It’s felt like a war zone in Pete’s house for the past several months. The whole family has been on edge because his parents just got divorced. There’s been enough yelling and ugliness to last a lifetime. Now Pete is left with constant traveling between his parents’ homes and anger and hurt toward both his parents for the part they played in breaking up their home. If Pete came to you for advice on how to love his parents, what would you tell him?
1. Read John 13:1-5. What is Jesus doing as this story begins?
2. In the first century, people wore sandals on dusty, dirty roads. The lowliest servants were in charge of washing people’s feet when they entered a house. Of all the ways to display love, why do you think Jesus chose to wash his followers’ feet?
3. Judas is the disciple who betrayed Jesus and turned him over to his enemies to be killed. Judas was there, and Jesus even washed his feet. What does it say about Jesus’ love that he even washed Judas’ feet (see verse 2)?
4. How would it feel to you to wash the feet of someone who had hurt you deeply?
5. Read John 13:7-11. Why do you think Peter didn’t want Jesus to wash his feet?
6. Read John 13:12-17. What is Jesus saying to his followers?
7. How does Jesus washing his followers’ feet point to the ultimate love he showed when he died on the cross and washed away our sin?
8. Read John 13:34-35. How does Jesus’ command summarize this story and the love he showed when he died for us.
10. Tell about a time in your life when this undeserved, overflowing love of God became real to you.
11. Think about someone in your life who’s hard to love. What difference would it make for you to let Jesus love this person through you in the Spirit’s power instead of trying to love this person in your own power?
Practical Suggestions to love those who are hard to love:
- Pray for them (Matt 5:44)
- Pray that God would help you want to love them (Mat 21:22)
- Recognize that God loves them and died for them
- Recognize that you are sinful too
- Act lovingly toward them (John 13:34)
- Read this short article and tell someone about it: https://www.cru.org/train-and-grow/transferable-concepts/love-by-faith.html
What ideas do you have that could improve this study? Are there creative things you do to bring this topic home to your students? Please share with the community clicking the FEEDBACK button or leaving a comment below.