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Bible Commentaries
John 13

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

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The Synoptics integrate Jesus’ ministry to the masses and His training of the Twelve, but John separated these two aspects of His ministry. There is obviously some overlapping in the fourth Gospel, but the present section contains ministry that Jesus directed almost exclusively to the Twelve. The Synoptics contain more of Jesus’ teaching of the Twelve during His public ministry whereas John gave us more of His teaching in the upper room. This instruction was specifically to prepare the Twelve for leadership in the church. Jesus gave it after Israel’s official and final rejection of Him resulted in the postponement of the messianic kingdom.

In the first major section of this Gospel Jesus customarily performed a miracle and then explained its significance. In this section He did the reverse. He explained the significance of His death and then went to the cross and arose from the dead.

Verse 1

This verse contradicts the Synoptic accounts of the Passover (e.g., Mark 14:12) only if it introduces everything in chapters 13-17. Evidently it introduces only the account of foot-washing that follows.

"As the first Passover had been the turning point in the redemption of the people of God, so the Cross would be the opening of a new era for believers." [Note: Tenney, "John," p. 135.]

The word "world" (Gr. cosmos) is an important one in this section of the Gospel where it appears about 40 times (ch. 13-17). The world represents the mass of lost humanity out of which Jesus has called His disciples and from which He would depart shortly when He returned to heaven. Jesus loved His own who believed on Him who would remain in the world. He loved them to the end (Gr. eis telos) or utmost, the demonstration of which was His sacrificial death on the cross. "The end" can also refer to the end of Jesus’ earthly life, though this interpretation seems less fitting.

Jesus’ realization that His hour had come (John 12:23) led Him to prepare His disciples for that hour and what it would mean for them. The double emphasis on love sets the tone for the whole Upper Room Discourse.

Verses 1-11

The act of foot-washing 13:1-11

"In the Synoptic account of the events of this evening we read of a dispute among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. John does not record this, but he tells of an action of Jesus that rebuked their lack of humility more strikingly than any words could have done." [Note: Morris, p. 544.]

The emphasis in John 13:1-3 is on what the Lord knew, and in John 13:4-5 it is on what He did.

Verses 1-20

1. Jesus’ washing of the disciples’ feet 13:1-20

Jesus began His farewell address (cf. Moses, Deuteronomy 31-33; Joshua, Joshua 23-24; Paul, Acts 20) with an object lesson.

Verses 1-30

A. The Last Supper 13:1-30

Jesus concluded each of His prolonged stays and ministries in a district with an important meal.

"At the first ’Supper,’ [i.e., the feeding of the 5,000, at the end of the Galilean ministry, mainly to Jews] the Jewish guests would fain have proclaimed Him Messiah-King; at the second [i.e., the feeding of the 4,000, at the end of the Decapolis ministry, mainly to Gentiles], as ’the Son of Man,’ He gave food to those Gentile multitudes which having been with Him those days, and consumed all their victuals during their stay with him, He could not send away fasting, lest they should faint by the way. And on the last occasion [i.e., the Last Supper, the Judean ministry, to the Twelve], as the true Priest and Sacrifice, He fed His own with the True Paschal Feast, ere He sent them forth alone into the wilderness. Thus the three ’Suppers’ seem connected, each leading up, as it were, to the other." [Note: Edersheim, 2:63.]

John recorded more of what Jesus said and did in the upper room than any of the other Gospel evangelists. Much of this was a discourse on the disciples’ future. Jesus prefaced this instruction with other lessons for them.

John’s description of the time of the Last Supper seems to conflict with that of the Synoptics. They present it as happening on Thursday evening, but many students of the fourth Gospel have interpreted John as locating it on Wednesday evening (John 13:1; John 13:27; John 18:28; John 19:14; John 19:31; John 19:36; John 19:42). Resolution of the apparent contradictions that these seven verses pose will follow in the exposition of them. The Last Supper was a Passover meal that took place on Thursday evening.

John’s omission of the institution of the Lord’s Supper has disturbed some readers of the fourth Gospel, especially sacramentalists, those who believe that the sacraments have some part in salvation. We can only suggest that John did so because the earlier Gospels contained full accounts of it, and he wished to record new material rather than repeating. Obviously John did not record many other things that his fellow evangelists chose to include. Each evangelist chose his material in view of his distinctive purpose.

Verse 2

The supper (Gr. deipnon) in view was the evening meal (John 13:30). It was a Passover meal. Jesus evidently washed the disciples’ feet just after the meal had been served (John 13:4; John 13:26). The fact that Jesus washed Judas’ feet after Judas had determined to betray Him shows the greatness of His love (John 13:1). John’s reference to Satan’s role in Judas’ decision heightens the point even further.

