The second ceremony of the Seder is known as the "washing of the hands." One of the family members brings a pitcher, bowl, and towel to each person at the table to wash his hands. The ceremony is a symbolic act of purification as they prepare to handle the food.
It was probably this ceremony in the Seder that the Messiah used to teach His disciples an object lesson. "[Jesus] rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, 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" (Jn. 13:4-5). His object lesson demonstrated that He was about to become the suffering Servant of the Lord, and as such, He would be the One to cleanse them.
Friday, April 9, 2010
From The Feasts of the Lord by Kevin Howard and Marvin Rosenthal (page 55):