John 13: 3-5 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.
Ol' Peter was always one to challenge (but he was also the one to do the same miracle as Jesus to walk on water)
v8 Peter declared, “Never at any time will you wash my feet!”
“If I do not wash your feet,” Jesus answered, “you will no longer be my disciple.
-Jesus was adamant to do this service. I feel Jesus was saying "I have to serve you and be this example so you can serve God in anyway He might ask for His glory.
Jesus was always teaching and being an example. I think He was showing example of two things- cleansing and humility. He needed the disciples to take on that role since he knew he was leaving.
1) I believe he was He was cleansing them in order to cleanse others (in a spiritual sense).
v14-15 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
2) I also feel that Jesus was demonstrating humility and servant leadership.
16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him
We have often heard that as Christ followers we are to be the "hands and feet" of Jesus. I think Jesus was literally showing the disciples how to be a humble servant. We as followers are to do the same and figure out how to live in humility and fear of God and serve humbly to show the hands and feet of Jesus.