John 13

Jesus Washes His Disciples' Feet

1 Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.[a]
2 Now by the time of supper, the Devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, Simon Iscariot's son, to betray Him.
3 Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into His hands, that He had come from God, and that He was going back to God.
4 So He got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself.
5 Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples' feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who asked Him, "Lord, are You going to wash my feet?"
7 Jesus answered him, "What I'm doing you don't understand now, but afterwards you will know."
8 "You will never wash my feet-ever!" Peter said. Jesus replied, "If I don't wash you, you have no part with Me."
9 Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head."
10 "One who has bathed," Jesus told him, "doesn't need to wash anything except his feet, but he is completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you."
11 For He knew who would betray Him. This is why He said, "You are not all clean."

The Meaning of Footwashing

12 When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined[b] again and said to them, "Do you know what I have done for you?
13 You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am.
14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.
15 For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done for you.
16 "I assure you: A slave is not greater than his master, [c] [d] and a messenger is not greater than the one who sent him.
17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
18 I'm not speaking about all of you; I know those I have chosen. [e] But the Scripture must be fulfilled: The one who eats My bread [f] has raised his heel against Me. [g]
19 "I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am [He]. [h]
20 I assure you: The one who receives whomever I send receives Me, and the one who receives Me receives Him who sent Me."

Judas' Betrayal Predicted

21 When Jesus had said this, He was troubled in His spirit and testified, "I assure you: One of you will betray Me!"
22 The disciples started looking at one another-uncertain which one He was speaking about.
23 One of His disciples, the one Jesus loved,[i] was reclining close beside Jesus.[j]
24 Simon Peter motioned to him to find out who it was He was talking about.
25 So he leaned back against Jesus and asked Him, "Lord, who is it?"
26 Jesus replied, "He's the one I give the piece of bread to after I have dipped it." [k] When He had dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas, Simon Iscariot's son.[l]
27 After [Judas ate] the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Therefore Jesus told him, "What you're doing, do quickly."
28 None of those reclining at the table knew why He told him this.
29 Since Judas kept the money-bag, some thought that Jesus was telling him, "Buy what we need for the festival," or that he should give something to the poor.
30 After receiving the piece of bread, he went out immediately. And it was night.

The New Commandment

31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him.
32 If God is glorified in Him, [m] God will also glorify Him in Himself and will glorify Him at once.
33 "Children, I am with you a little while longer. You will look for Me, and just as I told the Jews, 'Where I am going you cannot come,' so now I tell you.
34 "I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.
35 By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

Peter's Denials Predicted

36 "Lord," Simon Peter said to Him, "where are You going?" Jesus answered, "Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you will follow later."
37 "Lord," Peter asked, "why can't I follow You now? I will lay down my life for You!"
38 Jesus replied, "Will you lay down your life for Me? I assure you: A rooster will not crow until you have denied Me three times.

Images for John 13

John 13 Commentary

Chapter 13

Christ washes the disciples' feet. (1-17) The treachery of Judas foretold. (18-30) Christ commands the disciples to love one another. (31-38)