Verses 3-5

Jesus washed the disciple’s feet fully aware of His authority from the Father, His divine origin, and His divine destiny. John’s mention of this awareness stresses Jesus’ humility and love still further. Washing feet in such a situation was the role of the most menial of servants (cf. John 1:27). [Note: Carson, The Gospel . . ., p. 462; Beasley-Murray, p. 233.] Here Jesus reversed normal roles and assumed the place of a servant rather than that of a rabbi. His act demonstrated love (John 13:1), provided a model of Christian conduct (John 13:12-17), and symbolized cleansing (John 13:6-9). Jesus even dressed Himself as a slave (cf. Philippians 2:6-7; 1 Peter 5:5). His humble service would take Him even to death on the cross (Philippians 2:8). Normally a servant would have been present to perform this task, but there were none present in the upper room since it was a secret meal. The disciples did not want to wash each other’s feet since they had just been arguing about which of them was the greatest (Luke 22:24).

"We today, just like the disciples that night, desperately need this lesson on humility. The church is filled with a worldly spirit of competition and criticism as believers vie with one another to see who is the greatest. We are growing in knowledge, but not in grace (see 2 Peter 3:18). ’Humility is the only soil in which the graces root,’ wrote Andrew Murray. [Note: Wiersbe, 1:345.]

Verses 6-7

Most of the disciples remained silent as Jesus washed their feet, but Peter could not refrain from objecting. The Greek construction of what he said stresses the contrast between Jesus and himself. Jesus encouraged Peter to submit to having his feet washed with the promise that he would understand later why Jesus was washing them (cf. John 13:12-20). As the disciples did not understand that Jesus would die, they did not understand either the lessons that led up to His death. They would understand after He arose and the Holy Spirit enlightened their minds.

Verses 8-9

This promise did not satisfy Peter who objected to Jesus’ act in the strongest terms. Peter viewed the situation as totally unacceptable socially. Jesus’ replied on the spiritual and symbolic level. He was speaking of spiritual cleansing, as the context clarifies. Peter understood Him to be speaking on the physical level. If failure to submit to Jesus’ washing meant the termination of their relationship, Peter was willing to submit to a more thorough cleansing. Peter’s words reflect his impetuous nature and his high regard for Jesus as well as his failure to understand and his self-will.

Verses 10-11

Jesus distinguished the two types of spiritual cleansing that believers experience, forensic and family forgiveness. When a person believes in Jesus as Savior, God removes all the guilt of that person for sins committed in the past, present, and future (cf. Romans 5:1; Romans 8:1; et al.). Jesus spoke of this forensic or legal forgiveness as a total bath (Gr. louo). After a person believes in Jesus as Savior, he or she commits sins and those sins hinder the believer’s fellowship with God (cf. Matthew 6:12; Matthew 6:14-15; Luke 11:4; et al.). Jesus compared this family forgiveness to washing (Gr. nipto) the feet, which become dirty while walking through life. Therefore Jesus was illustrating the importance of believers obtaining spiritual cleansing from God periodically when He washed the disciples’ feet. We obtain this cleansing by confessing our sins to God (1 John 1:9; cf. 1 John 2:24; 1 John 5:13). The basis for both types of forgiveness is Jesus’ work on the cross.

Another view is that Jesus was referring to the daily consecration of the disciple’s life to a service of love, following Christ’s example. [Note: Edersheim, 2:500.] A third view is that the foot-washing was symbolic of the complete cleansing that had already taken place or would take place. This last view less probable since Jesus said that Peter already had experienced a spiritual bath but still needed his feet washed.

The unclean disciple was Judas who had not believed that Jesus was God’s Son. Jesus’ washing Judas’ feet, therefore, was not a lesson in believers’ securing spiritual cleansing but an offer of initial cleansing for him. There is nothing in the text that would warrant the conclusion that Jesus omitted washing Judas’ feet.

Verse 12

Jesus now returned to His role as the disciples’ teacher, which His change of clothing and physical position indicated. He began to explain the significance of what He had done, though full comprehension would come to the disciples later (John 13:7). His question prepared them for the lesson that followed.

Verses 12-20

The explanation of foot-washing 13:12-20

Verse 13

"Teacher" translates the Hebrew "Rabbi" (Gr. didaskalos) and "Lord," the Aramaic "Mari" (Gr. kyrios). The title "Lord" took on deeper meaning after the Resurrection as Christians began to understand better who Jesus is (cf. John 20:28; Acts 2:36; Philippians 2:9-11). Both titles were respectful and acknowledged Jesus’ superiority over His disciples.

