Jesus Displays His Love

Open Your Bible

John 13:1-38, Isaiah 42:1, Mark 10:45, Philippians 2:5-11

Teresa lived a simple life. Simmer the soup. Scrub the dishes. Hug a leper. She probably started out not imagining choosing a life of poverty and service among the poorest of the poor would turn into a world-wide religious organization. She simply served.

I think Mother Teresa’s commitment to humble service might be the essence of what Jesus taught His disciples in the upper room during the last meal before He offered His life (John 13). He took off His outer garment, grabbed a towel and basin of water, and wiped the disciples’ feet—muddy, crusty, sweaty, hairy, calloused feet—until they glistened.

Our Lord pushed his fingers in between toes to wipe away layered road refuse. Of course, Peter rebuffed the Lord washing his feet (we might too). The King of Glory soiled His hands with a task so beneath the disciples, that none of the Jesus-followers offered to wash each other before the meal. The disciples wanted positions in heaven (Luke 22:24–30), Jesus showed them the true position of the heavenly-minded.

And then Jesus told the disciples to do likewise to one another (John 13:12–17). He chose to teach humble service in His last mentorship session before His betrayal. This is like a deathbed example: love each other by serving one another humbly. 

But He didn’t just tell them—He showed them to what extent they are to love one another: to the end of life itself (Philippians 2:6–8, Mark 10:45). The power of the gospel displayed in Jesus’s death, resurrection and ascension brings justice to the nations (Isaiah 42:1) through the sacrificial service of His people. He is the greatest worldwide movement of all time. 

But humbly serving our brothers and sisters in Christ—hurts sometimes. People gossip. Betray. Lobby. Judge. How can we humbly serve believers when everything in us wants to stand our ground? 

Jesus saw the sinner disciples seated at His table, but picked up the towel and the basin anyway. He plunged the cloth into the muddy water and washed the feet of Denying Peter, Doubting Thomas, and Betraying Judas. He knew they would run at His arrest (Matthew 26:56)—hide in fear after His death (John 20:19). But He humbled Himself anyway. Served anyway.

How we love our brothers and sisters in Christ may look different for each of us as we obey the Spirit’s leading. For me, right now it looks like not splurging on the new outfit so our family can support a missionary. It means holding my tongue when I want to gossip about someone at church. It looks like sacrificing an afternoon of needed chores to visit an elderly church member.

I’m not doing this perfectly, but maybe Eugene H. Peterson said it best when he said the Christian life is “long obedience in the same direction.” Whether in the slums of Kolkata or the ‘burbs in Indiana, I think Jesus’s example to the twelve belongs to us as well. Love one another through humble service—to the end. 

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59 thoughts on "Jesus Displays His Love"

  1. Jules D says:

    Thank you for that. A beautiful reminder that Jesus served knowing that his companions were very imperfect. He does not expect certain behaviour from people: he simply loves them.

  2. Bethany Kendall says:

    This study has been absolutely amazing! Thanks ladies for sharing your stories. I have many loved ones around me that are humbly serving those that they’ve been hurt by. It’s not something I was able to understand but after reading this, I realize that it is the exact love Christ shows us. What I saw as a weakness, Christ sees as a strength. I’m praying my heart will allow me to show the same grace.

  3. Portia says:

    I find it absolutely amazing that Jesus washed their feet knowing that they would abandon, betray, deny, & doubt!
    And this had to be a dirty, messy, stinky experience for Jesus. It makes me consider not just what He did, but HOW he did it. I can’t imagine he complained about how dirty their feet was, reminded them of their shortcomings, grumbled, questioned, and/or had a bad attitude.
    He humbly served them with grace, joy, & mercy.
    Lord help me to do the same with my biological family, my church family, my friends, & my students.

  4. Jordan Yeager says:

    Wow reading that was just amazing!

  5. Malisa Cruz says:

    I am so amazed my our God, no one is like him! “Heavenly-minded”

  6. Debbie Dodge says:

    Praying for Steve

  7. Claire B says:

    Karen S, I have walked those shoes. My mother prayed daily that the Lord would bring her home. He answered that prayer so we did not have to deal with memory car facility. I cannot imagine the pain this puts your father and your family in. We had to do this with my MIL For health reasons. It is all a lot to bear.

