Why Did Jesus Wash the Feet of His Disciples During the Passover John 13 1 17?

In John 13:1-17, it is recorded that Jesus washed the feet of his disciples during the Passover meal. This act of humility has been a source of confusion for some, and a symbol of servanthood for others.

But why did Jesus perform this act? Let’s dive into the historical and cultural context to better understand its significance.

The Context

The Passover was an important Jewish festival that commemorated their liberation from slavery in Egypt. During this time, families would gather together to eat a special meal and retell the story of their deliverance. In Jesus’ time, it was customary for hosts to wash the feet of their guests before the meal as a sign of hospitality.

The Scene

As Jesus and his disciples were gathering for the Passover meal, there was no servant present to wash their feet. This was likely due to the fact that they were meeting in an upper room rather than a typical household setting. It is important to note that washing feet was considered a lowly task reserved for servants or slaves.

The Symbolism

Jesus took on the role of a servant by washing his disciples’ feet, which would have been shocking and humbling for them. He used this act to teach them an important lesson about humility and service.

In John 13:14-15, he says, “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 should do as I have done to you.”

This act also had spiritual significance as it represented purification from sin. In John 13:8-10, Peter initially refused to let Jesus wash his feet out of reverence for him.

However, Jesus replied by saying “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” This washing represented the cleansing of their souls from sin, and their need to accept Jesus’ sacrifice for salvation.

The Application

The act of foot washing is not a common practice in modern Western culture. However, the lesson of humility and service remains relevant today.

We can apply this lesson by serving others selflessly, even in tasks that may seem lowly or unimportant. Additionally, we can remember the importance of accepting Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins and the need to continually surrender ourselves to him.


In conclusion, Jesus washing his disciples’ feet during the Passover meal was a powerful example of humility and service. It taught his disciples an important lesson about putting others before themselves and the spiritual significance of purification from sin.

While foot washing may not be a common practice in modern times, its message remains relevant for us today. Let us strive to emulate Jesus’ example by serving others with humility and selflessness.