John 13 Lesson

Servant Leadership

In Chapter 13, Jesus washes the feet of His disciples. By doing this, Jesus showed us the importance of serving others. Through His actions and words, Jesus makes it clear that serving others is an important part of being a Christian.  Consider the following scripture:

  • “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 show us the importance of serving others.  In today’s lesson, we will highlight three of them:

  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. Businesses are finding out that applying Biblical principles to their workplace produces impressive results.

When leaders take the focus off themselves and seek out ways to encourage and develop their team members, they are more successful, happier, and more fulfilled.

In an article entitled, “The Art Of Servant Leadership,” by Mark Tarallo, the following five points are made:

  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 tell the following true story:

“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.  The Apostle Paul wrote:

  • ‘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.

Here is how the speaker explained the idea of evangelizing through works:

  1. Disciples actively work in their communities,
  2. The Holy Spirit moves,
  3. The people that are the recipients of the disciple’s work will eventually ask questions,
  4. The Gospel is always the answer."


People do not care how much we know until they know how much we care. We should intentionally, with purpose, look for opportunities to serve one another.

That is what we are commanded to do.  

That is what Jesus did.

Servant leadership is a highly effective way of sharing the Gospel. When we take the focus off ourselves and put it on others, we build them up 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.


Virtual Bible Study

What are some ways that Christians can practice servant leadership?

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Virtual Bible Study

What are some ways that Christians can practice servant leadership?

Claudine Eivazians

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Pat Dermody
Claudine Eivazians

Jesus tells us that everyone will know his followers by the love they show one another. Today, during these turbulent times, it is important not only to know his word but to put his word into actions of loving one another.