Introduction: How important is your “image?” When we bought our first
house I recall my neighbor asking me, “If you are a lawyer, why are
you living here?” How about that for a boost to the old “image!”
Later, I stopped buying new cars and bought a bigger house instead.
It seemed the Lord would lead me to these great (but not great-looking) auto deals. These cars saved me lots of money, but whenever
I had to drive to a meeting with people I did not know very well, I
hoped no one would see my car. It was so bad that one essentially
homeless church member asked me “Why do you fool around with a $200
car?” Why, indeed? The image that concerned me was that I drove poor
cars because I was a lousy lawyer and this was all I could afford!
Jesus has a lesson on “image” for us in our study today. Let’s dive

  1. Attitudes and Images

    1. Read John 13:1-3. If you were a king, and were returning
      in triumph to your kingdom, how would you feel?

      1. Would you feel good? Confident? Proud?

      2. If God put you in charge of all things in heaven and
        earth, how would that affect your self-image?

      3. Would you be glad to leave this earth and its lowly
        humans behind?

      4. Verse 2 tells us that Judas was already in the
        process of betraying Jesus. If you were Jesus, and
        you had all power, how would you react to that

        1. What would be your attitude toward Judas?

    2. Read Matthew 26:14-16. The “him” in this text is Jesus.
      Put yourself in Judas’ place. If Jesus becomes King, what
      position do you hope to have in His kingdom? (We learned
      last week from John 12:6 that Judas kept the money for the
      disciples. The logical role Judas would have in Jesus’
      kingdom would be treasurer.)

      1. Would Judas trade the opportunity to be treasurer of
        the nation for 30 pieces of silver? (It makes no
        logical sense. There are two reasonable explanations
        for Judas’ betrayal. One, Judas decided that Jesus
        would never claim to be King. He had wasted his time
        with Jesus. Two, and more likely, Judas had seen
        Jesus’ power and he knew that the authorities were no
        match for Jesus. I believe that Judas thought that
        his little plan would force Jesus to take action to
        become King. Jesus would become King and Judas would
        become treasurer. Judas would make a little money in
        the deal to reward him for his creativity and
        intelligence. A “win-win plan.”)

    3. Let’s continue our reading in John 13. Read John 13:4-5.
      Remember verse 3 tells us Jesus is all powerful. Verse 4
      starts out, “so.” Do the actions of verse 4 and 5
      logically follow from verse 3?

      1. How does washing the feet of the disciples fit Jesus’
        mood of triumph?

      2. How does it fit Jesus’ “promotion” to (v.3) having
        all things under His power? (It is completely at odds
        with His triumph from a human point of view.)

    4. Our lesson is entitled “True Greatness.” Jesus is heading
      for His destiny and Judas is heading for his destiny. If
      you assume my preferred explanation for Judas’ actions,
      compare their strategies to achieve greatness?

      1. What about you? How do you approach greatness and
        advancement at work and in your church?

      2. Is your attitude in life that you are smarter than
        the others and you get what you want by manipulating
        them? How about being smarter than your boss?

        1. When you pursue advancement at work is it by
          serving others or by having them serve you?

    5. How would washing the feet of your co-workers advance your
      image of success?

    6. Jesus explains this to us. Read John 13:12-17. For many
      years it annoyed me that my church included “foot-washing”
      with communion. Why ruin a perfectly great ordinance by
      sneaking in this foot-washing stuff?

      1. Jesus did not say when we should wash feet. It just
        so happened He did it before the Lord’s Supper
        (Communion). Why should we put them together?
        (Communion reminds us of the ultimate sacrifice that
        Jesus made for us. Foot washing reminds us of our
        obligation to serve and sacrifice for others. There
        is a very tight logical link.)

      2. Does verse 13 suggest that washing the feet of others
        is inconsistent with Jesus being “Teacher” and
        “Lord?” (No. Jesus accepts His authority and power.
        He simply gives us an example of how to use authority
        and power.)

      3. Notice that verse 17 says you will be blessed if you
        serve others. Is this a blessing that God sends down
        as payment for your service?

        1. Or, is service to others a blessing in itself?

    7. Look back at John 13:1 for a minute. Is serving others
      showing them the “full extent of [your] love?”

      1. Or, is following Jesus’ model of the servant leader
        mainly a pain in the neck or a cause for guilt? (Our
        lesson points out (Tuesday) that anyone who has power
        and money can use them to benefit self. The real
        test of character is having power and money and
        deciding to use them to benefit others. Consider your
        life. On which side of the line does your life fall?)

  2. The Premium Wash v. the Touch-Up

    1. Let’s go back and pick up the exchange with Peter. Read
      John 13:6-8a. What do you think of Peter’s attitude? (I
      give him high marks. He did not take over the foot washing
      for the other disciples, but at least he was not going to
      allow Jesus to wash his feet. Peter would sacrifice clean
      feet for the honor and position of his Master.)

    2. Read John 13:8b-9. What changed Peter’s mind about having
      his feet washed?

      1. Was Jesus encouraged by Peter’s response? (Jesus must
        have enjoyed Peter. Peter first stands up for Jesus’
        dignity. Then when Peter learns that unless he gets
        washed he cannot be with Jesus, then Peter says “wash
        everything!” Peter loves His Lord.)

    3. Read John 13:10-11. Is Jesus talking about real baths or
      is He talking about spiritual baths? ( John 11:55 reveals
      that at the Passover the people would purify themselves
      ceremonially. This involved a real bath, but the goal was
      a spiritual one. No doubt Jesus’ disciples already had
      their ceremonial bath.)

      1. If Peter is already ceremonially clean, why would he
        “have no part” with Jesus if he did not allow Jesus
        to wash his feet? (We become a part of Jesus’ kingdom
        through belief, repentance and baptism. Washing feet
        is not normally considered a prerequisite for
        salvation. However, Jesus is teaching Peter an
        important lesson about humility and serving others.
        Jesus is saying that unless we learn this lesson
        about serving others, we really do not understand the
        gospel. In addition, if Peter would not allow Jesus
        to wash his feet, how could he allow Jesus to die for

      2. Read John 13:34-35. How important is this lesson in
        humility and service to the gospel? (Jesus gave
        Himself up for us. True love gives up self for
        others. This kind of love is a sign for those outside
        the church. It makes us unique.)

    4. Read John 17:20-23. This is a prayer of Jesus for His
      disciples. What does Jesus ask for His disciples?

      1. Do you see that Jesus’ prayer is answered among
        Christians today?

      2. If not, what does this prayer suggest may be the
        problem? (The key to unity seems to be the Spirit of
        Jesus (v.23) in us. A lack of unity suggests that not
        everyone who claims to be a Christian has invited
        Jesus to come into his or her life.)

        1. If you do not have unity in your church, where
          should you look first to solve the problem?

    1. Friend, is Jesus’ mind set part of your life? Is your
      attitude one of service? Have you determined that the road
      to true greatness involves sacrificing for others? Or, are
      you more concerned about “image?” Are you experiencing
      conflicts in your church because you have an attitude that
      is inconsistent with Jesus’ washing the feet of His
      disciples? Jesus calls on you today to repent of these
      sins, to invite Him into your heart and change your

  1. Next week: The Spirit “Replaces” Jesus.