John 13 Lesson

Servant Leadership


In Chapter 13, Jesus washes His disciples’ feet.

By doing so, He demonstrated in a poignant way, how important it is for Christians to serve others.

Our focus scripture for today’s lesson comes from the Gospel of Mathew:

  • “Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” – Mathew 20:26-28.


The Bible is full of scriptures that highlight the importance of serving others.  For today’s lesson, we have selected the following three verses:

  1. “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. - 1 Peter 4:10,
  2. “In everything, I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” - Acts 20:35,
  3. “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” - Galatians 5:13-14.


The principles of servant leadership have made their way into the secular world as well.

Businesses are finding out that applying Biblical principles in the workplace can achieve impressive results.

When leaders take the focus off themselves and seek out ways to encourage and develop their team members, their team becomes:

  1. More productive,
  2. Happier,
  3. And more fulfilled.

In an article entitled, “The Art Of Servant Leadership,” by Mark Tarallo, the author makes the following points:

  1. “If a manager is not spending at least 25 percent of his or her time developing future leaders, then you're really not fulfilling your responsibilities as a leader,” 
  2. “Successful servant leadership starts with a leader's desire to serve his or her staff, which in turn serves and benefits the organization at large,” 
  3. “Servant leaders build relationships with staff primarily by listening closely and by asking many questions,”
  4. “In many ways, encouragement is the hallmark expression of a servant leader,”
  5. “Trust is both a defining characteristic and defining outcome of servant leadership.”

The scripture that these principles are founded on is found in Paul’s letter to the Philippians:

  • “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:3


In Virtual Bible Study’s lesson, “Serving Others,” we discussed how serving others is one of the best ways to evangelize. A portion of that lesson is provided below:

“There once was a Christian evangelical conference where the speaker was teaching the class the importance of being active in our communities, and how serving others can help spread the Gospel. The speaker talked about how the early disciples were regularly out in their community working for God.   The people they were serving in their community would then ask questions, but not until the disciples had put in some ‘sweat equity.’ The work they put in opened the door to meaningful conversations about people’s faith.   The speaker then talked about how the effectiveness of our evangelical efforts increases dramatically when we are active in our communities. He stressed not to be the one to bring up the Gospel first.   Simply be with the people and get to know them, while serving their needs. Eventually, as the relationship forms, they may ask a spiritual question. The answer must always come from the Gospel.”

Quoting the right scripture at the right time is one of the best ways to evangelize. Of course, to be able to do that, we must study the Bible and know what it says.

Paul wrote about this responsibility in his second letter to Timothy:

  • "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a worker who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.’"- 2 Timothy 2:15.

The speaker then went on to talk about the idea of evangelizing through community service.

In his lesson, the speaker outlined the following four-step process for spreading the Gospel through community involvement:

  1. Disciples are active in their communities,
  2. The Holy Spirit guides their actions,
  3. Those who notice their selfless behavior eventually ask questions,
  4. The disciples always answer by quoting scripture.

According to the speaker, being active in our communities and quoting scripture is one of the best ways to evangelize.


People do not care how much we know until they know how much we care.  

As Christians, we need to look for opportunities to spread the gospel by being active in our local communities.

That is what Jesus did.

As His disciples, we are to spend our time doing things that glorify God and serve others.

When we take the focus off ourselves and put it on others, we are doing our part to spread the Gospel, and God is glorified!

We will end today’s lesson with the following words spoken by Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount:

  • “You are the light of the world.   A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.   Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” - Mathew 5:14-16.


Pat Dermody
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Jesus is so kind. He always thinks of us first.

Virtual Bible Study
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Virtual Bible Study
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Claudine Eivazians
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Pat Dermody

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