Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet


While all four gospels tell us about the Last Supper, John is the only writer who includes this powerful moment.

“It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him” (John 13:1–5).



Throughout His roughly three-year ministry, Jesus frequently demonstrated the extraordinary humility and servant leadership He expected His followers to emulate. One of the more well-known models of the sacrificial love He taught is found during His final evening with the disciples when He washes their feet at the Last Supper, found in John 13.

While foot washing was a common practice before a meal, Jesus’ relationship to the disciples and His divine identity made this simple act a radical display of humility. The disciples wouldn’t have even thought to wash each other’s feet, let alone the feet of someone with lower status than themselves. Jesus took on the role of a servant to clean the day’s filth from His followers’ feet—even from His betrayer, Judas Iscariot.

Jesus came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean (John 13:6–11).

Jesus’ actions reveal the character of God, symbolize another cleansing and ultimately model how we should humble ourselves to demonstrate His LOVE.




While His position made this act of service shocking, it’s also what made it such a powerful model. If Jesus is willing to humble Himself so low for others, how could His followers possibly be above doing the same?

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them” (John 13:12-17).

Later in the meal, Jesus tells the disciples that displaying this humble, self-sacrificing love is how people will recognize His followers. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34–35).


Excerpts from Jesus Film Project ®, Copyright © 1995–2023,