Bible Commentaries
John 13

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Jesus Washed His Disciples Feet John Thirteen

Jesus shared a meal with His disciples just before His death. Jesus washing the feet of the disciples was the high light of what took place at the meal. The Devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son to betray Jesus. During the meal Jesus arose, removed His outer garment and wrapped a towel around His waist. He put some water into a large bowl. Then he began washing His disciples' feet and He dried them with the towel. At first Peter objected to Jesus washing his feet because he did not understand what was taking place. Jesus was a servant before He became a sacrifice for the sins of the world. Jesus wanted those disciples and us to learn to serve others. He was giving an example of His "new commandment" to truly love one another. He said, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." ( Joh_13:34-35 )

Jesus washed their feet but He told them that they were not all clean. One of them would betray Him. He knew that Judas was the traitor! He allowed Judas to know that He already recognized his as traitor by giving him the dipped morsel of bread. It is strange but even after Jesus said and did this the other disciples did not realize that Judas was the guilty one. They thought Jesus was just sending Judas on some mission to get what they needed for the feast or to do something for the poor. After Judas left the apostles Jesus talked to the other about His glorification, about His death and about the depth of Divine love. What God has done in and through Jesus Christ shows the depth of God’s love for mankind. Jesus also told Peter that He would deny Him three times before sunrise. Let us focus on Divine love and serve God faithfully.

Verses 1-20

Jesus washed the feet of His disciples -- Joh_13:1-20 : The time was just before Passover. Jesus knew that the time of His death was at hand. He would soon leave this world and return to the Father. Jesus had loved His disciples and He just kept on loving them and teaching them to the end. Sadly, the Devil had caused Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to decide to betray Jesus. Jesus used this occasion to show the disciples how that service comes before sacrifice. He did a servants work by washing the disciple's feet. He washed their feet and dried them with the towel He was wearing. At first Peter refused to allow the Lord to wash his feet. He said, "You will never wash my feet!" Jesus said either I wash you or you do not belong to me. Peter then went to the other extreme and said, "Lord, don't wash just my feet. Wash my hands and my head." These men must have washed and prepared for the Passover. ( Exo_12:11 ) Jesus knew they had bathed and were clean except for their feet. He told them that one of the disciples was not clean spiritually. Jesus, their Master and Lord had washed their feet. Jesus wanted the disciples to learn to prefer others better than self. The true glory of a Christian consists in being humble like the Lord. True happiness consists in the knowing God and in obedience to His will. Jesus applied Psa_41:9 to what was taking place with Judas, "Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me." Jesus gave the disciples many predictions of His death, burial and resurrection as proof that He is the all-knowing Messiah. We must willingly accept the message sent by the Messiah through the apostles.

Verses 21-30

Jesus predicted His betrayal -- Joh_13:21-30 : Jesus was deeply troubled in heart as He told the disciples that one of them would betray Him. In fact Judas had already betrayed Jesus and he was looking for the opportunity to deliver him up to the hands of the chief priests. The disciples were confused and started looking one to another. Surprisingly, none even suspected Judas. As they ate John was leaning on Jesus' bosom. Simon motioned for that disciple to find out which disciple Jesus was referring to. It is likely that the other disciples did not hear when Jesus said, "It is he to whom I shall give the morsel when I have dipped it." Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Jesus told Judas to go quickly and do what he had to do. The disciples did not understand what Jesus meant. They thought Judas was being sent to get something to prepare for the feast or to help the poor. Judas went out and it was night. He did his work under the cover of darkness.

Verses 31-35

Jesus gave a “New Commandment” -- Joh_13:31-35 : Jesus had already been glorified by coming to provide man with his only means of redemption. He would soon be glorified even more through His death, burial, resurrection and ascension back to heaven. Then, after His sacrifice God is given glory because of Him. Jesus again spoke to His disciples about His death for the sins of the world. "My children, I will be with you for a little while longer. Then you will look for me, but you won't find me. I tell you just as I told the people, "You cannot go where I am going." The end of Jesus' life was at hand; Judas had gone to consummate his treason. Before Jesus' death He gave a "New Commandment." "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." ( Joh_13:34-35 ) It was a new commandment because we are to love as He loved. He called upon us to love enough to lay down our lives for each other. We are to love one another with pure hearts fervently. "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently." ( 1Pe_1:22 )

Verses 36-38

Jesus said Peter would deny Him -- Joh_13:36-38 : Simon Peter asked the Lord where He was going. Jesus told Peter that he could not go with Him now but that he would later on. Peter did not have a faith strong enough to die for Jesus yet. It is also true that the work the Lord had for Peter to do had not been completed yet. Later Peter would suffer for Jesus sake. He would die in the defence of truth. Peter was willing to follow Jesus on a long journey and face whatever hazards the journey might bring. Peter though he was willing to die for Jesus, However, Jesus had to die for Peter before Peter became willing to die for him. Jesus spoke to Peter saying, "I tell you for certain that before a rooster crows, you will say three times that you don't even know me." Peter did exactly what Jesus predicted. There is no justification for Peter's actions but we cannot help but feel sorry for him.

Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on John 13". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". 2014.