Verses 14-15

Jesus had given the Twelve a lesson in humble service of one another. Specifically He took a lower role than theirs for their welfare. Similarly Jesus’ disciples should willingly and happily put meeting the needs of others before maintaining their own prestige (cf. Philippians 2:1-11).

"The world asks, ’How many people work for you?’ but the Lord asks, ’For how many people do you work?’" [Note: Wiersbe, 1:347.]

Some Christians believe that Jesus’ command here is binding on the church in a literal sense. They practice foot-washing as an ordinance of the church along with water baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The Grace Brethren and certain Mennonite churches, among others, view foot-washing as a third ordinance. Most Christians believe that Jesus meant that His disciples should follow His example of serving humbly rather than specifically washing each other’s feet. Nowhere else in the New Testament do its writers treat foot-washing as another ordinance. 1 Timothy 5:10 speaks of it as an example of humble service, not as an ordinance of the church. Moreover the attitude of humility that disciples should have toward one another was Jesus’ point, not simply the performance of a ritual (cf. John 15:20; Matthew 10:24; Luke 6:40). Furthermore Jesus called foot-washing an example (Gr. hypodeigma, pattern) implying that there are other examples of the same attitude. This was an appropriate example of humble service in a culture where people wore sandals and soiled their feet easily. If Jesus were giving an example in modern North American culture, He probably would have selected another humble act.

Verse 16

Jesus again introduced a statement with a strong asseveration to indicate its importance. He put it in the form of an aphorism (cf. John 15:20; Matthew 10:24; Luke 6:40; Luke 22:37). An aphorism is a concise definition or statement of a principle. By common consent slaves occupy an inferior role to that of their masters, and messengers (Gr. apostolos) do the same to those who send them. This, by the way, is the only occurrence of apostolos in the fourth Gospel. Jesus was contrasting roles, not essential worth. His point was that no disciple of His should think it beneath him or her to serve others since He, the master and sender, had humbled Himself to serve.

Jesus had repeatedly referred to the fact that the Father had sent Him and that He had come from the Father. Likewise He would send the disciples (John 20:21).

Verse 17

Knowing what one ought to do and really doing it are frequently two different things. Jesus promised God’s favor on those who practice humble service, not on those who simply realize that they should be humble (cf. John 8:31; John 12:47-48; Hebrews 12:14; James 1:22-25). This is one of only two beatitudes in John’s Gospel (cf. John 20:29).

"There is a form of religious piety that utters a hearty ’Amen!’ to the most stringent demands of discipleship, but which rarely does anything about them." [Note: Carson, The Gospel . . ., p. 469.]

Verses 18-19

Again Jesus limited what He had said to those disciples who truly believed on Him (John 13:10; cf. John 6:71; John 12:4; John 13:2). He made this statement so that when the disciples would later remember His words they would not think that He had been mistaken about Judas. Instead they would believe that Jesus was "I am," connoting deity (Exodus 3:14; Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 43:10; cf. John 8:24; John 8:28; John 8:58). He wanted the disciples to believe His claims before His crucifixion apparently invalidated them and before His resurrection confirmed them.

Jesus chose Judas as one of the Twelve to fulfill Psalms 41:9. The Son of David experienced treason from a close friend as the original David had. Perhaps the betrayer of David in view was Ahithophel, who also committed suicide (2 Samuel 15:12; 2 Samuel 16:15-23; 2 Samuel 17:3-4; 2 Samuel 17:14; 2 Samuel 17:23). Betrayal by one who had received table hospitality was especially heinous in the ancient Near East. Lifting up the heel against someone was probably a way of saying that one had walked out on his friend. [Note: Bruce, pp. 287, 296, footnote 14.] Other possibilities are that the expression derived from the lifting up of a horse’s hoof preparatory to kicking, [Note: Tasker, p. 161.] or it alluded to shaking off the dust from the feet (cf. Luke 9:5; Luke 10:11). [Note: Morris, p. 553.]

Verse 20

Another strong asseveration underlined the statement that followed. In view of Jesus’ claim to be the "I am," the disciples needed to appreciate that they enjoyed an intimate relationship with Jesus as His messengers. This relationship was similar to the one that Jesus enjoyed with His Father (cf. John 5:19). Jesus was preparing them for the Great Commission (John 20:21; cf. John 13:16). He was also warning Judas of the greatness of the sin that he anticipated committing.

Verses 21-22

The prospect of His imminent betrayal and death upset Jesus visibly (Gr. etarachthe, cf. John 11:33; John 12:27). Clearly the Twelve had not understood that one of them would betray Him (cf. Matthew 26:21-22; Mark 14:18-19; Luke 22:21-23). Judas had been a successful hypocrite. Jesus’ solemn announcement now forced Judas to act quickly or to repent.