  8. Alayna P. says:

    Thinking about what Amanda said in the podcast: “God of the universe in human form washing feet” while reading today and I started crying. He even washed Judas’ feet knowing what Judas was going to do. The humbleness and the humility in this act. And in the first verse “he loved them to the end”. I felt John’s love for Jesus in those words as much as Jesus’ love for His disciples.

  9. Colleen Politanski says:

    Love this reading today

  10. Traci Gendron says:

    This is an area that I struggle with. Why is it so hard for me to serve those that have hurt me? I struggled with my step daughter for years. She was horribly mean and yet I was supposed to be mature, right? Well, I wasn’t. I was kind to her, but in my mind I was not having good thoughts about this girl. Time has gone on and I had the opportunity to tell her how I felt. We are now good, but every once in awhile I get those nasty thoughts about her. I really need to pray on this. It is not my strongest area to say the least.

    RACHEL – that is a very humbling story. I need to remember that.
    GRAMMIESUE – prayers for you and your husband

  11. Rhonda J. says:

    Great reading and study today, along with insightful comments. Oh how I love John and his heart for Jesus! I also listened to the SRT podcast today for the week which I highly recommend!
    Prayers please for my husband that flys north tomorrow to be with family going through a challenging time. It involves our grandson Brayden that I have also ask for prayer for. Thank you fellow SHE”S. Praying for your requests as well.

  12. K Swenson says:

    Thank you for sharing this memory, Tina! Such a poignant example of loving and serving the people around us here and now. I pray Efua knew the love of the Father through at least some of her neighbors. I’m so glad that God gave you a tender heart towards her at such a young age.

  13. GramsieSue . says:

    Ladies, briefly…Steve’s neurosurgeon is confident she got all of the tumor out. She will order an MRI in the morning to verify. However, she did tell me that the pathologist said it looks like cancer. They are sending it off to be certain. I am not going to tell Steve that yet. I want him to concentrate on getting well and not on what if’s. But please keep us in your prayers. And everyone’s comments on the devotional were so good today. I especially liked yours, Tina. Hugs to all. ❤️

  14. Dorothy says:

    “Love one another through humble service—to the end.” WOW!!! Seana “nailed it” right there. That short but concise sentence. BUT GOD, BUT JESUS!!!! “Humble service” for me that’s hard at times.
    Lord, help me to be humble and remain humble in all that I do. Allow me to show the type of grace and love Jesus showed. Remind me I don’t need to be “on top” to have the “good life,” all I need is You, Your Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen and amen.
    Be blessed and love those who are hard to love sisters.

  15. Rachel Lawson says:

    I’ve never seen that Eugene Peterson quote but I love it!

  16. JanB says:

    When I read about Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, I think about him touching His creation! I think about the disciples having God, incarnate, touch their flesh and serve their needs – physical and spiritual.

    As he removes the physical ‘filth’ from their feet, He is about to become the offered sacrifice to remove the spiritual ‘filth’ of their sin.

    The phrase “the ground is level at the foot of the cross” is absolutely true. We are all (believers and unbelievers) sinners in need of the saving blood of Jesus. As we continue to read God’s word and strive to know Him more fully, may we regard each other, more and more, as fellow pilgrims in this world. May we be drawn to help one another as there is need.

    I am praying for each of you in your need at this time. God bless you.

  17. Penny Malley says:

    Amen ❤️

  18. Victoria E says:

    Wow Tina what an amazing story. Thank you for sharing. Yesterday I read in the Bible in one year app stories of how suffering transformed people to be better and I had to wonder if the same could be said of me?? In some ways yes, but in other ways the wounds of past hurts make my heart feel at times like a feral cat, untrusting and ready to lash out at the slightest trigger. I’m not sure this is even related but I feel challenged to continue trusting God with those parts of my heart and serving others out of the abundant grace He has shown me. Thank you Arina, Searching, and everyone else who prayed for me, again like a switch I felt the peace of God activate in me sometime last evening. Thank you for your prayers. Lana Boone thank you for your insight ! And KarenS praying for your family in this difficult time.

