The Thursday of Passion Week is also known as Maundy Thursday. At its root, the word “maundy” means a general commandment, but it’s come to mean a specific commandment that Jesus gave his disciples on that Thursday. This was the day Jesus had his last meal with his disciples—the Last Supper. During this meal, Jesus did something a little peculiar that surprised everyone at the table. And then he asked them to do the same thing.
Listen as John, a disciple of Jesus and eyewitness to these events, provides an account of what transpired as we read in the Gospel of John 13:1–17.
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “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.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
Heavenly Father, we pray that you would help us follow in the footsteps of Jesus and serve others with the same kind of love and humility that he demonstrated over and over again. We love you and are grateful for what you’ve done for us through Jesus. Amen.