John Thirteen

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

John 13:1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

John 13:2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him;

heart of Judas. Judas' heart was already full of greed and deception, and so was easily available for Satan to possess henceforth (see John 13:27). He had never been a true disciple, for Jesus recognized him as “the son of perdition” (John 17:12), but had included him in their company “that the scripture may be fulfilled” (John 13:18).

John 13:3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;

John 13:4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.

laid aside his garments. On an earthly scale, this was analogous to when He emptied Himself of His heavenly vestures to come to earth, where He “took upon Him the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7). When He again took up His garments (John 13:12), it would be analogous to Philippians 2:9-10, when He returned to heaven.

John 13:5 After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

wash the disciples' feet. Instead of serving each other, the disciples shortly before had been arguing who would be the greatest among them (Luke 22:24-27). This action of their Master convicted them, and they never argued this point again.

John 13:6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?

John 13:7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.

John 13:8 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

John 13:9 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.

John 13:10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.

washed. Two different Greek words are used for “wash” in this verse, indicating a typological, as well as practical, teaching. The first “washed” means “bathed all over,” as in the “washing of regeneration” (Titus 3:5) or the “washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26). The second “wash” refers to a partial “cleansing” of only that part which needs it (i.e., the face, hands, feet, etc.). Thus, regeneration occurs once only, but is followed by daily confession and cleansing (xTerm 1:7, 9). In addition to the feet, walking daily in a sinful world, the head and hands also may need daily cleansing; the head (or mind) needs to be “renewed” (Romans 12:2), and the hands prepared for service.

John 13:11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.

John 13:12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?

John 13:13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.

Master and Lord. It is interesting and significant that the disciples, in speaking to Christ, never addressed Him simply as Jesus or even as Christ. They almost always addressed Him as “Lord,” and occasionally as “Master.” In writing their narratives about His acts and words, however, they did frequently say what “Jesus” did, or said. That was His human name, and a very fitting name, but their relation to Him was not that of man-to-man, but that of servant to Lord, or disciple to Master. When we address Him in prayer, we do well to honor Him by following their example. When we do this, He would say, as He did to His first disciples: “Ye say well.” Note also 1 Corinthians 12:3; Philippians 2:9-10; Romans 10:9-10.

John 13:14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.

John 13:15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

an example. Here The Lord has given us an example (note 1 Peter 2:21), not a specific commandment. He did not say: “Do what I have done to you,” but rather: “Do as I have done to you.” The example is that of willingness to do menial service as needed to help others. In that day, walking on dusty roads in open sandals, one's feet became dirty and very tired by supper time, and it was customary for a host to have servants wash the feet of any guests he might invite to sup with him as an act of courtesy and kindness. The exact situation would rarely be duplicated in our culture today, so the exact courtesy would hardly be appropriate. The principle of service—even menial service when needed—is still very important, however, and should be characteristic of all His disciples.

John 13:16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

John 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

John 13:18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.

scripture may be fulfilled. The prophecy of which this is a fulfillment is found in Psalm 41:9.

John 13:19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.

John 13:20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

John 13:21 When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

John 13:22 Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.

John 13:23 Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.

one of his disciples. The Apostle John never identified himself by name in his gospel (though he did in the first verse of his book of Revelation,), but occasionally called himself the disciple whom Jesus loved (see also John 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20).

John 13:24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.

John 13:25 He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it?

John 13:26 Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.

sop. A piece of bread dipped in a bowl of gravy or soup. It was considered an act of friendship to offer such a morsel to a dinner guest.

John 13:27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

John 13:28 Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.

John 13:29 For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.

John 13:30 He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.

it was night. The time was appropriate, for Judas was now fully controlled by “the power of darkness” (Luke 22:53).

John 13:31 Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.

John 13:32 If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.

John 13:33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

love one another. Christ's “new commandment” of agape love would be rather ambiguous if He had not defined it, since “love” itself is relative. Its measure, however, is “as I have loved you.” His love was altogether altruistic and unselfish, even unto death. Note John 13:1; 15:12, 13; Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:14; xTerm 3:16; 4:9-11, etc.

John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

John 13:36 Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.

shalt follow me. Jesus had also said this to His Jewish opponents. “Ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come” (John 8:21; see also John 13:33). To Peter, however, He promised that He would follow Him later! Peter (and all believers) will eventually follow Him to heaven, but His enemies will see Him again only as condemning Judge.

John 13:37 Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.

John 13:38 Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.