John 13:16-20 Reflection: Slave and Master

A reading from the gospel according to John 13:16-20:

16 When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them: “Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.
17 If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.
18 I am not speaking of all of you. I know those whom I have chosen. But so that the Scripture might be fulfilled, The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.
19 From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM.
20 Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

Points of Reflection:
Bending down low to wash the dirtiest part of another’s body is an act of humble service. Jesus had shown us the way and He is inviting us to do the same. Forgetting one’s high position in society to work in a charitable institution is an example of humble service. Foregoing a drinking session in order to bring a sick person to hospital is another. Sacrificing your precious time in order to listen to somebody’s personal problem is another. There are actually a thousand and one ways of doing humble service. Let us not also forget that forgiving one another is a form of cleansing each other’s dirt of inner self.


Needless to say, washing the feet is a verb, an action but it is too important not to emphasize. Listening is important but it is nothing when we do not put Jesus’ teachings into practice. He stated it clearly, “Blessed are you if you do it”.


“No slave is greater than his master.” If the master can do such as condescending act of washing the feet of another then the servant must not frown upon and should willingly do the same action. The same lesson for messengers. They must have the same humility as the one who sent them.


Jesus was able to foretell His betrayal because He is the “I AM”. Recall the name of God that He Himself gave to Moses. He was in the beginning of time (John 1:1). Jesus and the Father are one (John 10:30). Anyone who has seen Jesus has seen the Father (John 14:9). Indeed, there is no doubt that Jesus is God. Let us believe in Him.


Working as a messenger of the Good News has never been easy. Even in the Old Testament, we can read stories of prophets who were rejected by the very own chosen people! History is replete with tales of martyrs and other persecuted missionaries, priests, and pastors. Jesus is telling us in verse 20 that we must listen and give respect and support to His messengers. Rejecting them is rejecting Jesus and God the Father.

Gospel Reading and Reflection
Gospel Reading and Reflection

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