What Did Jesus Say to His Disciples When He Washed Their Feet?

In the book of John, Chapter 13, we read about an extraordinary moment in the life of Jesus Christ and his disciples. It was the night before the Passover feast, and Jesus knew that his time on earth was coming to an end. He wanted to leave a powerful message for his disciples, one that would stay with them forever.

As they gathered around the table for dinner, Jesus took off his outer garment, wrapped a towel around his waist, and began to wash the feet of his disciples. This act was considered a lowly task and was typically performed by servants or slaves. But Jesus chose to do it himself to teach his followers an important lesson.

What did Jesus say while washing their feet?

When he reached Simon Peter, Peter protested, saying that he could not allow Jesus to wash his feet. But Jesus responded by saying:

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

Peter then replied:

“Lord, 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.”

Jesus’ words were deep and symbolic. By washing their feet, he wanted to show them that no job is too small or insignificant for anyone who wants to serve God. He also reminded them that they needed spiritual cleansing as well as physical cleansing.

Why did Jesus Wash His Disciples’ Feet?

The act of foot-washing was common in ancient times when people walked on dusty roads without shoes. When they entered someone’s house for dinner or any other event, it was customary for the host or hostess to offer a bowl of water so that guests could wash their feet before entering.

In this context, foot-washing was seen as a sign of hospitality and respect. But when Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, he did it not just as a sign of hospitality, but also as a symbol of humility and servitude.

Jesus wanted to show his disciples that he was willing to do the most menial tasks to serve them. He also wanted to teach them that true leadership is not about power or authority, but about serving others with love and humility.

What Can We Learn from This Story?

The story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet is rich in meaning and relevance for us today. Here are some lessons we can learn from this story:

  • Humility: Jesus demonstrated that true greatness lies in humility and service.
  • Servanthood: As followers of Christ, we are called to be servants and to serve others with love.
  • Cleansing: We need spiritual cleansing as well as physical cleansing.
  • Unity: Foot-washing was a symbol of unity and fellowship in ancient times. As Christians, we are called to be united in our faith and love for one another.


In conclusion, the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet is a powerful reminder of what it means to be a follower of Christ. It teaches us about humility, servanthood, cleansing, unity, and love.

May we always remember these lessons and strive to live them out in our daily lives.