Week 2 Day 4: Jesus, the Teacher

“If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.”
John 13:12-15

Jesus, the Teacher
When I consider Jesus as teacher, I often think of him as a kind of guru: a spiritual teacher that teaches more by their presence or by their actions and not perhaps as much by their words.

-Br. Nicholas Bartoli


In Week Two of the series, we’re exploring what it means for us for Jesus to have been the Word of God made flesh and how Jesus shares God’s love of the world through that. Today specifically we’ll be looking at what it means for Jesus to be in the role of teacher. The scripture that we’re looking at today is John chapter 13, verses 14 and 15: “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example that you also should do as I have done to you.”

When I consider Jesus as teacher, I often think of him as a kind of guru. A guru is sort of a spiritual teacher that teaches more by their presence or by their actions and not perhaps as much by their words. We can see in this scripture, for example, that Jesus is teaching by the example he sets for his disciples. In Jesus’ case, he was the Word made flesh. He became an incarnation of God’s love and presence in the world, helping us to more fully live into that role ourselves. When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, he was giving them a concrete example of what God’s love made manifest in the world might look like. In this case, simply a desire to serve out of that love.

Jesus gives for us an example of what the Word made flesh, this intersection between the spiritual and material, might look like in our lives. He’s our example. He’s our role model, our teacher. We’re invited, like Jesus, to embody God’s spirit of love and mercy in the world and to share that love in the world by virtue of our presence and by our actions, serving others out of love, as Jesus did. So I encourage you this week, this day, to include in your prayers a prayer to let God help us more fully embody God’s love in the world, to let God live through us, as Jesus did.

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus


  1. Jeanne DeFazio on January 20, 2019 at 08:36

    Once again, the devotional and the comments placed have been so wonderful. I am grateful for this spiritual stream in often desert like places iny life!

  2. Dorothy Wilson on March 20, 2018 at 07:22

    When I had to help my dad to put on his shoes, kneeling on th ground, this reminded me of Jesus washing his disciples feet. I was extremely humble .

  3. Mary Anderson on March 8, 2018 at 10:17

    I never really felt what Jesus was saying in this scripture until one Maundy Thursday service. It was the first time I led the service with the Foot Washing. I was nervous, not knowing what it would be like, and how I would feel as I washed another’s feet. It was a truly humbling experience. I prayed silently during the washing of feet. I felt so humbled and close to Jesus.

  4. Jaan Sass on March 3, 2018 at 02:42

    All of these comments remind me of a Jesuit Saying Pray as though it is entirely in God’s hands and do as if it was entirely up to you. I quote because it all of our good works begin with Christ rooted in his grace. He allows us to make the choices that have led up to this moment. This, of course, made me think a favorite passage of mine Matthew 25 31:46 verse 40 is similar to James passage quoted in comments above:
    “then the King will reply to them I assure that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.”
    I also am reminded of something Mother Theresa of Calcutta used to say when working with the poor and dying India:
    ” To see Jesus in everyone is a grace of faith, which we have to pray for and to pray for also for each other, to have that faith.find Jesus in their eyes.”
    The importance of foot washing for me is its symbolism for Christians to reach out with simple things bringing God’s love to everyone.

  5. Margaret on February 23, 2018 at 22:31

    As I kneeled before God in silence, I gazed outside. What could possibly be more important right now than the beauty of the sun glittering off the snow? God surrounds us with beauty, and too often I’m too busy to notice, enjoy, and give thanks.

  6. Dave on February 23, 2018 at 00:11

    William, I agree with you. But, I believe the answer is too many people are too busy playing God to see God.

    • Bishop Hollywood on February 23, 2018 at 05:33

      This series is truly a blessing. Can you imagine being taught by Jesus in person everyday, watching him heal the sick and raise the dead. I mean it’s a blessing reading and knowing about it, but to have been there would have been truly great.Then to have had you feet washed by Jesus and share in the Last Supper, truly a blessing.

      • Suzanne Crawford on March 2, 2018 at 13:41

        WOW! Wouldn’t that be cool!

  7. Jennifer on February 22, 2018 at 20:37

    Thank you for this reflection on Christ teaching about washing each other’s feet. Lord God, please help me to be aware of your presence in my life today and opportunities to serve others.

  8. cheryl on February 22, 2018 at 12:36

    After 60 + years of believing in a GOD I am struggling with this now. My intelligent husband challenges me but I cannot wrap my head now about an infinite being…I believe in the Jewish Messiah, Jesus, but is he the son of God or a benovelent man who saw that change was necessary to fully embrace “life”? The gospels produce signs of physical healing & raising people from the dead ….my love of this Messiah was that he was “accepting” of ALL people— but is there an eternal existence or will we become totalee enlighted when we die & this is what the message is/ was all along–one last shot of unconditioal love? Of course no one can answer this….no one has actually returned from the dead ( we assume Jesus returned but not in his human form)….it’s all faith– but whose faith?

