Why Did Jesus Wash the Feet of the Disciples at the Last Supper?

At the Last Supper, Jesus performed a humble act that surprised his disciples. He washed their feet.

This gesture was not only an act of service but also a significant symbol of his love and humility. In this article, we will explore why Jesus chose to wash the feet of his disciples and what it means for us today.

The Context

The Last Supper was a significant event in the life of Jesus and his disciples. It was the final meal that Jesus shared with his closest followers before he was arrested, tried, and crucified. During this meal, Jesus instituted the sacrament of Communion, where he broke bread and shared wine with his disciples, representing his body and blood.

The Foot Washing

After they had eaten the meal, Jesus got up from the table and began to wash the feet of his disciples. This act was usually performed by a servant or a lowly person in Jewish culture as people wore sandals while walking on dusty roads. It was considered an act of hospitality to wash one’s feet upon entering someone’s home.

When it came time for Jesus to wash Peter’s feet, Peter protested, saying that he should not be washing his master’s feet. But Jesus replied by saying that unless he washed Peter’s feet, he would have no part with him.

The Symbolism

The foot washing by Jesus had several symbolic meanings. Firstly, it demonstrated humility and servanthood. By performing this menial task himself instead of delegating it to one of his disciples or servants, Jesus showed that true leadership is service.

Secondly, it symbolized cleansing from sin. In response to Peter’s objection to being washed by Jesus, He told him that if He did not wash him then “you have no part with me.” This statement signifies that without being cleansed from our sins through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we cannot have a relationship with Him.

Thirdly, it showed the importance of loving others. Jesus said to his disciples, “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.”

The Application

The act of foot washing is not something that is commonly practiced in our culture today. However, the lessons we can learn from this event are still relevant.

As followers of Christ, we are called to serve others and to put their needs before our own. We are also called to love one another and to demonstrate that love through acts of service.

In addition, the cleansing from sin that Jesus symbolized through foot washing reminds us of the importance of confessing our sins and seeking forgiveness. As we humble ourselves before God and ask for His cleansing in our lives, we can experience true freedom and peace.


In conclusion, the act of foot washing by Jesus was a powerful symbol of love, humility, servanthood, and cleansing from sin. It serves as a reminder for us today to serve others with humility and love as Christ did for us on the cross. Let us take up this challenge and follow in His footsteps by demonstrating true servant leadership in our lives.