  19. Rachel says:

    KELLY (NEO) a few of us performed that song at our Pinning Ceremony for nursing school. Love it so much!

    I was once put in the position as a nurse to “wash the feet” of one who had hurt me deeply. And she was put in the position of being forced to receive my care. It was one of the most difficult, humbling and beautiful experiences of my life. Jesus met me in that moment and enabled me to do what I would NEVER have chosen to do on my own. God used that act of obedience to bring such freedom from the hurt and bitterness I had carried.

    GRAMSIESUE – praying today for your husband’s surgery KAREN – being a caregiver is such hard work. Praying for grace for you today. LEXI – OUCH! I know that hurts so much! Praying for swift healing!

  20. Monie Mag says:

    Good morning sisters, anything we do for each another that washes away the grime of the world, the stains of sin, the dust of defeat, discouragement, loneliness and self-loathing is footwashing. This is to be the pattern of our life to follow Jesus’ example. I pray Holy Spirit for your help that this would be the pattern of my life.

  21. Lisa May says:

    I think it’s important to pay attention to how the biblical authors—especially John—arrange the order of their stories. Notice the foot-washing account does not begin until John has pointed out Judas’ pending betrayal: “Now when it was time for supper, the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray him” (V. 2). Then Jesus begins washing their feet, but in v. 11 we get the reminder, “For he knew who would betray him. This is why he said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’” After He finishes washing their feet and explains what He has been doing, we get a subtle reminder in verses 18-20—“The one who eats my bread has raised his heel against me.” Then Jesus comes right out and says it in verse 21: “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me,” and by verse 27, Satan has entered into Judas.
    The point of recounting all this is to see that John, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wants us to see that the revealing of the betrayer and the foot washing are bound up together as one story. Without even directly telling us, John has made it clear that Jesus washed Judas’ feet also, even as He knew that Satan was about to enter this man. Jesus washed His enemy’s feet. Matthew and Luke are careful to record Jesus’ words about loving your enemies in their Gospels. In John’s gospel, he is careful to SHOW us how Jesus loved His enemies. I am left wondering if John is trying to say something about Judas’ heart here? Was Jesus’ enemy-love and humility the thing that Judas absolutely could not put up with that helped Judas decide that this was the time to betray Him?
    I find the contrast striking to follow the author John, inspired by the Holy Spirit, writing about Judas, inspired in his heart by the devil.

  22. Lexi B says:

    Tina, I loved your story about Efusa. So beautiful.

    Adrienne, I felt the same way about Judas. To sit with Jesus and know in your heart that you were about to betray him…

    And Jesus, choosing to keep Peter, Judas and the rest of his disciples in his circle knowing they would run away from fear, deny and betray Him. It blows my mind, and also humbles me…I’m a sinner; but still Jesus wants me. Knowing my faults- my distraction, returning to old sins, selfishness, impatience, doubt- He still wants me. I am so thankful that Jesus gives me grace. I would be no where without it.

    Ladies I need your prayers today. Last night, while rushing around my apartment, I stubbed my 4th toe pretty bad. I wrapped, iced, and elevated it. This morning tho, I can barely walk on it without significant pain. Praying that it is not badly broken, that I can get in to see the doctors quickly and that it heals well. I am starting an adventure business and need my feet! Thank you.

  23. Allison Bentley says:

    9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” – John 13:9 Simon Peter was ready with his outward profession but was he ready with his inward profession? How many times am I the one ready to be “dunked” not really grasping what I’m doing or why! Lord help me to serve others !!

  24. Allison Bentley says:

    9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” – John 13:9

  25. Sky Hilton says:

    Good morning sisters!

    “Truly I say to you, the servant is not greater than his master, nor is the messenger greater than he who sent him.”

    So many people like to think they are better than others… but all are equal in the eyes of God

  26. Abby D says:

    @Grammiesue @KarenS – praying for you and your loved ones. May God give you strength, peace and encouragement. May he surround you with believers for earthly support. Amen!

  27. Suezi Gurzi says:

    Praying for you today, Karen. I watched my Mom handle the same situation with my Grandma. I pray you see God’s hand in every decision you make and you and your family have a peace you know can only come from God!

