Wed Passion Week - John 13

Hi everybody, it’s Pastor Dave Shepardson at Word By Mail.  I'm here with you on a Wednesday morning of Passion Week as we continue to focus our devotions on Passion Week, preparing our hearts for Good Friday and for Resurrection Sunday.

It’s great to have you with us. We are audio-only today. (Honestly, most of our journal guides will be in audio format. I do the video every once in a while.)

Grab your Bible, and if you have an Alone With God journal, grab that. If you don’t have an Alone With God journal, you should get one or at least take a look at it. Go to, look at the Alone With God journal, and hopefully, order one there so you can follow along with us. If you don’t have the Alone With God journal, I am going to go through the steps, and you can use any journal that you have. So – again, most importantly, get your Bible, and with the audio version, it’s good because you can focus just on your Bible. Have your phone (or however you’re listening to me) and be ready to pause it and look at your Bible, as I take you through the scripture today, John 13. Go ahead and grab that now; pause the recording if you need to.

We’re going to go through the beginning of John 13.

John Chapter 13 is the beginning of what we know as the Last Supper. Maybe, more importantly, it is the beginning of the Upper Room Discourse. This is an incredible set of chapters from 13-17 in the Gospel of John. This is the most condensed and intense teaching that Jesus did to his Disciples. And it is all because he is facing the Cross tomorrow morning (not our tomorrow morning, today). After the Passover meal, the Last Supper, he would be facing the Cross. And so, Chapter 13 introduces the beginning of that Passover meal. So, it starts in verse 1.

John 13:1-17 (NLT)
1 Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. . . . This is an incredible statement. You have to put yourself here where Jesus knows the pressure. He knows the Cross is coming. He knows this is the last night with his Disciples before he carries the sin of the world to the Cross and pays the full penalty for your sin and mine. It’s an incredible thing, and we can’t even imagine the weight that Jesus has on him. But the second sentence says, . . . He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. In the New Living Translation (NLT), the footnotes say that the end of this sentence can also be translated as “he showed them the full extent of his love.” And that’s the incredible part – with the weight that Jesus is carrying, he is carrying the weight of paying for the sin of the world to be received by all who would put their faith in him. With that phenomenal weight, he is showing his Disciples the full extent of his love.

The other thing that’s incredible about this text is that verse 2 says, 2 It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. And so, Judas is in the room, which means what Jesus is about to do to show the Disciples the full extent of his love, he would also do to Judas, and he would do it with the same love that he did it to all the other Disciples.

So, Judas is in the room. Verse 3 says Jesus knew who he was. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. Jesus knew. He knew he was the Son of God, the Agent of Creation, the Author and Giver of Life. Jesus knew who he was.

And so, that gives weight to verse 4, which says, 4 So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, 5 and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him. Again, we have to – as much as we can, which is minuscule – imagine the weight that is upon Jesus that will ultimately lead to him, what Dr. Luke says, is sweating as if it were great drops of blood under the stress of the Cross when he is the Garden of Gethsemane. He knows exactly what’s coming. He knows that Judas is in the process of betraying him. He knew all of that. And he wanted to show us the depth of his love for us. And so, he became the lowest servant.

The lowest servant in the house washed the feet of those coming in for a meal. Everyone wore what we used to call “Jesus sandals” in the 70s, so their feet were dirty. And so, the lowest servant in the house would wash the guests’ feet. And so, Jesus took that position, knowing full well who he was and what was in front of him. He washed the feet of the Disciples. This is the lowest form of a household servant, but it also shows the full extent of his love for us.

And so, in verses 6-11, Jesus has this super interesting conversation with Peter; you can read that on your own.

We pick up in verse 12. 12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand (Do you get it?) . . . ” “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.

Guys, this is phenomenal. It’s phenomenal to put ourselves in that room with Jesus, knowing now (the Disciples didn’t really know right at that point), but we do know that Jesus is carrying the weight of paying for our sins, and yet he became the lowest servant. He humbled himself to the lowest level of service for his Disciples. But then, he calls us to the same thing. Do you understand? . . . verse 12 says. You know who I am . . . verse 13 says. And in verse 14, Jesus says . . .since I have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example . . . Do as I have done to you.

