When it comes to the Last Supper, one of the most talked-about events is the washing of the disciples’ feet. But did Jesus wash their feet before or after the meal? The answer may surprise you.
According to John 13:1-17, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples before they sat down to eat. This act of humility and servitude was meant to teach his followers a lesson about love and sacrifice.
The passage reads, “Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. Now by the time of supper, the Devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him.
Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into his hands and that he had come from God and was going back to God. So he got up from supper, laid aside his robe, took a towel, and tied it around himself. Next, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel tied around him.”
This passage clearly indicates that Jesus washed their feet before they ate supper. However, some scholars argue that this account differs from what is written in Luke 22:24-27.
In Luke’s account, there is no mention of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet at all. Instead, there is a dispute among them about who is considered to be greatest among them.
Luke writes, “A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. So Jesus said to them ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors.
But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and one who rules like the one who serves.'”
This passage seems to suggest that Jesus did not wash their feet until after the meal, as a response to their argument. However, it is important to note that Luke never explicitly says when this argument took place or when Jesus washed their feet.
Ultimately, while there may be some disagreement among scholars about the precise timing of this event, both accounts emphasize the importance of humility and service in the Christian faith.
As we reflect on Jesus’ example of washing his disciples’ feet, we are reminded of our own call to serve others with love and selflessness. Whether we are leaders or followers, we can all learn from this powerful lesson and strive to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.
In conclusion, while there may be some debate about whether Jesus washed his disciples’ feet before or after the Last Supper, what is clear is that this act of humility and service remains an important part of Christian tradition. Whether we choose to observe this ritual ourselves or simply reflect on its meaning, it serves as a powerful reminder of the love and sacrifice at the heart of our faith.
- John 13:1-17
- Luke 22:24-27