  28. Lana Boone says:

    Jesus gave all of himself when directed by the Father. Jesus didn’t always give all of himself. Sometimes he took time away from the masses to get rest. Sometimes he didn’t do what people asked him to do – and if he did, he helped in a way that was healthy for him in that moment. I think that’s an important point of distinction. Growth in Christ means learning to have this discernment. Be ready to lay it all down when directed, but never tolerate abuse – even the emotional and verbal kind (as seen with how he interacted with the Pharisees). The Son of Man is not only an excellent example of a leader, but a wonderful example of self care and love.

    I also think Jesus did what felt right to him. I don’t believe he washed anyone’s feet out of obligation. Thank you Holy Spirit for always encouraging me to do the right thing in the right moment, by blessing me with the feelings of boldness, courage, warmth, excitement, and love – even the hard things.

  29. Lana Boone says:

    Jesus gave all of himself when directed by the Father. Jesus didn’t always give all of himself. Sometimes he took time away from the masses to get rest. Sometimes he didn’t do what people asked him to do – and if he did, he helped in a way that was healthy for him in that moment. I think that’s an important point of distinction. Growth in Christ means learning to have this discernment. Be ready to lay it all down when directed, but never tolerate abuse – even the emotional and verbal kind (as seen with how he interacted with the Pharisees). The Son of Man is not only an excellent example of a leader, but a wonderful example of self care and love.
    I also think Jesus did what felt right to him. I don’t believe he washed anyone’s feet out of obligation. Thank you Holy Spirit for always encouraging me to do the right thing in the right moment, by blessing me with the feelings of boldness, courage, warmth, excitement, and love – even the hard things.

  30. CMS says:

    Something that struck me in the scripture reading today was that Jesus washed all the disciples feet with the same humble loving attitude, no matter what the future held. And that Judas sat there with the devil having put thoughts of betrayal into his heart, and let Jesus wash his feet. Is my heart ready to receive Jesus cleansing and forgiveness? Or am I planning to keep going in my sin or focusing on the world while Jesus is right in front of me, offering cleansing and life? Blessings to all today! God is love!

  31. Maria Baer says:

    I’ve attended many conferences in leadership and mentorship as part of my professional development, and one of my favorite topics is that of servant leadership. As I read today’s scriptures and devotional, it occurred to me that in those conferences, Jesus has never been pointed out as the perfect and ultimate example of the servant leader. Not surprising considering the corporate environment these days. But the deeper I go into the word, the more I want to emulate Jesus— to be that servant leader not just with those I work with, but with everyone. To have that spirit of humble service in everything I do, and with everyone I come in contact with.

  32. Adrienne says:

    Two things… this one always catches my attention… could you imagine being Judas when Jesus hands the bread to you? Eeek! (Am I like Judas, sometimes?) And in verse one… He loved them to the end… I never noticed that verbiage before. Gonna look in some other translations and study that more later!

  33. Jennifer Loves Jesus says:

    Haha, finishing here…. Singular name not names when we say in the name of the Father Son Holy Spirit. Love going deeper into this today. May the NAME above every other bless you all today!

  34. Ali Adair says:

    I have been struggling at work lately because it doesn’t feel like I’m being recognized for my work. I’m overdue for a raise and a promotion and this has led to a sour attitude. But, what if I’m here to serve my coworkers as if I’m serving the Lord? Thank you Lord for the reminder.

  35. Jennifer Loves Jesus says:

    Lifting your prayers into the name, the presence, the truth, the Word, to Jesus! The name above every other name. As I press into what that means I am intrigued. We put a lot into naming things. Why? The nature of our Creator is in us. We cannot deny our nature, even those who try have to reckon with it deep inside. A name is what brings to mind all of the things about what is named. A personality, a laugh that stands out, we call to mind the being of who is behind the name. In the name of the Father

  36. Karen S says:

    We recently moved in with my mother in law due to her Alzheimer’s. Today, I will take my 80-year-old mother to visit memory care units for my father who is in declining health with Parkinson’s. I fail miserably as I try so hard to be like Jesus in the midst of the daily. These are hard days, and I covet your prayers as I seek to humbly “wash the feet” of those who are in my care. ❤️

  37. Sue Dalos says:

    Tina, what wonderful encouraging words. I also encourage you to write your memories. It would be a book to treasure.

