Washing the Disciples’ Feet

John 13:1–20

Works of art by Workshop of Hugo d’Oignies, Ford Madox Brown, and Unknown artist, Ancient Egypt
Commentaries by Michael Banner

John 13:1–20

Bible passage (Revised Standard Version)

13Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2And during supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and girded himself with a towel. 5Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded. 6He came to Simon Peter; and Peter said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand.” 8Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part in me.” 9Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but he is clean all over; and you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “You are not all clean.”

12 When he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. 14If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 18I am not speaking of you all; I know whom I have chosen; it is that the scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19I tell you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives any one whom I send receives me; and he who receives me receives him who sent me.”