John 13

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Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet

1 Now 1before 2the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that 3his hour had come 4to depart out of this world to the Father, 5having loved 6his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
2 During supper, when 7the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him,
3 Jesus, knowing 8that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that 9he had come from God and 10was going back to God,
4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, 11tied it around his waist.
5 Then he 12poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?"
7 13Jesus answered him, "What I am doing 14you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand."
8 15Peter said to him, "You shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, 16"If I do not wash you, you have no share with me."
9 Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!"
10 Jesus said to him, "The one who has bathed does not need to wash, 17except for his feet,[a] but is completely clean. And 18you[b] are clean, 19but not every one of you."
11 20For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, "Not all of you are clean."
12 When he had washed their feet and 21put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, 22"Do you understand what I have done to you?
13 23You call me 24Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, 25you also ought to wash one another's feet.
15 For I have given you an example, 26that you also should do just as I have done to you.
16 Truly, truly, I say to you, 27a servant[c] is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
17 If you know these things, 28blessed are you if you do them.
18 29I am not speaking of all of you; I know 30whom I have chosen. But 31the Scripture will be fulfilled,[d]32'He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.'
19 33I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.
20 Truly, truly, I say to you, 34whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me."

One of You Will Betray Me

21 After saying these things, 35Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, 36"Truly, truly, I say to you, 37one of you will betray me."
22 38The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke.
23 39One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table 40close to Jesus,[e]
24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus[f] of whom he was speaking.
25 41So that disciple, 42leaning back against Jesus, said to him, "Lord, who is it?"
26 Jesus answered, 43"It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread 44when I have dipped it." So when he had dipped the morsel, 45he gave it to Judas, 46the son of Simon Iscariot.
27 Then after he had taken the morsel, 47Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, 48"What you are going to do, do quickly."
28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him.
29 Some thought that, 49because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, "Buy what we need 50for the feast," or that he should 51give something to the poor.
30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. 52And it was night.

A New Commandment

31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, 53"Now is the Son of Man glorified, and 54God is glorified in him.
32 If God is glorified in him, 55God will also glorify him in himself, and 56glorify him at once.
33 Little children, 57yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just 58as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, 'Where I am going you cannot come.'
34 59A new commandment 60I give to you, 61that you love one another: 62just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
35 63By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Jesus Foretells Peter's Denial

36 Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, where are you going?"64Jesus answered him, "Where I am going 65you cannot follow me now, 66but you will follow afterward."
37 67Peter said to him, "Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you."
38 Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, 68the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.

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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.

Cross References 68

  • 1. John 12:1
  • 2. See John 6:4
  • 3. See John 12:23
  • 4. ver. 3; John 16:28
  • 5. ver. 34
  • 6. John 1:11; John 17:6, 9-11
  • 7. ver. 11, 27; [Acts 5:3]; See John 6:70, 71
  • 8. See John 17:2; Matthew 11:27; Revelation 2:27
  • 9. John 8:42; John 16:28
  • 10. See John 14:12
  • 11. [John 21:7; Luke 22:27]
  • 12. [2 Kings 3:11]
  • 13. [ver. 36]
  • 14. ver. 12; [John 12:16; John 15:15]
  • 15. [Matthew 16:22]
  • 16. [1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 5:26; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 10:22]
  • 17. See Genesis 18:4
  • 18. John 15:3
  • 19. ver. 18
  • 20. ver. 2; John 6:64; See John 2:24, 25
  • 21. ver. 4
  • 22. ver. 7
  • 23. Luke 6:46
  • 24. Matthew 23:8, 10; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Philippians 2:11
  • 25. 1 Timothy 5:10; [1 Peter 5:5]
  • 26. See Matthew 11:29
  • 27. John 15:20; Matthew 10:24
  • 28. See Luke 11:28; James 1:22
  • 29. ver. 10, 11
  • 30. John 6:70; John 15:16, 19; [Mark 3:13; Luke 6:13; Acts 1:2]
  • 31. [John 17:12]; See Matthew 1:22
  • 32. Cited from Psalms 41:9; [ver. 26; Matthew 26:23]
  • 33. John 14:29; John 16:4
  • 34. See Matthew 10:40
  • 35. John 12:27
  • 36. Matthew 26:21; Mark 14:18; Luke 22:21
  • 37. Acts 1:17
  • 38. Luke 22:23
  • 39. John 19:26; John 20:2; John 21:7, 20
  • 40. [Luke 16:22(Gk.)]
  • 41. Mark 4:36
  • 42. John 21:20(Gk.)
  • 43. Matthew 26:23; Mark 14:20
  • 44. Ruth 2:14
  • 45. [Matthew 26:25]
  • 46. John 6:71
  • 47. Luke 22:3; [ver. 2; 1 Corinthians 11:27]
  • 48. [Luke 12:50]
  • 49. John 12:6
  • 50. ver. 1
  • 51. John 12:5
  • 52. [1 Samuel 28:8]
  • 53. See John 7:39
  • 54. John 14:13; John 15:8; John 17:1, 4; 1 Peter 4:11
  • 55. John 17:1, 5
  • 56. See John 12:23
  • 57. See John 7:33
  • 58. John 7:34; John 8:21
  • 59. 1 John 2:7, 8; 1 John 3:11; 2 John 5
  • 60. John 15:12, 17; 1 John 3:23; 1 John 4:21
  • 61. Leviticus 19:18; Romans 13:8; Colossians 3:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Peter 1:22
  • 62. John 15:12; Ephesians 5:2; 1 John 4:10, 11
  • 63. [1 John 3:14; 1 John 4:20]
  • 64. [ver. 7]
  • 65. [John 7:34; John 14:2]
  • 66. John 21:18, 19; 2 Peter 1:14
  • 67. Matthew 26:33-35; Mark 14:29-31; Luke 22:33, 34
  • 68. John 18:27

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. Some manuscripts omit except for his feet
  • [b]. The Greek words for you in this verse are plural
  • [c]. Greek bondservant
  • [d]. Greek But in order that the Scripture may be fulfilled
  • [e]. Greek in the bosom of Jesus
  • [f]. Greek lacks Jesus

John 13 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.