  38. Lachanda Phillips says:

    ❤️

  39. Taylor says:

    @Heidi and @Tina loved your comments today! I pray I live my life of long obedience in the same direction well and do not let the world distract me from my God-given purpose – to reflect Jesus to everyone I meet

  40. Allison Curtis says:

    ❤️

  41. Sarah J says:

    ❤️

  42. Riley Kelly says:

    Kristen, this is true for me as well. This month is the first time I’ve really stuck with a study daily and I feel like today’s reading came to life for me too. ❤️

  43. Elizabeth McGee says:

    Tina, that is a powerful story and I love what you said about God spiritually washing our feet daily

  44. Jenn Schuette says:

    Paraphrasing yesterday’s reading and today’s, this popped into my head: “Jesus came to love, not to judge.” Thank you, God, for such a timely reminder in my life.

  45. Riley Kelly says:

    Kristen, this is so true for me too! Today’s reading really came to life for me as well and this is the first time I’ve stuck with a study daily

  46. Kenya Rafferty says:

    I love this idea of long obedience in the same direction. I think Jesus showed this perfectly because he just kept going. If we are to live like him, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be consistent and humble and filled with love.

  47. Heidi says:

    Praying for application today… to really see others and not consider the act of service as “getting in the way” but rather the opportunity that I’m HERE for. To recognize the actual interruption is my self-made-schedule, and the opportunity to serve is my reason for existence. I get the two backwards consistently.

  48. Erin Washburn says:

    Lord help make less of me and more of you.

  49. Jessica Fehland says:

    Loved this ❤️ every devotion this month has touched my heart.

  50. Alicia Noble says:

    Todays scripture really hit me. I am constantly on the go and I need to listen more to what God wants and to serve others more abundantly.

  51. Churchmouse says:

    The Thursday before Easter Sunday our church has a foot washing service. Church sisters meet in one room, church brothers in another. Scripture is read. Hymns are sung. Each person kneels and washes the feet of another. It is quiet and solemn, yet filled with emotion. It is also not well attended. It is hard to set aside self consciousness and pride, to humble one’s self. The family of God doesn’t always get along well. This humble act is unifying however because it is humbly serving. It is a vivid reminder of what Jesus has commanded us to do. In Bible times, feet needed washed every day, several times a day. In our times, not so much. Yet the command stands. What can I do today to wash someone’s feet, to love another, to bow down and serve? Lord, don’t let me turn the page of this familiar story and just move on. Don’t let me close out this day without obeying. Help me to bow down to another and thus bow down to You. Amen.

  52. SEARCHING says:

    Praying for:
    GRAMSIESUE – Steve and his medical team during today’s procedure, and for you in the waiting
    VICTORIA E & SARAH D – for peace of mind and removal of any anxious/negative thoughts
    JEN – wisdom in job decisions

    MARTHA HIX and FOSTER MAMA – thinking about you and continuing to pray

    CYNTHIA JOHNSTON – love that prayer too, thanks
    JENNIFER LOVES JESUS – thank you for sharing that testimony
    RACHEL SMART-GARGASZ – had not thought about the order in that verse before, thanks

  53. Kelly (NEO) says:

    From Michael Card’s song “The Basin and the Towel”

    In an upstairs room, a parable
    Is just about to come alive
    And while they bicker about who’s best
    With a painful glance, He’ll silently rise

    Their Savior Servant must show them how
    Through the will of the water
    And the tenderness of the towel

    And the call is to community
    The impoverished power that sets the soul free
    In humility, to take the vow
    That day after day we must take up
    The basin and the towel

    In any ordinary place
    On any ordinary day
    The parable can live again
    When one will kneel and one will yield

    Our Savior Servant must show us how
    Through the will of the water
    And the tenderness of the towel

    And the space between ourselves sometimes
    Is more than the distance between the stars
    By the fragile bridge of the Servant’s bow
    We take up the basin and the towel

    And the call is to community
    The impoverished power that sets the soul free
    In humility, to take the vow
    That day after day we must take up the basin

