Jesus’ Humble Service in John 13 & Philippians 2

Two of the most beautiful passages in the Bible share this theme of Jesus as an example of humble service.  John narrates the details of a key episode of Jesus’ ministry, when He performed an act to give an example, and Paul points to Jesus as the supreme pattern to imitate for unity through humility that springs from Christian love.

John 13

Philippians 2

v. 1: Jesus’ actions sprang from faithful love  vv.1-4: Our actions should spring from Christian love
v. 3: Jesus knew the Father had given all things into His hand, that He had come from God and was going back to God v. 6: Jesus is God, and He knew so, but would not use this to His own advantage
vv. 4-5: Jesus laid aside His outer garments, girded Himself with a towel and performed a lowly slave-duty of washing feet.  This was about a day before He would go to the cross (ch 18-19). vv. 7-8 Jesus gave up privileges and humbled Himself as a slave.  He became a man and was obedient even to the horribly shameful death of the cross.
vv. 13-14, 16: Jesus is rightly acknowledged as Master and Lord, and those who serve Him and are sent by Him are under Him.  vv. 9-11: Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
vv. 15, 17: Our Lord set an example for His disciple-servants to follow.  “ For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” v. 5: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”


Add in the quarreling disciples about who was greatest (Luke 22:24 records an instance that is likely very close on the heels of the events in John 13) and Euodia and Syntyche’s prominent disagreement (Phil. 4:2-9), and we see the absolute need for following Jesus’ example of humble service, if we are to show true Christian love and unity.

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