Peter,” Jesus said quietly, “take John with you and go into the city. Look for a man carrying a jar of water, and ask him where we will eat the passover supper this evening.”
Peter and John soon found the man Jesus had described. The man showed them a large upper room where everything was ready. Even a large jar of water and a basin and towel for washing their feet had been provided.
But something was missing! Usually a servant washed everyone’s feet before this special meal. But there was no servant. Each of Jesus’ helpers looked forward to having his feet washed. Dusty roads and warm weather had made their feet tired and dirty.
Soon Jesus and the rest of the disciples came and sat down at the table. Peter decided he wouldn’t say anything about not having a servant. And the rest of Jesus’ friends didn’t mention it either. No one wanted to do the work of a servant.
Then Jesus stood up. Without saying a word, He took off His coat. He wrapped a towel around His waist and poured some water into the basin. Then Jesus began to wash His friends’ feet. Quietly He moved from one to another.
Most of the disciples were embarrassed. They remained silent. They knew Jesus was the Son of God. They knew that they should be washing His feet! But no one moved to help. When Jesus finished, He sat down. “Do you understand why I washed your feet?” He asked kindly. The disciples listened closely. “I am your Teacher,” Jesus said. “I am your Lord. And I am giving you an example of how to treat other people. Serve others. Help people. Act as I do.”
Jesus smiled as they nodded their heads. The disciples did understand. And they would always remember.
Then Jesus broke some bread into pieces and gave some to each of His friends. He took the grape juice and passed it to everyone. He told them that the bread was to represent His body, and the grape juice, His blood. “Take this and eat it,” He said. “Do this to remember me.”
Today when you see people washing each other’s feet and eating and drinking the special bread and juice in church, it is to remember Jesus’ unselfish life and death on the cross. He wanted His disciples to treat others with love as He did. And He wants us to treat others with love too.