Jesus Washes Feet: 7 Steps Reveal His Servant’s Heart

“And when He [Jesus] had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.’ And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.’”

Luke 22:19-20

Jesus, the Son of God, the Miracle Worker, the Teacher, the One Who had entered Jerusalem triumphantly and received a king’s welcome, took the bread and asked the disciples to remember that His body will be given for them in a few hours as a perfect sacrifice. His blood will be poured out for them as the new covenant, a covenant that will take away the sins of the world and bring peace with God. This Jesus washes feet: 7 steps reveal His servant’s heart.

But the disciples were focused on the coming kingdom that they thought Jesus was going to establish. They argued who would be the greatest in the kingdom.

The Greatest

“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He tied it around Himself. Then He poured water into the washbasin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel which He had tied around Himself.

John 13:3-5

Jesus knew Who He was. The Father gave Him everything. God sent Him into the world for a season and He was going back to the Father. His eyes were set on the work ahead. A tortuous work filled with pain, shame, and the wrath of God. Yet, He had His eyes on the joy that was set before Him.

7 Steps of Service

  1. See the need. The streets were dusty. Jesus had asked Peter and John to prepare the Passover for them. They were the hosts. It was customary that when guests would enter the house, that the lowest servant would wash the guests’ feet. Throughout the meal, the disciples’ feet had remained dirty as they argued who was the greatest.
    The need: Physically, the disciples’ feet were dirty. Spiritually, the disciples were focused on themselves and not their Master.
  2. Get up from comfort. Jesus got up from His last meal to wash the dirty feet of His disciples.
    The comfort: Physically, the food and wine would be His last Passover Supper on earth. Spiritually, Jesus was focusing upon the cleansing that would be accomplished in a few short hours.
  3. Lay aside garments: Jesus laid aside His garments and revealed His heart. Was He thinking of how they would throw lots for His tunic?
    The garments: Physically, laying aside His position before them and taking on the position of a servant. Spiritually, naked and surrendered before His Father.
  4. Put on the towel of servanthood: Jesus wrapped the towel around Himself.
    The towel: Physically, Jesus came to serve, not be served (Matthew 20:28). Spiritually, Jesus has wiped us clean of our sins, but we still walk in this dirty world and need our lives cleansed by Him.
  5. Pour the water into the basin: It takes water to wash the dirt away.
    The water. Physically, as He poured the clean water, He could imagine the muddy water after 22 feet had been washed. Spiritually, “The water which washes away sin, which cleanses and purifies the soul, is the Word.”  (Charles Spurgeon) Jesus is the Word. (John 1:1)
  6. Wash away the dirt. Jesus touched the dirty feet and washed away the dirt.
    Physically, Jesus did the work of cleansing; His hands got dirty. Spiritually, God placed our sins, our dirt, upon Jesus. His blood washed our sins away.
  7. Wrap it all in love. Can you see Jesus lovingly wrapping the disciples’ clean feet with the towel and placing them on the floor?
    Physically, Do you suppose as He placed their feet on the floor that He looked into their eyes with love? Spiritually, Jesus wiped away our sins and wrapped us in His love for all eternity.

“And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet.”

John 13:14

The Servant of All, Savior of the World, The Annointed One, God’s Only Son, Jesus came to serve and gave His all for you and me.

How will you respond to Jesus?

Related Links

What Love Looks Like: Washing Feet

3 Lessons You Can Learn from Jesus Washing Feet

Featured photo by Garofalo, Ferrarese, Christ Washing the Disciples’ Feet, c. 1520/1525, in the public domain, National Gallery of Art.