John 13. The last supper. Washing the feet. It’s easy to read this as just Jesus lowering himself beneath the disciples and telling us we must do the same. Look at the language, though.
Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 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.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean
We can have no part in Him unless this is done. He is absolving their sin. They don’t realize it yet - but they will! And Jesus isn’t referring to baptism here. No, we are baptized once in the Holy Spirit, and yet at times we must still be cleansed. And so Jesus does this for the disciples. But wait, there’s more!
14 If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.** 18 I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen**
We are to also periodically cleanse each other, so that we may be with the Lord. But not everyone is to do this! Only those Jesus has chosen. Well… He chose everyone to follow Him, so this must mean not all of us have this ability. As Catholics, we know He is referring to those He has chosen to carry out this action on His behalf. In persona Christi! So yes, the Lord absolutely absolved the disciples of their sins before the Last Supper.
And of course, scripture tells us to confess our sins to one another so we may be healed.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
And yet we know that only some are to absolve us of our sins from the Last Supper. So, we make a confession to those who have the power to heal us from our sin. And we do this before we receive Jesus Christ as He commanded!