Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end.
It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal.
Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God.
So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron.
Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron.
When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, "Master, you wash my feet?"
Jesus answered, "You don't understand now what I'm doing, but it will be clear enough to you later."
Peter persisted, "You're not going to wash my feet - ever!" Jesus said, "If I don't wash you, you can't be part of what I'm doing."
"Master!" said Peter. "Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!"
Jesus said, "If you've had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you're clean from head to toe. My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene. So now you're clean. But not every one of you."
(He knew who was betraying him. That's why he said, "Not every one of you.")
After he had finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to his place at the table.
You address me as 'Teacher' and 'Master,' and rightly so. That is what I am.
So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other's feet.
I've laid down a pattern for you. What I've done, you do.
I'm only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn't give orders to the employer.
If you understand what I'm telling you, act like it - and live a blessed life.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)