    • Doris Webster on February 27, 2018 at 21:04

      Cheryl, it is your faith in Christ Jesus that will carry you through the veil that separates us from life and death. It is your faith that will accept that Jesus, our Messiah, is the Son of God. It is your faith, and only your faith that you can claim Jesus is Lord. (He is, you know) Blessings, Doris

    • Ron Johnson on March 1, 2018 at 03:58

      I asked our priest what the “Believe” meant in the original language of Gospel. She said it meant to trust in, rather than give intellectual assent to. Trust in Jesus, trust in God, you don’t have to know . I don’t know and no one else does either. Just trust

  9. David John Drew on February 22, 2018 at 10:37

    Lord Jesus,

    As you bend down to care for us, you place your healing hands on my feet, and I feel myself rising up – grateful for you love and attention – it is you who elevate me. I see now that prayer is not merely the expression of benevolent thoughts or pleas for change, or desired hope that unsavory situations may or might be improved… prayer is not words expressed in abstract emotions – prayer is the action of correction and restoration. Through the power that you have bestowed upon me, I too possess the potential to heal others and make the necessary changes in the world to make it better. I too can cleanse others of their maladies through the unique talents that you have graciously given me. I too, in your Name, raise up others from their ‘sleep of death’ – the death that has consumed and blinded them to your truth in the world… to mend, repair and restore others to spiritual health through my actions inspired by your love and grace.

    Lord, may your presence and example provide me with the strength to do for others what I have experienced from your loving and tender care for me, May I too, I pray, be a healer of others in the world.

    I pray for the unity of all members of Christ’s church around the world, unity on a path of peace that brings a true manifestation of healing for everyone.

    + Amen

    Pax Christi – David

    • Jennifer on February 22, 2018 at 20:30


  10. Ruth West on February 22, 2018 at 08:58

    I attend a nail salon once in awhile. One of my cherished experiences there is a pedicure. How soothing and relaxing is this time for me. Of course, I pay to have it done.
    I can’t imagine having my feet washed by the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, and not for payment in money, but just because he loves me. The Creator stooping to serve the created. I can’t even imagine an earthly King stooping to wash the feet of one of his subjects. My pastor often says, “Christianity is an upside down religion.” Here is a good example of it. Jesus said, “I came to serve and not to be served.” I love my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who has loved me and given himself for me, and not for me only, but for all mankind. Praise be to His glorious name!
    Thank you, Br. Nicholas, for this meditation.

    • Suzanne Crawford on March 2, 2018 at 14:00

      I too have a pedicure occasionally. It feels so good. The lady that I see, I have been going to for over 30 years. We love each other. We have an intimate and very close relationship…. I think of her as my “tia”. I also know a man who once a week goes to the soup kitchen every Friday and washes the feet of the homeless. Bob, the foot washer is the most kind and gentle man. I often wonder what is in his soul that I am missing. I want to do that and yet something within me prevents me from being “that servant,”
      Quite a compare and contrast of the same act…… peace

  11. James Rowland on February 22, 2018 at 02:27

    My prayer today for myself: Lord Jesus Christ,
    slow me down! Help me see, hear and do what really and truly is needed done. Not what my will compels me to do, but what your Spirit gently leads me toward. Pull me into your current which is love. Praise to you always. Amen.

  12. Nicki on February 22, 2018 at 01:09

    I pray to honor all human beings with the same regard that I give myself. This is the beginning of embodying God’s love in the world, and it can be remarkably hard to do.

  13. Dave on February 22, 2018 at 00:58

    My wife is Chinese and new to Christianity. She has been attending services since June and learning a lot. Mary does want to be baptized this late summer or early fall. In preparation for that, I gave her the Catechism to study, as she has a Chinese / English BCP. I asked her what it all meant.

    The answer was enlightening: God created heaven and earth. That makes us all brothers and sisters with God as our Father. But like all big families, we go to fighting. We forgot God’s 10 Rules. But if we tell God we are sorry (and mean it), God will say “It is all right my Child, Go and do better”. Then he sent Jesus to show us it really can be done.

    A Christian beginner, and saying the same profound things as the brothers. Jesus must be understood in the actions we take. ( or do not take).

  14. Mary 85 on February 21, 2018 at 23:50

    Thank You, Jesus, not only for giving us life, but also for showing us by Your example the best way to live our lives.
    I pray that we may be very aware of the needs of others, and that we will be of true service to them.

  15. James on February 21, 2018 at 23:24

    Action speaks louder than words. We’ve all heard this expression ever since we were old enough to remember. We heard it from our parents, teachers, and pastors. This is in essence what Christ is telling us in this passage.

    The phrase has Biblical roots in 1 John 3:17-18: “But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”

    And also in James 2:15-17, one can read: If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works is dead, being alone.

    One of my all time favorite quotes comes from Saint Francis of Assisi: Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.

