I Have Given You an Example (John 13:15) - Radical

I Have Given You an Example (John 13:15)

“If I then your Lord and teacher have washed your feet you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done to you.”
– John 13:15

Well, John 13:15 is pretty clear. Jesus in this passage stoops to serve his disciples by washing their feet, their dirty filthy feet. He takes the place of the lowest servant in a house, pulls out a towel and a basin, and washes their feet in a way that I can only imagine was uncomfortable at best around the room. I mean Peter says, “You’ll never wash my feet.” Which leads to this conversation between Jesus and Peter where Jesus says, “If I don’t wash you, you have no share in me.” And Peter says, “Okay then not just my feet, but my hands, and my head.”

John 13:15 Reminds Us to Serve Others

How can you serve someone in this way today? Let’s lay our lives down to serve others for the glory of God.

And the whole picture here is Jesus is showing his disciples what love looks like. To love someone else is to serve someone else. To love someone else is to stoop, to care for someone else, to do the unexpected, to take the place of a servant in compassion for those you love.

So, I just want to encourage you to think today. Don’t think just big picture in your life or let this be ambiguous think today how can you serve somebody else in a way that shows this kind of love unexpected, surprising, stooping, serving love. And some people believe that this is clearly a command to wash feet like literally to do that, which is why you see foot washing and a number of modern denominations practices that people will wash one another’s feet. I can only imagine how awkward that would be if we on Sunday in our church just said, “Okay, we’re going to wash everybody’s feet today.” Yeah, I’m not sure how people would respond.

So, maybe this is a picture to physically wash someone’s feet. Undoubtedly it’s a picture to stoop and a shocking, surprising way to serve others, to lay your life down, to care for, to show compassion to others. And so, I want to encourage you today. Who can you do that for? What can you do to express this kind of love? Jesus just said in his word, “I’ve washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you.”.

This Verse Leads Us to Ask God For Help

So God we pray that you’d help us today. I pray that you would help me today, help us all today who are praying this right now. Help us to show your love in shocking, surprising, serving ways. To lay down our pride, to put aside even what’s expected, and to stoop, to serve, to care for, to show your compassion for others. We know that you say later in this passage by this will people know that we are your disciples when we love one another like this. So we pray that you would help us. Help us to stoop to serve one another like this today. And in this we pray that you would be glorified in our obedience to your command and our life patterned after your example. In your name we pray, Amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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