John 13:1-38 - Outline of John (MENU page)
Chapters 13-17 focus on the night before Jesus' crucifixion.
These few hours with His disciples occupy nearly 25% of this Gospel.
Consider the following outlines of the Gospel of John:
 
God the Son is revealed -
  1. as the Light of the world, ch. 1-12. (His Ministry in Public. -- A few years.)
  2. in His Love for His own, ch. 13-17. (His Ministry in Private. -- A few hours.)
  3. in giving Life through His death, ch. 18-21. (His Ministry Alone. -- His 'hour' and beyond.)
 
The Progression of our High Priest in His Ministry for us -
(John emphasizes Jesus' ministry at Israel's feasts, which spoke of His Person and priestly work.)
  1. in the outer court of the Temple, Ch. 1-12. (This court was open to everyone.)
    • The Lamb of God is presented for inspection.
  2. in the Holy Place, ch. 13-16. His own are identified with Him at -
    1. The Brazen Altar of Sacrifice, 13:1; cp. 12:24-33; Mat 26:26-29; Ex 40:6-7
    2. The Laver of Cleansing, 13:2-17; cp. Ex 30:17-21
    3. The Lampstand (the Holy Spirit) illuminating the things of God, 14:16-20,26; 15:26,27; 16:12-15
    4. The Golden Altar of Incense (prayer), 14:13,14; 16:26; (also ch. 17)
  3. in the Most Holy Place, ch. 17-21. Our High Priest enters alone in our behalf.
    1. Alone before the Father - in prayer, ch. 17
    2. Alone before His judges - in righteousness, ch. 18
    3. Alone beneath our sin - in death, ch. 19
    4. Alone above death - in resurrection, ch. 20
    5. Alone over His Church- in pre-eminence, ch. 21
 
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.
13:2 And supper being ended
{lit., supper being in progress},
the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's [son], to betray him;
13:3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands,
{3:35}
and that he was come from God, and went to God; {16:27,28}
13:4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments;
and took a towel, and girded himself.
He loved them unto the end {ie., to the uttermost degree}- For His own...
- - He set aside His rights as Deity (v.3),
- - He endured the treachery of a former friend (v.2),
- - He humbled Himself and became a servant... (v.4). cp. Php 2:6-8
His love for His own is at the heart of His fellowship with them this evening.
He washed their feet due to His loving concern for them.-
  1. He was about to depart out of the world {GK= kosmos, the world system} of sin.
    While Jesus walked in the world, He remained uncontaminated by sin, and He kept His own sanctified from sin. But now, the disciples must learn the importance of cleansing to maintain their relationship with God. cp. 17:11-17
  2. He knew the danger of Satan's presence, as evidenced by his influence over Judas.
    To be kept from the evil one, they must be cleansed from sin. cp. 17:15
supper being ended {or, being in progress}- The Lord's Supper is not recorded by John, though
it is prominently featured in the other gospels. Mat 26:20-29; Mark 14:17-25; Luk 22:14-23
Why? It may be that by the time John wrote, Communion had already become a mere ritual. John places emphasis, not on a ritual, but on our relationship to the person of Christ. The bread and wine is symbolic of our identification with Christ, the Word of God. (See note at 6:63.)
His hour had come- His death is foundational to all that He says to them on its eve.
It is the basis of their cleansing. cp. 12:23-33
13:5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet,
and to wipe [them] with the towel wherewith he was girded.
13:6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter:
and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
13:7 Jesus answered and said unto him,
What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
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.
13:9 Simon Peter saith unto him,
Lord, not my feet only, but also [my] hands and [my] head.
13:10 Jesus saith to him,
He that is washed
{GK= louo, bathed} needeth not save to wash {GK= nipto, wash} [his] feet,
but is clean every whit
{GK= holos, wholly, entirely, throughout}:
and ye are clean
{ie., 'clean ones' [Wuest]}, but not all.
13:11 For he knew who should betray him;
therefore said he, Ye are not all clean
{'clean ones' [Wuest]}.
Peter's reaction to Christ's ministry is fleshly. Jesus is teaching spiritual truth.
