Day 15

What Love Looks Like

from the What Love Looks Like reading plan

John 13:1-38

BY Debbie Eaton

Text: John 13:1-38 

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
– John 13:35, ESV

I love to engage in conversation, and it is often at the table, whether in our own kitchens or favorite restaurants, that we learn so much about one another. It is where relationships deepen, where tears are shed, where we laugh so hard it leaves our faces and bellies sore. The table is—ideally—a safe place to share your hopes and be yourself.

That’s what makes what is about to happen here so painfully difficult. Imagine someone around your table has betrayed or hurt you—a person you would not expect, a person who calls you “friend.” It’s an unexpected blow that punctures deep into the heart and causes anguish and pain. I know because I’ve felt that kind of betrayal and hurt. For me, it resulted in vast insecurity, grief, anger, days of tears, and an increased caution with people.

Jesus, however, reacted much differently.

In this passage, the disciples are gathered in the Upper Room for the Feast of Passover. They have journeyed together for three years and have had countless conversations. They know each other well – really well. Jesus knew these were His final hours and He knew the condition of each heart that sat around the table. The Savior would once again break tradition with an act that demonstrates what it means to serve, forgive, love and sacrifice.

“He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” – John 13:4-5

Jesus humbly got on His knees and washed the feet of His disciples—an act only done by a household servant. The dynamics in the room were intense. Peter was uncomfortable with Jesus washing his feet. Judas would soon betray not only Jesus, but the other eleven men. None of this was a surprise to Jesus. So with human touch and words of truth, He demonstrated what it is to serve, value, honor and love.

What the enemy believed would end Christ’s mission was really a promotion of God’s plan.

Jesus knows what you will do to hurt, deny or betray Him, and yet He will always love you unconditionally and will forgive when you ask for it. Through His love and forgiveness, we can humbly serve another because it shifts our view from self to others—an act of love.

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.  Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”  John 13:34-35, NLT

As we gather around a table with others, we must remember that relationships are messy and the actions of others might hurt us. The very act of washing another’s feet embodies the healing power that turns hurt, betrayal and denial into compassion, empathy and love. Only Jesus can turn hurt to love. And when He does, the world takes notice.

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts,
there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
– Mother Teresa

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Post Comments (106)

106 thoughts on "What Love Looks Like"

  1. Jessica says:

    "…we must remember that relationships are messy and the actions of others might hurt us. The very act of washing another’s feet embodies the healing power that turns hurt, betrayal and denial into compassion, empathy and love. Only Jesus can turn hurt to love. And when He does, the world takes notice."

    So beautifully said!! Jesus is the ultimate!! These things are so hard to do in and of our own strength but healing flows from the deepest parts when we do this in faith.

  2. Jo says:

    Wow. This must be the single most comforting, beautiful and lovely passage I have ever read. I wept a little when peter begs him to stay, imagining loosing my best friend and not knowing when I would see them again. Jesus is love through and through. Bless you ladies!

  3. Alissa says:

    I am a bit behind in this study :) and have never shared a comment – only read them and have been so encouraged by you ladies and your insights. I just wanted to share some things that stood out to me today.

    Verse 10 also stood out to me for a similar reason. I took it to mean that when we become Christians, that is our spiritual “bath,” but we need to confess our sins daily, to keep a short account with God, and that is our spiritual “washing of feet.”

    Also, I never noticed before, but Jesus washes Judas’ feet. Such love! Jesus knew that within a few hours Judas would betray Him, but He still washed his feet. As if to say, “There’s still a chance to not go through with it, here I am doing all I can.”

    And lastly, v. 27, Jesus gave Judas the bread, then Satan entered into him. I think it’s interesting that Satan had to wait for this to happen, because Jesus had to fulfill the Scriptures. To me, this shows that God is ultimately in control, and also the obedience that Christ chose to display in even this interaction.

    1. KendraC4 says:

      Alissa, I’m a bit behind too… The last point you made was very poignant for me too. I never noticed before, and it made me think of His ultimate control over all things. Thanks for sharing that!

  4. LaurenC_ says:

    "Only Jesus can turn hurt into love." Please help me, Jesus.

  5. Kendra says:

    Thank you Jesus for the unconditional love and forgiveness you provide to me. I can be so inconsistent, so thankful that you aren’t. Help me to be what you want me to be in my relationship with you and others!

  6. Allie says:

    Some of our family's most meaningful times have been when we are gathered around our dining room table, sharing food and fellowship. I love how this was true for Jesus as well. May we continue to truly love each other, even through the hurt that most certainly will come. Thank you Jesus for your perfect example if how to love and your perfect spirit within us that enables us to do it.

  7. b11n11 says:

    John 13:1-38 contains so much but my mind has been camped out on one thought all day. “Having loved his own who were in the world , HE LOVED THEM TO THE END. And how like God to have my sweet friend and WR teammate introduce me to the song “Abba.” Tears welled up in my eyes in the parking lot at work as I arrive 15 min early every day to read SRT devotions. I’ve always said when I die I want two words written “She Loved.” I can fail at all else but Lord let me not fail to do this well.

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