John 13

1 It was now the day before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. He had always loved those in the world who were his own, and he loved them to the very end.
2 Jesus and his disciples were at supper. The Devil had already put into the heart of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, the thought of betraying Jesus.
3 Jesus knew that the Father had given him complete power; he knew that he had come from God and was going to God.
4 So he rose from the table, took off his outer garment, and tied a towel around his waist.
5 Then he poured some water into a washbasin and began to wash the disciples' feet and dry them with the towel around his waist.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Are you going to wash my feet, Lord?"
7 Jesus answered him, "You do not understand now what I am doing, but you will understand later."
8 Peter declared, "Never at any time will you wash my feet!" "If I do not wash your feet," Jesus answered, "you will no longer be my disciple."
9 Simon Peter answered, "Lord, do not wash only my feet, then! Wash my hands and head, too!"
10 Jesus said, "Those who have taken a bath are completely clean and do not have to wash themselves, except for their feet. All of you are clean - all except one.
11 (Jesus already knew who was going to betray him; that is why he said, "All of you, except one, are clean.")
12 After Jesus had washed their feet, he put his outer garment back on and returned to his place at the table. "Do you understand what I have just done to you?" he asked. 1
13 "You call me Teacher and Lord, and it is right that you do so, because that is what I am.
14 I, your Lord and Teacher, have just washed your feet. You, then, should wash one another's feet.
15 I have set an example for you, so that you will do just what I have done for you.
16 I am telling you the truth: no slaves are greater than their master, and no messengers are greater than the one who sent them. 2
17 Now that you know this truth, how happy you will be if you put it into practice!
18 "I am not talking about all of you; I know those I have chosen. But the scripture must come true that says, "The man who shared my food turned against me.' 3
19 I tell you this now before it happens, so that when it does happen, you will believe that "I Am Who I Am.'
20 I am telling you the truth: whoever receives anyone I send receives me also; and whoever receives me receives him who sent me." 4
21 After Jesus had said this, he was deeply troubled and declared openly, "I am telling you the truth: one of you is going to betray me."
22 The disciples looked at one another, completely puzzled about whom he meant.
23 One of the disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was sitting next to Jesus.
24 Simon Peter motioned to him and said, "Ask him whom he is talking about."
25 So that disciple moved closer to Jesus' side and asked, "Who is it, Lord?"
26 Jesus answered, "I will dip some bread in the sauce and give it to him; he is the man." So he took a piece of bread, dipped it, and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.
27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, "Hurry and do what you must!"
28 None of the others at the table understood why Jesus said this to him.
29 Since Judas was in charge of the money bag, some of the disciples thought that Jesus had told him to go and buy what they needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor.
30 Judas accepted the bread and went out at once. It was night.
31 After Judas had left, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man's glory is revealed; now God's glory is revealed through him.
32 And if God's glory is revealed through him, then God will reveal the glory of the Son of Man in himself, and he will do so at once.
33 My children, I shall not be with you very much longer. You will look for me; but I tell you now what I told the Jewish authorities, "You cannot go where I am going.' 5
34 And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 6
35 If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples."
36 "Where are you going, Lord?" Simon Peter asked him. "You cannot follow me now where I am going," answered Jesus; "but later you will follow me."
37 "Lord, why can't I follow you now?" asked Peter. "I am ready to die for you!"
38 Jesus answered, "Are you really ready to die for me? I am telling you the truth: before the rooster crows you will say three times that you do not know me.

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.

Cross References 6

  • 1. 13.12-15Luke 22.27.
  • 2. 13.16Matthew 10.24;Luke 6.40;John 15.20.
  • 3. 13.18Psalms 41.9.
  • 4. 13.20Matthew 10.40;Mark 9.37;Luke 9.48; 10.16.
  • 5. 13.33John 7.34.
  • 6. 13.34 Jn 15.12, 17; 1 Jn 3.23; 2 John 5.

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. The Devil . . . betraying Jesus; [or] The Devil had already decided that Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, would betray Jesus.
  • [b]. [Some manuscripts do not have] except for their feet.

John 13 Commentaries