Podcast Worship

Daily Prayer for 4 May (Easter 4: Thursday)

Listen to a service of Daily Prayer for 4 May 2023, including a reflection on John 13.16-20 (Easter 4: Thursday)


O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

In your resurrection, O Christ,
let heaven and earth rejoice. Alleluia.

Blessed are you, Lord God of our salvation,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
As once you ransomed your people from Egypt
and led them to freedom in the promised land,
so now you have delivered us from the dominion of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of your risen Son.
May we, the first fruits of your new creation,
rejoice in this new day you have made,
and praise you for your mighty acts.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.

John 13.16-20

After he had washed the disciples’ feet, Jesus said, ‘Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But it is to fulfil the scripture, “The one who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.” I tell you this now, before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am he. Very truly, I tell you, whoever receives one whom I send receives me; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.’ 


Jesus said: ‘… servants are not greater than their master …’

From the earliest of times humanity has organized itself into hierarchical structures. Those who are deemed to have the strongest attributes have risen to the top, and everyone else has either willingly or grudgingly accepted the status quo. For thousands of years the main attribute for a leader was physical strength and ruthlessness. Slowly, and over a very long period of time, the predominance of physical strength became tempered with a realisation that the qualities of leadership required intellectual capacity, and even compassion. 

Today we seem to be in a different place. In many parts of the world those who rise to the top of the tree are those who are most eloquent in their rhetoric. As democracy has developed since the times of the ancient Greeks, the use of words has become increasingly important. Unfortunately, this shift has still not produced the ideal system for selecting the most suitable people to lead others. As aspiring politicians climb the greasy pole to the top of government we often find ourselves asking questions about suitability and merit. Then, as we look around the world, we can see that the alternative can still be one of deceit and brute force. We consider ourselves fortunate, cast our votes, and let the cycle run its course once again.

Jesus speaks of human hierarchy in today’s reading. He says that servants are not greater than their master. As we pause to reflect upon these words we would do well to consider the world of the gospel narrative. At the top of the societal tree of Jerusalem in Jesus’ time we find a duplicitous High Priest, a politically astute Roman Governor, and a fickle mob. All of these people control those weaker than themselves through brute force. Then, if we look at their ‘opponent’, that one man we know as Jesus, the Son of God, we see honesty, truth, tolerance and hope. But, Jesus is just one man, whose counter-cultural teaching was seen as a threat to the powerful and self-interested. This, of course, led to the agents of the leaders nailing Jesus’ hands and feet to a cross. But, as we know, that was not the end of the story. Jesus was the one who would conquer death and assume his rightful place at God’s right hand. Jesus, through the grace of God, proved himself to be the true master … the one we should really be following.

Today we are challenged to make our choice. Who do we choose as our master? Do we choose to follow the weasel-words of our human leaders or the divine truth of the Son of God? The choice is ours!


To Christ, the Lamb who was slain,
and who now lives in the glory of the Father,
let us lift our voices in praise, saying:
risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

Lord Jesus, you are the Amen, the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

You are Alpha and Omega,
the one who is, and was, and who is to come:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

You search into the thoughts and affections of all people:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

You reprove and chasten those whom you love:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

You open the eyes of the blind
and set the prisoners free:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

In your paschal victory,
you have proclaimed the coming of the kingdom:
Risen Lord, we bless you, alleluia.

God of glory,
by the raising of your Son
you have broken the chains of death and hell:
fill your Church with faith and hope;
for a new day has dawned
and the way to life stands open
in our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Rejoicing in God’s new creation,
let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.

The God of peace,
who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,
that great shepherd of the sheep,
through the blood of the eternal covenant,
make us perfect in every good work to do his will,
working in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.