Washing of the feet: At the Passover supper, Jesus and his disciples recline on couches arranged around tables containing the food. Jesus goes to the outside of this circle to wash each person’s feet. The sandals and feet may not be too dirty as they were in the city, and they have washed themselves for the religious meal.
In a culture which values honor and upholds societal roles, Jesus violates cultural status that shocks Peter and his companions. Footwashing is not just an act of humility. Washing someone else’s feet is most commonly the work of a non-Jewish servant or a slave. Disciples perform acts of personal service for their rabbis but not wash their feet. Jesus thus impresses upon his disciples the meaning of self-humiliation and self-giving that would be accomplished on the cross on the following day.