So, now, grab your journal. Again, if you have your Alone With God journal, grab it. If you don’t, grab a journal, and I’m going to walk you through the steps of the Alone With God journal.

Okay, so on a “Daily Journal” page, hopefully, it’s your Day Three “Daily Journal” page, write the scripture in there in the top bar. John 13: 1-17. I didn’t read it all, but that is the entire section. Then, in your "Daily Journal," it says Meditate. Meditate is the first step. And the instructions there say, “What is God’s Word saying? What are the spiritual principles here?” And this is a pretty clear section as to what God’s Word is saying and what the spiritual principle is here. So, pause this recording and read back over the text. Rewind this guide, and listen to me go through this text again if you need to, and then write in your Meditate section, “What is God’s Word saying here? What are the spiritual principles here?” And then come back, and we’ll continue.

Okay, now, it’s the Apply section. In the Apply section of your journal, it says, “How does this apply to my life today, personally and specifically?” Now, this is where you have to ask the Holy Spirit to make the Living Word come alive to you personally and specifically. Look back at the text. We’ve meditated on the text. We’ve talked through the text. Now, look at the text and say, “Lord. What do you have for me personally in this text? What are you calling me to personally?” Maybe it’s understanding the weight of what Jesus has done for you. Maybe, in addition, and hopefully, it’s understanding the weight of what Jesus calls us to do for one another. So, look at those two sides of this text, write how this applies to you personally, and then come back.

Alright. Now we’re in the Respond section. And in your journal, in the Respond section, it says, “What action will I take today in response to this truth?” Man, it gets real right here. What action will you take today in response to this truth? This can be a spiritual action. It can be an acknowledgment in prayer to the Lord. It can be a time of communion with the Lord where you just thank him for what he’s done for you and where you wrestle with him calling you to the same level of service. It can be something physical. You can go today and do something as a humble servant, the humblest servant, to help and (metaphorically) wash someone else’s feet. Be a servant to them. There’s a way. There’s a way. Maybe it’s your spouse. Maybe it’s your children. Maybe it’s a family member. But there’s a way for you to respond by actually taking some action today based on this scripture. So, pause the guide and write that down.

Okay, now to end, we’re going to pray. But the last step in your journal is to Pray. The instruction says, “My prayer to align my heart with the will of God on this truth is:” So, our final step here today is to Pray and to pray specifically to align our hearts with God’s Word on this truth. So, I’m going to pray, and then I’m going to release you and encourage you to write your prayer to God in your journal.

Let’s pray. Lord, Jesus, we genuinely can’t grasp what you were feeling on this night as the Last Supper began, and Lord, you took the form of the lowest, humblest servant. Lord, being God of Creation, being God in the Flesh, Lord, being the Ruler and Judge of this world, Lord, you took on the lowest possible position, and you washed our feet. And Lord, we are in awe at that. And we are humbled to imagine you doing that. Lord, we are humbled. And Lord, we are challenged. Our hearts are pierced that you did that, not only to show us the full extent of your love for us but to show us what you call us to in love for others. And so, Lord, please fill us with your Spirit. God, renew our minds. Transform us, Lord. Give us your new life so that we can take this position as the most humble servant to genuinely serve those that we love, to show them the full extent of our love. Thank you, Lord, for this powerful scripture. In your precious name, Jesus, amen.

Amen, guys. Thanks for joining us today. Get your Alone With God journal at And listen, please download the Word By Mail phone app from your app store. Just search in your app store “Word By Mail.” Download the Word By Mail app, and you can follow us there. You can communicate with us there. You can listen to over a thousand teachings, verse-by-verse teachings of God’s Word. There’s so much on the app. So, grab that, and text us for any reason. ANY reason at all. If you need anything, you text us, and if we can help, we will. That number is (877) 790-WORD (877) 790-9673. Let us know how you’re doing. We love to hear from you. God bless your day as we move toward Resurrection weekend. This is Pastor Dave. I will see you tomorrow. Bye-bye.

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