Church Around The Table – Sermon Notes + Discussion Questions

We tend to have this idea that this thing we do on Sunday is what the church is all about and what it has always been about, but it isn’t.

The people that Jesus gathered and called His friends and commissioned weren’t gathered around a stage – they gathered around a table.

They did the things that we all do everyday in order to survive – and they did them together. Things like eating and drinking and working and so on.

But as they did it, they intentionally made space for others to be cared for, provided for, valued, and shown the great love of God.

My bet is, that for the majority of us who are Christians, if we look back over our own stories of how we have been transformed by the love of Jesus, most of our most impactful moments came through the hospitality of another.

Somebody who shared coffee with you. Somebody who took time to play a round of golf, or some other sport with you. Somebody who invited us into their home, into their circle, and made a place for us at the table.

The way we will make the real Jesus known in our community is by becoming a people who do what Jesus does by focusing less on the church around a stage and practicing becoming the church around the table.”

Questions to consider and discuss:

1. Jesus loves you and humbly laid down His life for you. How does His love free you to love others?

2. What acts of hospitality have you experienced that have revealed the love of Jesus to you? How did they impact you?

3. What are you already doing that could easily be used to love others the way Jesus loves them?

If you missed it you can watch the service here:

Practice 7: Week of 11/6



Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting (around a table, on the couch, the floor of a living room, etc.). Invite the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together before spending a brief moment in silence. Hardness of hearing is an unfortunate side effect of the frenetic pace in which many of us conduct our lives. When your community comes together in the hopes of speaking to and hearing from God, even a momentary measure of silence can work to slow and silence the swirling chaos around us, that we might hear what God is saying in and through one another.


1. Do you enjoy reading the Scriptures, or does it feel like a chore? Why?

2. When you read the Scriptures, do you feel as though you actually meet with and connect with God? Why or why not?


Our aim for this Fall has been to take part together in the most important component of our apprenticeship to Jesus – being with him. And so each of the practices we have taken part in this Fall have been about setting aside time and space to do just that – being with Jesus.

● silence and solitude: slowing down and calling our attention the reality of God’s nearness to us and with us

● abiding: making space and time to actually call our hearts and minds to learn or relearn how to remain in that reality

● emotional awareness: growing in awareness of our own hearts and emotional state and then being honest about it before God and one another

● casting cares: taking Jesus up on his invitation to bring him our burdens in exchange for his peace

For practices seven and eight the goal remains the same – the practices are built to facilitate being with Jesus – specifically through time reading and reflecting on the Bible. Most of us are familiar and comfortable with the concept of reading the Bible, however many of us wrestle with being formed by what we are learning. That’s why we have opted to take on the practice of lectio divina. Lectio divina has been used as a method of devotional Bible reading in the Christian church since the 6th century. Lectio divina is not meant as a replacement of Bible study or sound biblical hermeneutics, rather it is best used in partnership with Bible study to help us get what we are learning into our hearts and hands. The practice consists of five distinct movements: Preparing to meet with God, Reading, Reflection, Response, Rest. This week we will be practicing this as individuals.



Using Psalm 1, read and move slowly through each of the five movements.

1. Prepare to meet with God: Turn your phone off and leave it in another room. Situate yourself comfortably in a quiet, solitary place. Calm your body and quiet your mind before God as you work to prepare your heart to receive what God has spoken, and to respond accordingly. Finally, invite the Holy Spirit to guide your thinking and feeling as you read.

2. Read: Read the passage slowly and carefully, read the passage three times. Take your time. As you move through the text, pay close attention to what words and ideas draw your attention in unique ways. When your focus is drawn to a particular word or thought, pause and reflect.

3. Reflect: Upon completing the passage, return to the beginning and read one more time. On your fourth journey through the text, allow the text to connect with you personally. Which words or phrases resonate with your heart, your season of life, your person in this moment.

4. Respond: Talk to God about your experience. This is a time to connect with God, asking questions that might arise or listening for insight from the Spirit.

5. Rest: Pause to sit in God’s presence before fleeing from the moment. You might express wonder, awe, gratitude, or praise through words, or you might allow yourself to feel and experience these things quietly before God. This is a step of waiting on God without resistance.

Note: It can be helpful to write your word or phrase somewhere and take it with you as a reminder for the week.


1. What word or phrase did you reflect on in your time?

2. What do I need to know, or be, or do in light of the text?

3. Name one step you can take this week to move from “heart to hand”.

4. Make a plan to read Psalm 1 five days this week.



Practice 4: Week of 9/26


As you begin, take a few moments to pray as a missional community and invite the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together.

