John 13:4

4 got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself.

John 13:4 Meaning and Commentary

John 13:4

He riseth from supper
In the midst of the entertainment, and which no doubt was considerable, his mind being intent on something else; and it being his meat and drink to do his Father's will, he rises and leaves his disciples sitting to finish their meal; and whilst they were murmuring at the waste of the ointment poured on his head, and were filled with indignation at it, as they all of them were, see ( Matthew 26:8 ) ; he rises up to wash their feet; amazing patience and humility!

And laid aside his garments;
not all his garments, only his upper ones, that he might better dispatch the business he was going about; and which was an emblem of his laying aside, as it were for a while, his glory and dignity as the Son of God, and of his appearing in the form of a servant.

And took a towel;
or "linen cloth", (lention) , the same with (tyjnwl) in the Jerusalem Talmud F18:

and girded himself;
with the towel, or linen cloth, which served both for a girdle, and after he had washed his disciples' feet, to wipe them with. This was a servile habit; so servants used to stand at the feet of their masters, girt about with a linen cloth F19; and shows, that the son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.


F18 Sabbat, fol. 3. 1. & 12. 1.
F19 Suetonius in Caligula, c. 26.

John 13:4 In-Context

2 The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper
3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God,
4 got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself.
5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"

Footnotes 1

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.