Happiness Comes by Serving Others

Dwight L. Moody says it well, “Happiness is caused by things that happen around me, and circumstances will mar it; but joy flows right on through trouble; joy flows on through the dark; joy flows in the night as well as in the day; joy flows all through persecution and oppos … More

The key to this passage is - “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them (v. 17).” The sequence is important which is humbleness, holiness and then happiness. Happiness is the by -product of a life that is lived in humbleness and holiness (vv. 12-17). The world thinks that happiness is the result of others serving us, but real joy comes when we serve others in the name of Jesus.

Christ asks the disciples if they have understood the meaning of what He has done (v. 12). If He is willing to humble Himself to the point of washing His disciples’ feet, then the disciples should be willing to do the same thing (vv. 13-14). As an example, Christ is not instituting an ordinance of foot washing but is showing humility (v. 15). He does not command us to perform this act, but to acquire the attitude that this activity displays. Blessing (happy are ye) is the result of practicing a life of humility and service (vv. 16-17). The example Jesus gave to the disciples is not in washing feet but in serving others. Blessing (v. 17) is not found in having the knowledge of what pleases God but in doing things that please Him.

“I speak not of you all” (v. 18). This makes reference to the fact that not all of the disciples would have blessings on their lives because they were humble. One of the group who would eat with Christ would betray Him. Christ is speaking of Judas (Psa 41:9). Christ forewarned the disciples that this would take place (vv. 19-20). The disciples did not later question Christ’s choice of Judas since this was all a part of God’s plan. To accept Christ means to accept the Father.


It hardly seems possible that perhaps only 20% of Americans are genuinely happy. It is because many people seek it through money, people, events etc. All of this is only temporary at best and can’t bring lasting happiness. It is only obedience to God’s Word that can bring me real happiness.

John 13:12-20 (English Standard Version)

When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, "Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, 'He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.' I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me."

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