Eat & Debrief 25 min
While eating dinner, spend a few minutes catching up on life and then talk about the following debrief questions. If your group is larger than 7, you may find it beneficial to split into groups of 3-5 for this portion, “open the Bible together”, and “discussion questions” at the end.

  1. How did it go this past week?
  2. Was it easy or difficult to “let yourself feel”?
  3. Did you feel comfortable being honest with the Father about your emotions?
  4. What did “processing” those emotions with the Father look like for you? (If you did not get here last week, that is ok, no need to feel any pressure)

Open the Bible together 10 min
Have someone read Psalm 13 & 30:1-5 and talk about the following questions:

  1. What are some of the emotions you see present in the Psalms we’ve read?
  2. Notice the repetition of the phrase, “How long?” in Psalm 13; are there feelings that you have held onto for long periods of time?
  3. Are you able to name your emotions like David did in these Psalms?

The Explanation & Prompt 10 min
Watch the video prompt together as a group.

1. Put away your phone or any other distractions, settle into your time/place with a” Breathing Prayer” (this is just a fancy term for ↓)

• Close your eyes. Take long, deep, slow breaths. Release the constant chatter in your mind. Let each thought go as quickly as it comes, and just focus on your breathing.

2. Take a few moments to “Abide”. Focus your mind and heart on the reality of God’s nearness and that if you are a follower of Jesus, you have been given the Holy Spirit.

  • This is a good exercise regardless of whether we feel anything or not.
  • If you have trouble, it may be helpful to say/write something like, “God, you are here with me, thank you that you are good”. Stay here as long as it takes to be able to remain/abide/hold on to this truth.

3. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead as you take a moment to “Self-Reflect”. It’s helpful to ask yourself a few questions: “What am I experiencing now?”; “What have I been experiencing lately?”; “What is/has been going on in my heart and mind?”.

    1. God is not interested in falsehood or pretense.
    2. Let yourself feel. What emotions rise to the surface, big or small?
    3. Name “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of your emotional state.
    4. Don’t run away from what you’re feeling.
    5. Remember: our emotions aren’t something to avoid. Instead, they are a place to meetGod and open yourself up to him in new ways.
    6. Acknowledge the full truth about “where you are” and “what you feel” with God. Honestly share this with the Father. Sit with it for a moment, knowing that he hears and is present and desires intimacy with us in both our most joyful and darkest moments.

• If you find yourself struggling here, it may be worth returning to step 3 and reading Psalm 23 and sitting with it, and then re-entering steps 4 and 5.

4. Share your heart and process with the Father. There is no script for this, but the idea is to pour out/unpack your heart/what’s going on with God.

5. Invite the Holy Spirit to make known the heart of the Father for us, along with clarity or wisdom. There is no need to rush or force this. We can trust the Spirit is at work in and among us more deeply and long before and after this prayer.

The Practice 15 min
Dismiss everyone to go find a spot for the practice. Return to the same group you debriefed with.

Work through these discussion questions 10 min

  1. What did you find easy or difficult?
  2. Did you feel comfortable being vulnerable with the Father about your emotions?
  3. What did “processing” those emotions with the Father look like for you?

Close in prayer 5 min ______________________

Tips for the Coming Week

1. This is the type of practice that might take some time. Emotions can be hard, and naming them can be confusing. If you are having a difficult time putting a name to your emotions try using a “feelings wheel” to better define your emotions.

2. Keeping a journal can also be helpful for learning to name and understand emotions.

3. Lean on your community in times of difficulty, celebrate with them in times of joy!


Lent 2021

Lent begins this Wednesday, February 17th. Traditionally, Lent is a 40 day period of fasting, prayer and devotion towards remembering our brokenness and God’s work of redemption through the person and work of Jesus Christ. This season leads up to Good Friday, when we remember the crucifixion of Jesus, and all that He accomplished through His work on the cross; knowing that an empty tomb lies just beyond it. 

At Redemption Church, we don’t insist on a particular way to observe Lent. However, we do want to invite you to turn to Jesus with intentionality in this season. 

Set aside some time for prayer and reading from Scripture each day. There are a great number of resources out there to help guide you through the season. You’ll find a few recommendations below. 

Perhaps fasting from something is appropriate, but it isn’t required. John Piper writes that “As Jesus teaches it, fasting is an intensely Godward act. Do it toward God, who sees when others don’t.” If you fast, do it to help set your gaze on Jesus and to honor Him above all else. 