Verses 1-17 Our Lord Jesus has a people in the world that are his own; he has purchased them, and paid dear for them, and he has set them apart for himself; they devote themselves to him as a peculiar people. Those whom Christ loves, he loves to the end. Nothing can separate a true believer from the love of Christ. We know not when our hour will come, therefore what we have to do in constant preparation for it, ought never to be undone. What way of access the devil has to men's hearts we cannot tell. But some sins are so exceedingly sinful, and there is so little temptation to them from the world and the flesh, that it is plain they are directly from Satan. Jesus washed his disciples' feet, that he might teach us to think nothing below us, wherein we may promote God's glory, and the good of our brethren. We must address ourselves to duty, and must lay aside every thing that would hinder us in what we have to do. Christ washed his disciples' feet, that he might signify to them the value of spiritual washing, and the cleansing of the soul from the pollutions of sin. Our Lord Jesus does many things of which even his own disciples do not for the present know the meaning, but they shall know afterward. We see in the end what was the kindness from events which seemed most cross. And it is not humility, but unbelief, to put away the offers of the gospel, as if too rich to be made to us, or too good news to be true. All those, and those only, who are spiritually washed by Christ, have a part in Christ. All whom Christ owns and saves, he justifies and sanctifies. Peter more than submits; he begs to be washed by Christ. How earnest he is for the purifying grace of the Lord Jesus, and the full effect of it, even upon his hands and head! Those who truly desire to be sanctified, desire to be sanctified throughout, to have the whole man, with all its parts and powers, made pure. The true believer is thus washed when he receives Christ for his salvation. See then what ought to be the daily care of those who through grace are in a justified state, and that is, to wash their feet; to cleanse themselves from daily guilt, and to watch against everything defiling. This should make us the more cautious. From yesterday's pardon, we should be strengthened against this day's temptation. And when hypocrites are discovered, it should be no surprise or cause of stumbling to us. Observe the lesson Christ here taught. Duties are mutual; we must both accept help from our brethren, and afford help to our brethren. When we see our Master serving, we cannot but see how ill it becomes us to domineer. And the same love which led Christ to ransom and reconcile his disciples when enemies, still influences him.

Verses 18-30 Our Lord had often spoken of his own sufferings and death, without such trouble of spirit as he now discovered when he spake of Judas. The sins of Christians are the grief of Christ. We are not to confine our attention to Judas. The prophecy of his treachery may apply to all who partake of God's mercies, and meet them with ingratitude. See the infidel, who only looks at the Scriptures with a desire to do away their authority and destroy their influence; the hypocrite, who professes to believe the Scriptures, but will not govern himself by them; and the apostate, who turns aside from Christ for a thing of naught. Thus mankind, supported by God's providence, after eating bread with Him, lift up the heel against Him! Judas went out as one weary of Jesus and his apostles. Those whose deeds are evil, love darkness rather than light.

Verses 31-35 Christ had been glorified in many miracles he wrought, yet he speaks of his being glorified now in his sufferings, as if that were more than all his other glories in his humbled state. Satisfaction was thereby made for the wrong done to God by the sin of man. We cannot now follow our Lord to his heavenly happiness, but if we truly believe in him, we shall follow him hereafter; meanwhile we must wait his time, and do his work. Before Christ left the disciples, he would give them a new commandment. They were to love each other for Christ's sake, and according to his example, seeking what might benefit others, and promoting the cause of the gospel, as one body, animated by one soul. But this commandment still appears new to many professors. Men in general notice any of Christ's words rather than these. By this it appears, that if the followers of Christ do not show love one to another, they give cause to suspect their sincerity.

Verses 36-38 What Christ had said concerning brotherly love, Peter overlooked, but spoke of that about which Christ kept them ignorant. It is common to be more eager to know about secret things, which belong to God only, than about things revealed, which belong to us and our children; to be more desirous to have our curiosity gratified, than our consciences directed; to know what is done in heaven, than what we may do to get thither. How soon discourse as to what is plain and edifying is dropped, while a doubtful dispute runs on into endless strife of words! We are apt to take it amiss to be told we cannot do this and the other, whereas, without Christ we can do nothing. Christ knows us better than we know ourselves, and has many ways of discovering those to themselves, whom he loves, and he will hide pride from them. May we endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, to love one another with a pure heart fervently, and to walk humbly with our God.

Footnotes 13

  • [a]. to the end completely or always
  • [b]. At important meals the custom was to recline on a mat at a low table and lean on the left elbow.
  • [c]. Or lord
  • [d]. Jn 15:20
  • [e]. Jn 6:70
  • [f]. Other mss read eats bread with Me
  • [g]. Ps 41:9
  • [h]. Jn 8:58
  • [i]. Jn 19:26; 20:2; 21:7,20
  • [j]. Lit reclining at Jesus' breast; that is, on His right; Jn 1:18
  • [k]. Ps 41:9
  • [l]. Other mss read Judas Iscariot, Simon's son
  • [m]. Other mss omit If God is glorified in Him

John 13 Commentaries