    I never want to be the person who lives their life according to another famous quote: “Do as I say, not as I do”.
    Jesus warns us in Matthew 23:1-12, Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.

    If you follow Jesus’ teaching you will be fulfilling one of His most important commands: Love God, Love others.

    There is no commandment greater than these.

    • Delores on February 23, 2018 at 11:28

      I have not read or heard the quote: “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” I find it very meaningful. Thank you very much, James.

  16. Maureen on February 21, 2018 at 22:42

    Amidst the demands and stress of each day, teach me, Rabboni, to serve with patient, loving-kindness, aware of your living Presence in all that are encountered.

  17. John David Spangler on February 21, 2018 at 22:17

    I was reminded that the heraldic motto of the Prince of Wales, “Ich dien.” (I serve.), appears to be based on this verse and wisely so. It is reminder to take humility seriously, not to flaunt it. I try, not always successfully, and will keep trying. Thanks for your help Brother Nicholas

  18. William Wallace on February 21, 2018 at 21:52

    I find it difficult that people can’t see God’s presence in this world. God is all around us; everywhere we look. We just have to reach out and touch someone – in any way that matters to you and to them; to let God be in. It’s not that hard; it’s just to let God be in our every day, every breath.

    • Dave on February 22, 2018 at 03:37

      William, I agree with you. But, I believe the answer is too many people are too busy playing God to see God.

  19. Beverly on February 21, 2018 at 20:42

    Several years ago during Lent, this passage planted itself in my consciousness, and I began asking myself in various interactions, “What would be the equivalent of washing this person’s feet?” It enabled me, in those moments, to put aside my impatience, or frustration, or advice-giving, and to focus on being present and gently, lovingly, to serve another’s need instead of my own. I even found, long after that Lent, I would return to that question. Thank you for this reminder that it’s always a good question to ask.

    • Jolene on February 25, 2018 at 04:53


  20. Marsha on February 21, 2018 at 20:30

    Jesus as a teacher as shown by his actions. This is what is so important to me. The actions of Jesus as a teacher are ignored by many who proclaim to be Christian. I certainly need to do better as well.

  21. Susan on February 21, 2018 at 19:37

    I spent much of my career washing feet as a wound care specialist, maybe the most important part of all that was taking time to listen to my brothers and sisters as I washed their feet and dressed their wounds and many other acts of healing that I was privileged to perform.

  22. Kay on February 21, 2018 at 18:40

    I lam loving getting these transcriptions e mailed to me: I read them them at lunchtime in the middle of my very busy working day and taking a prayerful moment to think of what really matters…. this lent feels very special. thank you

  23. Bryan Cook on February 21, 2018 at 18:21

    I like to put this inspiring action of Jesus in context.

    In His day and location, open sandaled feet got very dusty and dirty, requiring constant washing to be comfortable in daily routines and often longer distance regular travel. So it was a caring, if not healing action to wash someone’s feet.

    Washing feet was a menial task, usually performed by servants or women. So it was an action of humility or contrition for a man to do this task for other men. In that humility, Jesus was also honoring the lives and actions of the menial.

    Washing feet is metaphoric for cleansing sin.

    Feet were usually rubbed with olive oil after washing This is an action of annointment; a metaphor for God’s approval . Remember that Jesus was going to die for his actions, betrayed by a person whose feet he had washed and annointed.

    So here, Jesus was teaching us to be carers and healers of all others, even our enemies; to have humility and respect for all regardless of gender or station; and to attone for our sins by our actions. For all of these, we have God’s blessing

    A good teacher can impart a great deal of knowledge , learning and good through a single, well timed and generous action. I try to follow this example, eventhough I often stumle over my pride along the way.

  24. Rhode on February 21, 2018 at 18:14

    In that sandal wearing dusty culture the expected hospitality of foot washing was always done by slaves or someone considered inferior, or by yourself, if you were poor. Christ stooping to wash his disciples feet was certainly a counter culture act of itself … the beginning of the weighty symbolism He would present that Passover eve. But, just thinking on this one act, may I, may we as Christians, pray to be prepared and challenged in love to rise above what is considered social necessary hospitality ….even, and perhaps especially, to those who do not love us.

  25. Barbara on February 21, 2018 at 18:04

    This passage really calls us to love those whom we find difficult to love. If Jesus can love the beggar, the prostitute, the leper, as well as those who are healthy and rich, then we are called to do the same. I find this one of the greatest challenges Jesus lays before me and I am only able to do it, feeble though my attempt is, through Jesus.

  26. Debbie Deppe on February 21, 2018 at 16:23

    Many times I find that serving others may simply be listening and offering a positive spin on the day. Praying out loud with my students for their concerns may be difficult, but that service means more than anything I teach about literature.

  27. Keith Aldred on February 21, 2018 at 15:42

    This is what really matters. With the example of Christ, may we love others as He loves us, by interacting with them.

Leave a Comment