Recommended Resources:

Lenten Journaling Prompts – Caleb Humphrey

Caleb Humphrey is a member of Redemption Church, and he has put together a few prompts that you can use to help you keep a journal throughout the Lenten season. 

God is on the Cross: Reflections on Lent and Easter​ – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“​These forty stirring devotions​ will guide and inspire readers as they move thematically through the weeks of Lent and Easter, encountering themes of prayerful reflection, self-denial, temptation, suffering, and the meaning of the cross. Passages from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s letters and sermons provide special encouragement as readers prepare themselves spiritually for Holy Week and Easter Sunday. Supplemented by an informative introduction to Bonhoeffer’s life and a Scripture passage for each day of the season, these daily devotions are moving reminders of the true gift of Christ on the cross.”

 Lenten Devotionals – Redeemer Presbyterian Church

“In 2011 Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York published ​40 Lenten Devotions​ written by a variety of authors including Kathy Keller. Due to popular demand over successive years, RPC has continued to make the devotions available to help their people ‘prepare their hearts for Easter.”

This devotional material is available through the ​You Version Bible app.

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Lent Guide – Sally Lloyd-Jones

This guide includes:

    • A Letter to Friends (big and little) from Sally
    • A paper chain reading plan template, counting the 40 days of Lent
    • A reading plan calendar, with a corresponding chapter from The Jesus Storybook Bible to read each day
    • Coloring pages from the Jesus Storybook Bible Coloring Book, illustrated by Jago

Downtown Augusta Mural Guide

This year has been difficult to say the least. Redemption Church started holding our worship gatherings solely online on March 15th. In August, we made the difficult decision to not hold our regular Sunday worship gatherings throughout the Fall. We have missed one another, and we have missed gathering to worship, serve, and fellowship together deeply. 

So, although we can’t gather in our traditional sense this season, we have started a weekly rhythm of gathering for communion, fellowship, and serving that we are calling Sundays on the Porch. This compliments our weekly Home Worship Guide which is found on our website each week and continues to host our worship through music, prayer, and preaching. 

Each week we wash our hands, put on our masks, and gather on our porch at 930 Broad Street in downtown Augusta for a walk-through liturgy. We then send the church into the neighborhood with some way to get to know or serve our city together.

Last week we decided to take a downtown mural tour together. Augusta is blessed with many talented artists whose paintings have been popping up on buildings all over downtown. They are stunning to look at and fun to take pictures with. But what I love about these many creations most is that our neighbors made them, and their creations reveal the passions, dreams, and heart of people who live, work, learn, and play alongside us everyday. 

I encourage you to go see these murals for yourself. We made an Augusta Mural Guide to help you take your own tour. 

What I see in many of these paintings is a love for Augusta. I hope they serve to inspire us all with a love for this place and for the people, the image bearers of God, who live here.

Why We Say Black Lives Matter

This week we put up a new installation in our window on Broad St (pictured above) depicting a crowd of protestors with signs in the air. There are several Bible verses on the signs, and there is a banner across the top that says “Let Justice Roll,” which is taken from Amos 5:24. One of the signs affirms the truth that Black lives matter, because they really do, and Christians ought to stand up and say it and act accordingly.

For Christians, we should recognize the biblical truth that every person, regardless of their skin color, is created in the likeness of God and has intrinsic value. It is for this reason that we affirm the statement that Black lives matter. Jamar Tisby writes in The Color of Compromise, a book I highly recommend, “Black lives matter does not mean that only Black lives matter; it means that Black lives matter too. Given the racist patterns of devaluing black lives in America’s past, it is not obvious to many black people that everyone values black life.”

The phrase Black lives matter rose from the anguish and lament over the repeated unjust killing of Black people across our nation. Much like the recent rallying cry of I can’t breathe over the murder of George Floyd, Black lives matter became an expression that united protesters who were demanding justice for those who had been murdered and for the correction of the systemic oppression that was leading to their deaths. You probably know the names of some of those who have fallen; Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Philando Castile, Freddie Gray, Water Scott, Jamar Cook, Rekia Boyd, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice. There are many more.

As the expression gained traction, the Black Lives Matter organization was founded to continue to push for change on several issues. It is not a faith based movement, and they advocate for things that stand in direct conflict with the church. This has caused many Christians to directly oppose not only the organization but the phrase itself.

Jemar Tisby notes that while many Christians oppose the organization and what it stands for “the American evangelical church has yet to form a movement as viable and potent that addresses the necessary concept that Black lives do indeed matter.” The result is that we stay silent, or we change the language to All lives matter, which is actually incredibly dismissive and beside the point.

