45 = Jesus Himself came not to be served but to serve

    How did one of the witnesses to this lesson later explain it to other church leaders?
      1 Peter 5:1-3 = Leaders should be examples of service, not as lords
    What benefit is there in serving rather than ruling?
      1 Peter 5:4 = Chief Shepherd will reward us with the great eternal crown of glory
    Is this message of humility only for leaders?
      1 Peter 5:5-6 = No, All of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another

A Servant to the End (John 13:1-3)
    With less than 24 hours to live, what did Jesus feel was most important to do?
      John 13:1 = To show His apostles the full extent of His love
    How did this obedient servant show the full extent of His love?
      John 15:13 = Greater love has no one than...that he lay down his life for his friends
    Had Jesus' final hours begun to play out?
      John 13:2 = Yes, His final meal was being served & Judas had already sold out
    Could Jesus have stopped and changed the story at this point?
      John 13:3 = Yes, the Father had put all things under His power

The Servant Takes Off His Outer Clothing (John 13:4)
    How did Jesus take this final opportunity to show Himself as a servant?
      John 13:4 = Laid down his seamless robe, Put towel around waist as a servant
    The verb took off is also translated as laid down in John 10. Why is this significant?
      John 10:11, 15 = Jesus also took off His outer clothing of human life for His sheep
    Why did Jesus take off His outer clothing?
      John 10:17-18 = Out of a servant's obedience to the Father's command

The Servant in Action (John 13:5-8)
    How did Jesus then show that we aren't just called to look like servants?
      John 13:5 = He began to wash the apostles' feet
    Was this a job for important or lesser servants?
      1 Samuel 25:40-41 = The lowest of servants washed feet
    How was Jesus' action accepted by the apostles?
      John 13:6-8a = Peter felt it was wrong for Jesus to stoop so low
    What did Jesus mean by later you will understand?
      John 14:25-26 = The Holy Spirit would explain everything to them when He comes

Clean Souls (John 13:8)
    How did Jesus respond to Peter's refusal to be cleaned by Jesus?
      John 13:8 = You must be washed by the Lamb to belong to Him
    What part will those have who are washed by the Lamb?
      Revelation 7:9-10, 13-14 = Praise God in heaven
    Will these saved people live as servants or will they be served by others?
      Revelation 7:15a = They will serve God day and night
    What joy can there be in an eternity of servanthood?
      Revelation 7:15b-17 = We will serve out of joy, all our cares will be taken

Our Bath (John 13:9-10)
    How did Peter over-react as usual to this threat of being excluded from Jesus' kingdom?
      John 13:9 = Wanted Jesus to wash all of him, not just his feet
    How did Jesus use Peter's misunderstanding to teach them other lessons?
      John 13:10 = Those who have taken a bath only need to wash their feet

    People didn't have baths in their homes, they had to wash at a public bath
      After washing, they would have to walk home on dirt roads
      People kept basins of water at their doors to wash street dirt off their feet
    What bath was Jesus referring to?
      Romans 6:4 = We were washed clean of sin in baptism
    How are we to get the "street dirt" cleaned from our feet as we walk in this world of sin?
      1 John 1:9 = If we confess our sins, He...will forgive our sins and purify us

Everyone is Invited to Bathe (John 13:11)
    What did Jesus mean in verse 10 that not every one of you are clean?
      John 13:11 = Judas was filthy with the sin of betrayal
    Why did Jesus also wash Judas' feet, knowing what he was about to do?
      1 John 2:1-2 = Judas, like everyone, was offered the forgiveness of Christ
    Could Judas truly have been forgiven for such a large sin?
      James 5:20 = Christ's forgiveness covers all our sins

The Lesson Explained (John 13:12-17)
    After this great object lesson, how did Jesus make sure the apostles got the point?
      John 13:12-13 = He sat down and explained it clearly
    Why did Jesus go through this whole routine rather than just saying this up front?
      John 13:14-17 = His example is much stronger than words

The Final Exam (Luke 22:24-30)
    Did the apostles finally understand what servanthood is all about?
      Luke 22:24 = No, they argued again over who was the greatest
    Did Jesus finally just give up?
      Luke 22:25-26 = No, He again explained that the least will be the greatest
    What example did Jesus again offer?
      Luke 22:27 = His own life
    What reward is in store for those who serve?
      Luke 22:28-30 = Greatness in God's kingdom

Closing Prayer

Copyright © 1997 by Kurt Rosenhagen

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