Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet
Summary of Lesson Activities:
A soap making project.
Main Idea: Jesus used his final meal with his disciples as a time of instruction, and several important things he taught he did so by demonstrating. 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.
Overview: 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.
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!”
- Read the scripture ahead of time
- Gather the materials
- Glycerin soap block
- Dixie cups
- Craft sticks
- Paper clips
- 9X14 cake pan
Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet the children and introduce yourself.
Open with a prayer.
Dig- Main Content and Reflection:
Our Bible story this month is from the gospel of John. Jesus washes the feet of his disciples. Can you imagine someone like Jesus washing dirty feet of twelve weary men?
Tell the story, or read the story from the Bible. Then tell the children you found ANOTHER story about someone washing dirty feet.
The Queen’s Foot Washing
It was a custom in England that on Holy Thursday, (the day before Good Friday) the queen would wash the feet of as many beggars as she was years old, giving each of them one silver coin. In this way, the queen was following Jesus’ example as recorded in the Bible.
It is said that when the first Queen Elizabeth (Elizabeth 1, not the current Queen Elizabeth 2) was 39 years old, she really didn’t want to do the foot washing. She persuaded her lady-in-waiting to dress up as the queen and perform the ceremony instead.
As the lady-in-waiting began to wash the feet of the first few beggars, the real queen hid behind a curtain to watch. A young boy named Tom Gentry was waiting to have his feet washed. He was so embarrassed that the queen would see his dirty feet that he ran behind the curtains to hide.
Whose arms did he run right into, but the queen’s!
Then the Queen apologized to all the beggars for not washing their feet, and she washed Tom’s feet herself. And she gave all the people two silver coins instead of just one.
Talk about ways your family follows Jesus’ example. When someone in your family is sick, how do you comfort and care for them?
If a family member has a bad day, how does another person cheer them up?
Think of one way to share an act of love and service with another this week and do it secretly, remember Jesus’ words and following his example.
Tell the children we are going to make “Soap on a Stick” to help us keep our “FEET” clean.
Soap on a Stick:
Recipe: Unscented, clear glycerin soap block
1/4-teaspoon fragrance oil
Optional: Food coloring
Dixie paper cups
Baggies, or plastic wrap to carry the soap home in
You’ll also need: a 9x14 cake pan, filled with ice water, to set the Dixie cup soaps into so they will set up quickly. If the soaps harden completely within the time span of the workshop, the children can un-mold them, or simply tear off the paper.
Cut soap into small cubes, about 2 ounces each. Melt 2 ounces at a time in a small saucepan over very low heat or microwave in a glass cup.
Add fragrance oil and 2 drops food coloring. Stir gently and pour into Dixie cup. Put a stick into the cup, using the paper clip to hold the stick in the middle of the soap.
Put Dixie cups into cake pan filled with ice water. Remove from molds when soap is hardened. Store in plastic bags with a ribbon or twist tie. Mark these NOT EDIBLE.
Have the children assist with the cleanup and close with a prayer.
Closing Prayer: Dear God, Guide of feet on paths of peace, direct our feet so we know how to live, protect our feet to keep us from stumbling. Keep our hands in yours so that we can walk in ways that are pleasing to you. Amen.
At Jerusalem’s Gate, Poems of Easter, “The Last Lesson,” by Nikki Grimes.
Before and After Easter, Activities and Ideas—Lent to Pentecost by Debbie Trafton O’Neal, Augsburg Fortress Press, 2001.
You might assemble personal hygiene products for a homeless shelter or children's home. Include items that can have a special meaning attached to them, such as, candy hearts. Include toenail clippers!
A lesson written by Mary H. Part of a lesson set by the Western Suburbs--Chicago--Roundtable Group
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