Pastor and author Thabiti Anyabwile wrote about this tension on his Twitter account last month:

I believe that it is critical that we start digging into what is really underneath White Christian’s inability to say the words. Why do we have such trouble affirming the truth of the statement Black lives matter with a full stop? Do we really not recognize that built into the statement is a question of when Black lives will matter to White people specifically? I don’t believe that it is because there is an organization we disagree with that has that name. I believe there is more to it, and I believe we all have a lot of work that needs to be done on our racist hearts. I also believe that God is merciful and gracious and good enough to do it.

We often say that we want to be a church that makes the real Jesus known by being honest about our failures, loving the way Jesus loves, serving the city for the good of all, and inviting everybody into the family of God. We’ve been praying for diversity in our congregation as well. If that is really who we want to be, if it is really our heart’s desire, then we who are White can and should be very mindful of our tendency toward White supremacy that would have us believe that we get to change the language and terms before we can tell somebody that they are loved and cherished and valuable before God and to us in the language they are speaking.

In Matthew 7:1-5 Jesus says “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (ESV). Could we be guilty of combing through the Black Lives Matter statements and beliefs in order to correct the speck in the eye of our crying brothers and sisters while we ignore the log of White supremacy that is in our own?

Now, I know that displaying the words Black lives matter in the church window alongside Scripture and the newer rallying cry of I can’t breathe might be challenging to some. That is okay. We can be challenged. We can talk about it with one another. We can prayerfully examine ourselves and ask God to expose and heal the sin and idolatry of racism and White supremacy that is in us. We can even, after doing such work, speak on our disagreements with the Black Lives Matter organization. What we cannot do is refuse to answer the cries of oppressed image bearers of God in their own language, nor can we continue to stay silent.

During this season of not gathering on Sunday mornings for worship, I’ve been personally convicted by how God tells His people repeatedly not to bring sacrifices, sing songs, or do any of the normal gathered worship things until they “cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression” (Isaiah 1:16-17, ESV). Jesus says in Matthew 5:23-24 that “if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (ESV). My prayer is, then, that we would take this moment of not gathering and purpose it to listen, recognize, pray, and act in a way that is glorifying our God as we learn to “do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with [our] God?” (Micah 6:8, ESV).

Resources to Help You Listen, Recognize, Pray, & Act


Children’s Books




Other Resources

Check back as we will be adding to these resources in the coming weeks.

Day 7 – Humility in the Death and Waiting

Luke 23:50-56 ESV

Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments.

On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.


Humility in the Death and Waiting

Jesus died, and was fully dead. He was wrapped in a fresh linen shroud and laid in the tomb. His followers, certainly still in shock, grief stricken, and exhausted, prepared spices and ointments for His burial and then retired and rested according to the Sabbath commandment. Their plan was to come back early on the first day of the week to finish their work with what they had prepared (Luke 24:1). However, for the moment, their work was disrupted by a rhythm that God put in place.

In Exodus 31:17, God spoke to Moses concerning the Sabbath saying, “It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed’” (ESV). That day of rest was a perpetual reminder that in all of their work and efforts they couldn’t accomplish what God accomplished. It was God who made them. It was God who set them free from slavery. It was God who would make them a nation. And it was God who would ultimately deliver on His promises to bless the nations through them. The Sabbath was a reminder that they could rest because “He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:4, ESV). 

A state of emergency seems to mean a season of unknowns and canceled plans. One day I was working on plans for our Easter service, the next I was making plans for what church services would look like for a congregation confined to their homes for weeks. Some have had to cancel vacations and special events. Many have lost a job or suffered financially. How can you stop to rest when everything you’ve worked for has slipped away? 

The humility of Jesus in His death and waiting exhibits a better rest. On the cross, Jesus spoke His last, saying, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46, ESV). In keeping with the sign of the Sabbath, Jesus humbly gave His life and His work over to the Father, and fully rested in His arms. We may not always know what tomorrow brings, but we can rest today in the proven goodness of our God who doesn’t sleep. 


Prayerfully consider these few questions:

  1. What deprives you of sleep or seems too important to put down? Have you rested from it? Could you use a time to be refreshed?
  2. How does the good news of Jesus prove that God can be trusted?
  3. How does the good news of Jesus refresh your soul?

Day 6 – Humility in Dying

Matthew 27:27-54

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.