Verses 21-30

2. Jesus’ announcement of His betrayal 13:21-30 (cf. Matthew 26:21-25; Mark 14:18-21; Luke 22:21-23)

Jesus had spoken only briefly about His betrayal until now (cf. John 6:70; John 13:10; John 13:18). Now He gave the Twelve more specific information.

Verse 23

This is John’s first reference to himself as the beloved disciple (cf. John 19:26-27; John 20:2-9; John 21:1; John 21:20-25; Mark 14:47; Mark 14:51). He enjoyed an intimate relationship with Jesus similar to the one Jesus enjoyed with His Father (cf. John 1:18). John was not claiming that Jesus loved him more than the other disciples by describing himself this way. Rather the description reveals his appreciation for God’s grace in loving him as He did. He focused the reader’s attention on Jesus more forcefully by omitting his own name.

"Like the other John at the very beginning of the Gospel, the first witness to Jesus, he is only a voice. The identity of the speaker does not matter: what matters is the witness that he gives." [Note: L. Newbigin, The Light Has Come: An Exposition of the Fourth Gospel, p. xiii.]

"It was customary to sit at most meals. Reclining at table, a hellenistic custom, was reserved for special meals. When first introduced into the Jewish world, it was probably a sign of extreme decadence (Amos 6:4-7), but by New Testament times it was normal at important banquets and feasts, and therefore was virtually required at the Passover celebration, almost as a mark of unhurried celebration and freedom, in self-conscious contrast with the haste with which the first Passover was eaten on the night of the exodus (Exodus 12:11; cf. B. Pesahim 108a; NewDocs 1. § 1; 2. § 26). In short, the posture of Jesus and his men is a small indicator that they were in fact eating the Passover meal . . ." [Note: Carson, The Gospel . . ., p. 473. "B. Pesahim" refers to the Pesahim section of The Babylonian Talmud, and "NewDocs" is an abbreviation for G. H. R. Horsley, New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity, vols. 1 and 2, sections 2 and 26 respectively.]

Verses 24-25

Evidently Peter was somewhere across the table from Jesus. He was unable to ask Jesus privately to identify the betrayer. John must have reclined on his left elbow immediately to Jesus’ right. By leaning back against Jesus’ chest John could have whispered his request quietly. Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper is a masterful painting, but it does not represent the table arrangement as it would have existed in the upper room.

Verse 26

Jesus identified Judas as the betrayer to John. The morsel or piece of bread (Gr. psomion) was probably a piece of unleavened bread that Jesus had dipped into the bowl of paschal stew. Passover participants normally did this early in the meal. The host would sometimes do this and pass a morsel of bread and meat to an honored guest. Jesus did this to Judas. He would then hand each person present a morsel. [Note: Edersheim, 2:506.]

Judas must have sat near enough to Jesus for Jesus to do this conveniently (cf. Matthew 26:25). Possibly Judas reclined to Jesus’ immediate left. If he did, this would have put him in the place of the honored guest, immediately to the host’s left. [Note: See ibid., 2:493-95, for a description and a diagram of the probable seating arrangement.]

Perhaps it was the apparently high honor that Jesus bestowed on Judas by extending the morsel to him first that counteracted what Jesus had just said to John about the betrayer. Could Jesus really mean that the disciple who was the guest of honor would betray Him? This apparent contradiction may explain John’s lack of response to Jesus’ words to him about the betrayer.

Jesus’ act of friendship to Judas triggered Judas’ betrayal of Jesus’ friendship. [Note: Blum, p. 321.] This was Jesus’ final gesture of supreme love for Judas (cf. John 13:1).

Only Matthew recorded Judas’ hypocritical question, "Surely it is not I, Rabbi?" and Jesus’ reply, "You have said it yourself" (Matthew 26:25).

Verse 27

Judas accepted Jesus’ food but not His love. Instead of repenting, Judas continued to resist. This resistance opened the way for Satan to take control of him in a stronger way than he had done previously (cf. John 3:16-19). Evidently Satan himself rather than just one of his demonic assistants gained control of Judas. This is the only mention of Satan by name in this Gospel.

Undoubtedly Satan took control because he wanted to destroy Jesus. We should not conclude that Satan necessarily or directly controls everyone who opposes God’s will. Judas’ case was particularly significant in view of the situation. The text does not use the term "possession" to describe Satan’s relationship to Judas, but certainly his influence on the traitor must have been very strong.