"The flesh cannot understand spiritual realities. It is either too backward (v.6), or too forward (v.9), or too courageous (v.37), or too cowardly (v.38). It is incapable of ever being right; it is impossible of improvement. Hence, it must die." [GWms]
he that is {bathed} needs... wash his feet- In that day, people bathed at the public bath house.
Their bodies were entirely clean. But on their walk home on dirt roads their feet would get dirty.
It was a common courtesy for a host to provide for the washing of his guests feet. cp. Gen 18:4
bathed- GK= louo, to bathe the body. Compare this GK word as used in Titus 3:5,6; Rev 1:5.
Total spiritual cleansing is provided by Christ's blood, shed once at the cross. Heb 10:1-18
Before God, the believer is made entirely clean, because Christ's blood is the expiation for sin.
1Cor 1:30; 6:11; 1Joh 3:9
washed- GK= nipto, to wash locally, (cp. use in 9:6,7).
In the sinful world and in his corruptible flesh, the believer requires repeated cleansing.
But the believer is incapable of cleansing Himself.
Jesus said, ''If I wash {GK= nipto} thee not, thou hast no part with me.'' (v.8)
- - Cleansing from sin is always based on the blood of Christ. (The sinful flesh must die.)
The believer accesses daily cleansing...
dost thou wash my feet? - Peter was ashamed to see the Lord kneeling to serve him.
If I would see Him tending to my filthy feet, with His nail scarred hands,
would I be so quick to dirty them again?
ye are not all clean.- Jesus knew that Judas had not come under the "washing of regeneration."
Clean feet cannot make a man right with God, if he has not first been made entirely clean through faith in Christ (v.10). The order of Cleansing is first the Altar of Sacrifice, then the Laver of washing.
    Sinful flesh can never be righteous before God, even though it may behave morally (cp. Isa 64:6). In Jesus' presence, even Judas had been sanctified (kept from external sin) temporarily. The means of inner cleansing was ever before him, until he turned away. (eg., An unbelieving spouse, though unsaved, is sanctified through relationship with a believer. 1Cor 7:14-16)
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?
13:13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for [so] I am.
13:14 If I then, [your] Lord and Master, have washed your feet;
ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
13:15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
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.
13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
your Master - ie., teacher. He is to be believed.
your Lord - ie., ruler. He is to be obeyed.
ye also ought to wash one another's feet.-
Some groups literally practice 'foot washing' as a part of their worship services. There is value in this, as it teaches humility. However, the Lord washed feet as an 'example' (v.15), not to establish a religious rite. Foot washing is mentioned in 1Tim 5:10, in the context of showing hospitality, as part of a general pattern of service.
By example, Jesus teaches several lessons here:
  1. We need to serve one another, not thinking ourselves too important. Php 2:3-5
    Often, we are more like the disciples, who argued about their own greatness, even while Jesus prepared to die for them. Luk 22:24-27
  2. We need to wash each other's feet (spiritually). cp. Gal 6:1,2; Heb 10:24,25
  3. We need to submit our own feet (ie., walk, way of life) to His inspection and cleansing. cp. Psa 139:23,24; 1Pet 2:21-24
if ye know these things, happy {blessed} are ye if ye do them.-
This statement has present and future implications. cp. Jam 1:25; Luk 12:37
''Trust and obey, for there is no other way,
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.'' [hymn]
13:18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: {cp. 6:70,71; 15:16}
but that the scripture may be fulfilled,
He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.
13:19 Now I tell you before it come,
that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am [he].
{cp. Mat 11:3}
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.
I speak not of you all...-
The happiness, of which He spoke (v.17), did not apply to everyone. Judas would never enjoy the fellowship of brothers encouraging one another in their walk with the Lord, because due to his unbelief, he was not one of those who Christ made wholly clean.
Jesus prepared the disciples for Judas' defection, which would occur...
  1. in fulfillment of Scripture. v.18 quotes Psa 41:9.
    Yet, Judas acted of his own free will: "he... hath lifted up his heel against me."
  2. in fulfillment of Jesus' prophetic words. v.19
    Their fulfillment is yet more evidence that Jesus is "that prophet,"
    ie., the Messiah, the One about whom the whole Psalm speaks.
  3. inspite of Judas' previous fellowship in ministry. v.20
    Jesus had once sent Judas out to preach and heal. Mat 10:1-8, cp. Mat 10:40; Acts 1:16,17
    Christ's message remains true, even if the messenger is unbelieving and unfaithful.