As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders,mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”


Humility in Dying

The cross was an extremely well known and feared execution tactic in the Roman Empire. It was more than being put to death, it was torture of the worst kind. Executioners would tie a cross beam to the back of the condemned and make them carry it to the place of execution. Once arrived, as with Jesus, they would often nail them to the beam, attach it to a riser, and hoist them into the air. Shockwaves of pain would shoot through the body as their nerves bore their weight on the nails. It was a slow agonizing death that ended in eventual suffocation. 

Jesus endured this in His dying, but there was more. He was mocked, scorned, ridiculed, and taunted every step of the way. They posted a sign above His head that read “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews” (Matt. 27:37, ESV). A crown of thorns was placed on His head that dug into His skull, and they mockingly bowed to Him as king. Some watched and jeered Him, telling Him to save Himself if He was really the Son of God. Jesus bore it all; the beating, the torture, the utter hate, and He prayed “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34, ESV).

I can sometimes sacrifice a little of myself for somebody I love without saying a word. Maybe I can give up some rest in order to help a friend out or pass up something I want in order to buy something for my wife or kids. However, if I sacrifice something only to be mocked by the very person I am doing it for, staying quiet and humble gets exponentially more difficult. My ability to “look not only to [my] own interests, but also to the interests of others” decreases significantly (Philippian 2:4, ESV). It’s possible that my motivations are often more about getting high on my own self righteousness than truly loving somebody else. 

Paul writes in Romans 5:7-8, “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (ESV). Jesus suffered so much pain in the face of hate. He certainly could have shown those who sought to humiliate Him the truth of His identity with some awesome display of power, but He didn’t. That Jesus died for His enemies with such a quiet humility is truly astonishing.

The humility of Jesus in dying on the cross is the ultimate love. Jesus didn’t die for those who proved they loved Him enough. Jesus gave His life to prove His great love for those who mocked, ridiculed, and scorned Him. 1 John 4:10 says, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (ESV). The good news on this Good Friday is that He really is the Son of God who came to take away the sins of the world, and that He died for you and me because He loves us with an ultimate love. 


Prayerfully consider these few questions:

  1. What if somebody, who was considered high risk for dying from COVID-19, mocked you for sacrificing your social life and financial loss in an effort to not spread the virus? Would you keep quiet? 
  2. How does your own sin mock the sacrifice of Jesus in a similar way?
  3. Jesus loves you and humbly died to forgive your sin. How does His love free you to love others?

Day 5 – Humility in Washing the Disciples’ Feet

John 13:1-17 ESV

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. 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. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.  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. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 


Humility in Serving

Disciples would serve their teachers by taking on many of the duties of a slave in Jewish tradition, but they didn’t wash their feet. That job was left for actual slaves. Foot washing in the first century was a very lowly job. The places that people walked were muddy and littered with animal droppings and other filth. Wearing nothing more than sandals left feet caked in the dirt and grime from the road. It was a dirty job, so Jesus humbly laid aside His outer garment, and then He scrubbed the feet of His disciples.

It makes sense that Peter, as a disciple of Jesus, protested the idea of his Teacher serving him in such a lowly way. He wouldn’t have washed the feet of Jesus, how could he let Jesus do it for him? His Teacher, though, insisted saying, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Peter, who was always zealous if not overly so, responded, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” (John 13:9, ESV).

Jesus taught the disciples by way of example that nobody is greater than another. If ever they thought that a job was beneath them or that they should be served by others, they were to remember what Jesus did. Jesus, who was God in the flesh, their Teacher and Lord, “took the form of a servant” and washed their feet (Phil. 2:7). This, then, is the type of humble ministry they were called to also. 

In the midst of a global pandemic, when we are washing our germ infested hands constantly and staying away from one another so as not to spread a virus, I can’t help but think about the doctors and nurses and others who are humbly risking infection themselves to care for us all. On the other hand, there are those who, for a plethora of reasons, cannot understand or abide by the many mandated social restrictions on their life for the sake of the many.   

    The humility of Jesus exemplifies the better blessing of serving others. Jesus laid aside His outer garment to wash the disciples feet. Then, as John 13:1 says, “he loved them to the end” by laying down His life to cleanse their hearts from sin (ESV). In all of this He led the disciples to follow His lead and share with Him in the ministry of reconciliation. What He did for them He has also done for us. If we let Him wash us, we too can experience the true freedom of laying aside our own pride to humbly serve for the good of all. 


Prayerfully consider these few questions:

  1. How does a threat to your status, safety, freedom, or otherwise, make it difficult for you to serve others?
  2. Consider how Jesus humbly laid aside everything to serve you and the world. In what way did He lay aside the very thing that causes you to wince?
  3. How is His way of laying yourself aside to serve others a better blessing for you and the world?