Daily Devotionals

In or Out Week 1 Friday

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. John 13:34

Scripture teaches that prejudice is not the way of Jesus. Even more, prejudice will absolutely destroy our witness for Christ. There is a better way, Jesus taught, than prejudice, and that way is love. Jesus spent His entire time on earth loving the “unlovable,’ reaching out to the “outcasts” of society. Jesus not only called others to love, but He also demonstrated how to love and called His followers to love in the same way that He loved others. 

In John chapter thirteen, Jesus showed extraordinary love to people and invited them to love others the same way. He was eating what He knew to be His last meal before He was arrested and ultimately killed. He chose to spend this meal with His twelve disciples, His closest friends whom He spent three years teaching and serving others with. Knowing that He did not have much time left with His disciples, we must conclude that what Jesus said in these verses was very important for His disciples to hear. 

Jesus began His meal with His disciples by washing each of their feet, even though foot washing was usually the job of a hired servant. In Jesus’ day, people walked most places (there were no cars) while wearing sandals. Because of this, people’s feet would get very dirty. As a result, a hired servant was often asked to wash the feet of any house guests who arrived. Don’t miss this, friends. In His last moments with His closest friends, Jesus took on the role of a hired servant, washing their feet. He even washed the feet of Judas, a man who would betray Him, an act which ultimately led to Jesus’ death, and Peter, a man who very soon would deny knowing Him. He showed no partiality. After washing their feet, Jesus explained that if He did not consider Himself to be too good to wash feet, His disciples were not too good to be in the foot-washing business either. They were not too good to serve other people. If Jesus lived a life of service and sacrifice, they should follow His example.

Jesus then explained that what He had done, washing their feet, was an act of love and announced that He was giving them a new commandment: “Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other” (verse 34). As His followers, we are called to dedicate our lives to love others by serving them. Will you commit to living a lifestyle of love? What can you do today to take on the role of a servant and love other people around you by serving them?

Moving Toward Action

Let's decide today to choose love over prejudice. Think about one thing you can do today to show the love of Christ in a situation where you have been tempted to harbor prejudice. Don’t forget to pray and ask God to change your heart and give you love for every person on this earth who He created in His image.

Going Deeper

John 4:1-38 (NLT)

Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that he was baptizing and making more disciples than John (though Jesus himself didn’t baptize them—his disciples did). So he left Judea and returned to Galilee.

He had to go through Samaria on the way. Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.

The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”

Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

“Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”

“Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.

“I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied.

Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband—for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?”

Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus told her, “I Am the Messiah!”

Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” So the people came streaming from the village to see him.

Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, “Rabbi, eat something.”

But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.”

“Did someone bring him food while we were gone?” the disciples asked each other.

Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”