To Know and To Do

Rev. Michael Costello

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 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. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. (John 13: 12-17)

There are two verbs at the center of this passage from John—to know and to do.

Jesus asks, “Do you know what I have done to you?” He goes on to explain that as he has washed the disciples’ feet, they ought to wash one another’s feet. This is good to know. But Jesus tells the disciples that because of his example they should also do as he has done to them.

Although we often worship on screens these days, the message we all know still comes through: God, in the person of Jesus Christ, gave his very life for us and for our salvation. “Jesus loves me, this I know.” But what shall we do?

We are to embody Jesus’ example, to wash one another’s feet. We are called to serve, and sacrificially so, for the sake of healing, clothing, feeding, perhaps even saving the life of another. During these times, that may be as simple picking up the phone or sending an e-mail.

This passage concludes: “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” May we listen clearly to know even more Christ’s saving deeds for us and, with hearts full of joy, may we also act, doing the work of embodying Jesus’ sacrificial love.

Prayer: God our Father, help us to know your saving love for us through your Son, and by your Spirit’s power help us to love one another as you first loved us; through the same Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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