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.
troubled- ie., He was agitated within Himself, and grieved (cp. word use in 11:33; 12:27; 14:1).
- - at the hardness of the heart that would betray Him, and
- - at the consequences that would befall that former friend. Mat 26:24
testified- This word adds to the solemnity of Jesus' announcement.
betray- GK= paradidomai, to deliver over (ie., to one's enemies).
13:22 Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.
13:23 Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.
{cp. 21:20,24}
13:24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him,
that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.
13:25 He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it?
the disciples... doubting of whom he spake- cp. Mat 26:22; Mark 14:19
Each man questioned his own heart. Perhaps, each had wrestled with thoughts of self-preservation as the danger of association with Jesus increased. (cp. 11:8,16; 11:57; 12:10)
But Judas' loyalty seemed unquestionable, even after Jesus answered their question. v.28
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.
13:27 And after the sop Satan entered into him.
Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.
a sop- a morsel, a fragment, ie., of food.
Bread dipped in sauce would customarily be offered first to the guest of honor. [McGee]
In effect, the Lord Jesus made Judas His guest of honor.
He offered Judas His friendship, and an opportunity to repent right to the end. (cp. Mat 26:50)
Satan- suggested the betrayal to Judas. v.2; Mat 26:14-16
After Judas entertained the suggestion, Satan entered him. v.27
do quickly- lit., do more quickly [Wuest].
Even the satanic schemes of His enemies (Mat 26:4,5) must conform to His schedule.
13:28 Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.
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.
13:30 He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.
and it was night.- This phrase is more than a time marker.
Judas stepped out of the presence of the eternal Light, into eternal darkness. cp. Jude 1:12,13
13:31 Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said,
Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
13:32 If God be glorified in him,
God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.
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.
{7:34}
13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another
{constantly};
as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
13:35 By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another.
therefore...- Now that Judas had departed, the Lord was free to fully express His heart. [GWms]
now is the Son of man glorified...-
- - Christ glorified the Father in His earthly life and death. cp. 12:27,28; 17:4
- - The Father glorified the Son in resurrection and exaltation. 17:5; Heb 1:3; 1Pet 3:22
little children...- Hear His tender love for His own.
He could not address them in this way when Judas was present.
where I go ye cannot come.- He was going to the cross. cp. 16:16-22
He must suffer there alone, in sorrows beyond our comprehension.
Yet, He takes time to prepare His children for His absence, and to comfort them in their lesser sorrows.
a new commandment... that ye love one another...-
How is His commandment "new"? Because He gave us a new standard of love:
The OT Law commands: "love thy neighbor as thyself." Lev 19:18
The Law of Christ commands: "love... as I have loved you." (ie., with a love beyond love of self).
by this shall all men know...(v.35) - Christ like love is a mark of the true disciple of Christ.
(See 17:21 for another mark of the Christian.)
[Tertullian recorded the following report made by spies sent by the Roman government to assess the danger posed by Christians to the empire. Paraphrased by McGee]
"These Christians are very strange people. They meet together in an empty room to worship. They do not have an image. They speak of One by the name of Jesus, who is absent, but whom they seem to be expecting at any time. And my, how thy love Him, and how they love one another."
To our shame, the world is often distracted from Christ, by our lack of love for one another. cp. Gal 5:15
The flesh cannot produce Christ like love. Gal 5:16,17,22
Christ's commandment is also "new" because, in Him, we have a new enabling to fulfill it. cp. 1Joh 2:7-11
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.
Jesus was going to the cross.
Peter would eventually be martyred on a cross, but not at this time. 21:18,19; 2Pet 1:14
13:37 Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now?
I will lay down my life for thy sake.
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.
I will lay down my life for thy sake.- Peter was not alone in this claim. Mat 26:35
He had good intentions, but lacked the ability to follow through.
He placed his confidence in his flesh, and failed. cp. Mark 14:38; 2Cor 12:9,10
denied- GK= (ap)arneomai, to disown (utterly), to renounce (utterly).
[Some GK texts contain the word variation shown in parenthesis (...) above.]
Peter was in dangerous territory. Luk 12:9
But he had a merciful Savior, who knew both his heart's desire and his weakness. Luk 22:31,32


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