What Does God Say About Humility?

Learn why Jesus surprised His disciples by washing their feet.

You’ve probably never washed anyone’s feet. It’s not common in our part of the world these days, but it was common in biblical times. Back then, many people wore sandals or went barefoot while walking along dirt paths and roads. So their feet got dirtier than ours usually do. Also, people didn’t have the indoor showers and bathtubs we have today, so they couldn’t easily wash off the dirt.

So during Jesus’ time on Earth, people would wash their feet with buckets of water and rags. Even today, many families in poor countries can’t afford to live in homes with showers or baths. They use buckets of water and soap to bathe.

Washing other people’s feet in biblical times was a way of serving them. Many households had servants, and it was usually their job to wash their masters’ feet. But in John 13, Jesus surprised His disciples by offering to wash their feet! The disciples thought that since Jesus was God and Master of all, they should wash His feet. But Jesus wanted to show them that it’s not a sign of weakness to serve someone — it’s a sign of love, strength and humility. Humility means you don’t view yourself as better than other people.

Jesus’ disciples learned from His powerful lesson, and you can too!

  • Read John 13 in your Bible or have someone read it to you.
  • With an adult’s help, offer to wash a family member’s feet. Get a bucket of water, add some soap, and then take it to an area where it’s OK to make a mess. Use a washcloth to wash someone’s feet.

How did it feel? How do you think Jesus’ disciples felt when He washed their feet? What are some other ways you can serve others?

Dear Jesus,

Thank You for coming to Earth to teach us how to love one another. Please give me ideas for how I can show love, strength and humility as I serve others. And help me to show kindness without expecting anything in return. 

In Your name, Amen.

Send this to a friend