    And the call is to community
    The impoverished power that sets the soul free
    In humility, to take the vow
    That day after day we must take up the basin
    That day after day we must take up the basin
    That day after day we must take up
    The basin and the towel

    Take up the basin and the towel
    (Day after day)
    Basin and towel

  54. Kristen says:

    We read: For this reason God highly exalted himr
    and gave him the name
    that is above every name,
    10 so that at the name of Jesus
    every knee will bows—
    in heavent and on earth
    and under the earthu—
    11 and every tonguev will confess
    that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the gloryw of God the Father.
    My prayer is that in God’s mercy, people would be drawn, repent, and bow and be saved now. Amen!
    Prayers for you all today!

  55. Margaret W says:

    I never read the book, but the title has always inspired me: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. That seems like a pretty good summary of what following Jesus is all about.

  56. Kristen Dill says:

    @Tina thank you for sharing this story! I love how you said that the Lord washes your feet constantly… what a beautiful image of our Savior!

  57. Kristen Dill says:

    I have been a believer since I was seven. I grew up in the church, studied the Bible, knew the stories, and after many years of wandering from my Father, I would occasionally return to His Word but the spark was gone. I have spent this month reading SRT devotionals here and spending daily time with the Lord because I have reached a point in my life where I no longer want to attempt this life without a deep relationship with Him. A true, daily, constant relationship. Today’s reading came to life for me. I felt them in the depths of my spirit in a way I have never felt, and it leaves me longing for more! More of His presence, His Word, His love… HIM. What a gift this ministry is. I pray the Word comes alive in a new way for each of you in the SRT community today, no matter where you are in your walking the Lord!

  58. TIna says:

    I spent many school holidays, when younger with my grandmother in her village by the sea.. I have a books worth of wonderful memories, but one that sticks out this precious morning, and in line with today’s devo, I think, is the lady that would go round the village eating out of the bins.. I can’t remember a time when she wasn’t around… until she wasn’t! The child that I was often asked questions like why does she do that. Where is her family. Why does noone help her. She was often in tatty clothes. I remember once being told she was mad and not to approach her!

    One week I came to stay with grandma, to find a funeral procession going past her house, sadly I asked who had passed away. Grandma said it was the lady that ate from the bins.. I wept.

    I wept not because others were, but because I had never seen a procession so beautiful, most of the village were present in the walk to the church. The coffin was made of wood, shiny gold hinges and carried through the village by well dressed gentlemen. At the church her casket was opened for a while to reveal someone I had never seen before..a most beautiful bride on her wedding day!

    Later that day, sitting close to my grandma, I asked her why the lady, whose name was Efua, was treated so badly when she was alive, often shooed from outside homes, had stones thrown at her, and ignored.. and in death she seriously had the most beautiful caring, loving funeral and burial fit for a queen…

    Even now as I recall those early days of my childhood, I have sadness in my heart..
    Is it not better to show love whilst people are alive? Would it not be a loving thing to show kindness to people to their face. No matter what, surely, yes I say it again, surely, for such an act, in her passing, there must have been love for her when she lived.. why was it not shown when she ate out of bins or was having stones thrown at her..

    That part of my childhood, is never far from my thoughts as I go through my day. Efua, was not a relation, but that experience spurs me on to do my utmost that on my watch, noone, will live the life Efua lived.

    If God spiritually “washes MY feet” daily, hourly, moment by moment, through every aspect of my mess, dirtiness, and sinful nature, I, knowing this CANNOT ignore my neighbour! I cannot walk by knowing I am cleansed by His blood, clothed in His mercy and grace, saved in and by His love..

    I am seen.

    I am Known,

    I am loved..

    And so should ALL. No one should be exempt.

    NEVER!

    AMEN.

    BUT GOD..

    Happy Tuesday wrapped in love and prayers..❤

  59. Arina says:

    This is such an example of what we read yesterday. To seek the praise of God more than the praise of humans. How do we do that? By loving others, even when they don’t deserve it. By humbly serving them.

    Gramsiesue – praying for peace for you and your husband today and that the surgery will go well.
    Victoria E and Sarah D – praying for peace for you too.