Jesus Washes the Disciples" Feet
Storytelling and/or DRAMA/PUPPET Workshop
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Jesus used his final meal with his disciples as a time of instruction. Of all the lessons taught that night, one stands out. During the meal Jesus got up from the table, removed his robe, tied a towel around his waist, and with a basin of water went around the table washing the feet of each man present. By doing so, the one they called Son of God gave them a lesson in service no one will forget.
Key Verse 13:15 “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
John 13:1-17 “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
Romans 10:15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
The Last Supper was an evening of intense instruction for the disciples. The foot washing is noteworthy, however, because it was a lesson by example. Its impact was so powerful that it has reverberated through the ages. The ritual is still practiced in many churches today, usually on Maundy Thursday, during Holy Week.
Supplies and Preparation:
- Make a simple sock puppet. This can be a tube sock, simply stretched over your hand, with an indentation for a mouth. You can decorate it with markers to make eyes, or simply have a “dirty” sock. Just dirt, not smelly…
- You may want to pull a clean sock on underneath the dirty sock. When the story relates to clean feet, pull off the dirty sock and reveal your clean version. Or, simply turn the sock inside out . Very symbolic. Jesus enjoyed turning ideas upside down, giving them new meaning.
Welcome the children, and tell the story. Copy attached at end of lesson.
Some review thoughts, if you have time.
In the time of Jesus, what did a person do whenever he came in from being outside? Washed his feet
Washing someone's feet was considered a dirty job. Who usually did this job?
Only servants washed people's feet.
No one would volunteer for such a lowly job. What does that tell us about Jesus?
Closing: Lord Jesus, Guide our feet along straight paths. We know some paths cause us to stumble. Protect us and motivate us to serve others. We want to follow your ways in all that we do every day. Guide our feet, Lord Jesus. Amen.
Sock/Foot Puppet Show
You can do this with the socks on the kids' hands. Or, you can put them on one of their feet, and have them contort to get their socked-foot up on the "stage" you create. (Definitely need to videotape this.) The sock-puppeteers can focus on doing the action while others do the singing and say the words.
You could also do this with bare feet that the kids have decorated with eyes and a mouth using permanent marker, and maybe a hat and robe. In which case you need to rename this the "FOOT THEATER".
The following script is provisional. It needs improvement.
John (the little foot)
and Jesus foot who just moves, doesn't talk.
Sock puppet script
Open the show with a song:
(Tune: If you're happy and you know it....)
Oh, be careful little feet where you go!
Oh, be careful little feet where you go!
The Father up above..is looking down in love..
so be careful little feet where you go!
Pete: Hey, my name is Peter.
Phil: And I'm Philip Foot. But you can call me Phil Foot.
John: (high pitched voice) And I'm John the young and handsome foot.
Pete: We're the foot disciples of Jesus.
Let me tell you a story so you can understand why we are followers of Jesus. But before we get started, you need to know that foot washing is mentioned 26 times.
Phil: 26 times? That's like 5 feet worth of toes.
John: Plus 1 little toe.
Pete: Yep, Foot Washing was a big deal in the Bible. The priests were supposed to wash their feet before they entered the Tabernacle, and if they didn’t, the Bible says they would die.
Phil: WOW! Who knew Toe Jam could kill?
Pete: The problem wasn't toe jam, it was sin. Dirty was a symbol for sin. Bad smells were a symbol for sin. And no dirty stinky sins were allowed in the Tabernacle OR the Temple.
John: Not allowed in my house either.
Pete: That's right Little John. In Biblical times people wear sandals and walk dusty dirty roads all day long. This is why feet needed to be washed. Their stinky dirt needed to be left outside homes, and should never come inside holy places, like the Temple in Jerusalem or to your dinner table. Does your mom ever complain that your feet are filthy? Or maybe just your socks?
Phil: Yeah, my mom for sure.
John: Mine too. My feet are always a mess, and every night before dinner, I have to wash them. It's gross.
Pete: The night of the Last Supper, we have been walking all over the city of Jerusalem teaching people.
Phil: Lotta donkey poop on those roads. And trash.
Pete: Yep, Jerusalem could be kind of messy, especially with all those people there for the Holy Days of Passover.
So when it came time for dinner with Jesus, we needed to wash our feet. You see, we didn't sit in chairs like you folks do.
John: Nope, we sit on the floor and lean on cushions. And that puts me right next to Phil and Pete's feet, and UG! are they smelly and dirty after a long day.
Pete: Back to our story.... So Jesus walks in the UpperRoom where we were getting ready to eat the Passover meal, we sit down and he starts talking...
John: --and everyone had forgotten to wash their feet!
Pete: Yep. And everyone's feet were sticking here and there right in front of everyone else.
Phil: And that's when Jesus looked around the room for the basin used to our clean feet. Pete jumped up and said, Master! You're too important to do a servant's job. Stop!
But Jesus continued. He tied a towel around his waist, and poured water into the basin, and invited each of us to come have our feet washed by him.
Pete: I was shocked. I told him I would never let him wash my feet. He was too big and important for such a lowly job. And that's when he raised his voice at me and said:
JESUS: Peter, I'm trying to teach you a lesson here. If I'm willing to wash your feet, then you should be willing to wash everyone else's feet!
If you want to follow me, you must become a servant to all. You must be willing to help others.
Pete: I suddenly got it. I shouted: "Then wash me from head to toe too!"
Phil: And Jesus laughed, and said, "just your feet Pete, it is enough." So Jesus washed Pete's feet, and mine, and John's, and everyone else's, including his own.
John: And boy did it suddenly start to smell better in there!
Pete: Yep, suddenly dinner was a lot more appetizing, and our mission as disciples was a lot more clear,
John: BE A SERVANT to others, just as our Lord was willing to serve us.
Now the Sock/Feet Puppets are going to act out some "foot" Bible verses for the videocamera.
- He guides our feet: Luke 1:79 says, “the lord has plans to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
- He directs our feet: Psalm 119:105 God’s Word “is a lamp to our feet” making our “path straight” showing us how to live.
- He protects our feet: Psalm 56:13 and 116:8 tell us that God can keep our “feet from stumbling.”
- He secures our feet: Psalm 40:2 says “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set me feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”
Written by Mary H. Part of a lesson set by the Western Suburbs--Chicago--Roundtable Group)
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