When Jesus said, "With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer" (Luke 22:15), He was making reference to an evening meal during the week of Passover. He was not referring to the actual Feast of the Passover or to the Passover lamb. The meal, which we commonly refer to as The Last Supper, took place on the evening of Nisan 14, The Day of Preparation (Leviticus 23:5), which is the day before the Feast of Unleavened Bread on Nisan 15 (Leviticus 23:6). I'll answer, "What is Maundy Thursday?” and share a moving and inspiring song about "The Basin and The Towel," but first let's remember the significance of this day.
Jesus Came to Minister
"...the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister." (Mark 10:45)
Before Jesus and His disciples ate, Jesus humbled Himself to the menial task of a servant and washed His disciples' feet. In doing so, He showed His love for them and He gave of Himself to serve them. He also instructed them, "Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them" (John 13:17). Jesus repeatedly taught the importance of giving to others and the blessings in doing so.
Foot washing was the work of the lowliest of servants. In those days, people walked long distances, on very dusty roads and wearing only sandals, so their feet would get very dusty and dirty. The host of a meal would arrange for water to be available and for a servant to wash the guests’ feet prior to the meal commencing.
While the disciples would have gladly washed Jesus' feet, they would not have washed one another's feet. Peers did not do this, and they did not consider themselves to be servants of one another.
Jesus showed the disciples another way to think, when He put the servant's towel around His waist, filled a basin with water and began to wash their feet (John 13:4-5). It was appropriate that the dirt of the world should be cleansed from their feet before they would share a meal, and it was also a symbolic washing of cleansing so they would be clean and could hear the words that Jesus would soon speak to them.
The devil had already put into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus (John 13:2), but Jesus washed the feet of all twelve of His disciples — including Judas. In washing the disciples' feet, the Lord provided a true example and a beautiful demonstration of sacrificial service. Jesus said that He had come not to be served ("ministered unto"), but to serve others, and "to give His life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45).