John 13:12-17

Talks for Growing Christians

The Lord’s Command to Follow His Example and Wash One Another’s Feet

John 13:12-17

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Lesson Number 62

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Washing one another’s feet is not an ordinance for the Church.
  2. Washing one another’s feet is not an option for the Christian.

Practical Application

  1. Let’s not wash one another’s feet with scalding hot water or freezing cold water.


  1. Why did Jesus ask His disciples if they knew what He had done when He washed their feet?
  2. Is foot washing an ordinance of the church? Explain.
  3. What is the deeper meaning of foot washing?
  4. Is “foot washing” an option for the Christian?
  5. What temperature should the water be as we wash one another’s feet?


  1. His question showed that there was a deeper meaning to the foot washing. Otherwise, it would have been a simple answer because foot washing was a common custom.
  2. No. The early church did not practice it as an ordinance, and the only other mention of it in Scripture showed that it was simply a gesture of hospitality (1 Timothy 5:10). And the Lord’s explanation indicates that it is not an ordinance, but rather that His disciples are to humbly serve one another in love.
  3. To serve one another in love and humility
  4. No. We have a responsibility and a privilege to wash one another’s feet. That is, to apply the word of God to our brothers and sisters in love. See Ephesians 5:25-26 and Psalm 119:9.
  5. Neither scalding or freezing cold. We must use the right temperature for each situation. That is, a word from the Lord given in comfort or exhortation in love, as needed.


  1. Do you have a tendency to read Scripture, taking it only on the surface? Or do you seek deeper truths and deeper meanings?
  2. How are you washing the feet of fellow believers? Do you know someone who is in need of counseling (your counseling)? Do you know someone who is using Scripture too liberally, too carelessly? How would you counsel this person? Be sure the water is the right temperature.


  1. Do you find it difficult to humble yourself to wash another’s feet? Read Philippians 2:5-8 again, as well as John 13:4-17.

Key Verses

  • “I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you.” John 3:15
  • “Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not great than his master.” John 13:16
  • “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” John 13:17

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