The opportunity for repentance had passed due to persistence in unbelief. Therefore Jesus did not appeal to Judas to change his mind but to get on with his evil work "quickly" (Gr. tacheion). Jesus’ hour had come, and it was essential that Judas not thwart God’s plan by delaying.

The Gospels do not clarify whether or not Jesus selected Judas as one of His disciple knowing that he would betray Him. The answer lies in the mysterious realm of the God-man’s knowledge, part of which He gave up in the Incarnation (Philippians 2:5-7). At least one conservative scholar believed that Jesus chose Judas not knowing that he would betray Him. [Note: Edersheim, 2:503.]

Verse 28

No one present knew what Jesus meant when He told Judas to do what he had to do quickly. John must have known that Judas was the betrayer, but even he did not know that Jesus was referring here to Judas’ arrangements to betray Him.

"There is nothing in the narrative to show that Jesus meant that betrayal was imminent. From all that has been said so far it may well have been far in the future." [Note: Morris, p. 558.]

Verse 29

The fact that Judas was the treasurer of the Twelve shows that the other disciples trusted him implicitly. He was a consummate hypocrite. Jesus’ trust of him shows the Savior’s grace.

The feast in view (John 13:29) must have been the feast of Unleavened Bread that followed Passover immediately since Jesus and the Twelve were then celebrating the Passover. Giving alms to the poor was a common practice in Jerusalem on Passover evening. [Note: J. Jeremias, The Eucharistic Words of Jesus, p. 54.]

Verse 30

Judas obeyed Jesus’ command (John 13:27) and left the upper room immediately. He missed most of the meal including the institution of the Lord’s Supper. John’s reference to it being night would be redundant if all he wanted to do was give a time reference. In view of his light and darkness motif, it seems that he wanted to point out the spiritual significance of Judas’ departure both for Judas and for Jesus (cf. Luke 22:53; John 1:4-5; et al.).

"As the Light of the world was about to depart and return to the Father, the darkness had come at last (cf. Luke 22:53). Again the contrast in imagery is clear. For John, Jesus is the Light of the world, and those who believe in Him come to the light and walk in the light. At the opposite extreme is Judas Iscariot, who rejected Jesus, cast in his lot with the powers of darkness, departed into the darkness, and was swallowed up by it." [Note: Harris, p. 204.]

"Judas was enveloped in an unilluminated night, never to be relieved. He was on the way to his own place (Acts 1:25)." [Note: Beasley-Murray, p. 239.]

Verses 31-32

Judas’ departure to meet with the chief priests signaled the beginning of the Son of Man’s glorification, which John recorded Jesus as consistently regarding as beginning with His arrest (cf. John 12:23). Note the Savior’s positive, albeit troubled, attitude toward the events that lay before Him (John 13:21). The title "Son of Man" unites the ideas of suffering and glory, as mentioned previously. This is the last of 12 occurrences of this title in John’s Gospel.

"In its general usage it is the title of the incarnate Christ who is the representative of humanity before God and the representative of deity in human life." [Note: Tenney, "John," p. 141.]

Jesus explained that His glorification would mean glory for the Father who would glorify the Son. Thus Jesus continued to stress His unity with the Father to help His disciples appreciate both His individual identity and His essential deity. The disciples would not have to wait long to see the Son’s glory.

How did Jesus glorify the Father? He explained how later: by finishing the work the Father gave Him to do (John 17:4). That is also how we glorify the Father.

Verses 31-33

B. The Upper Room Discourse 13:31-16:33

Judas’ departure opened the way for Jesus to prepare His true disciples for what lay ahead for them. This teaching was for committed disciples only. Some writers have noted that in the Old Testament, as well as in ancient Near Eastern literature generally, the farewell sayings of famous individuals receive much attention (cf. Genesis 47:29 to Genesis 49:33; Joshua 23-24; 1 Chronicles 28-29). [Note: E.g., A. Lacomara, "Deuteronomy and the Farewell Discourse (John 13:31-16:33)," Catholic Biblical Quarterly 36 (1974):65-84.] This discourse preserves Jesus’ last and most important instructions in the fourth Gospel. One significant difference is that in His "farewell discourse" Jesus promised to return again (John 14:1-3).

Verses 31-35

1. The new commandment 13:31-35

Jesus began His instructions with His disciples’ most important responsibility.

Verse 33

Glorification for Jesus involved temporary separation from His believing disciples. Jesus used a tender term for His disciples that showed His strong affection for them as members of His family. "Little children" (Gr. teknia, dear children) occurs only here in the fourth Gospel, but John used it seven times in 1 John mirroring Jesus’ compassionate spirit (1 John 2:1; 1 John 2:12; 1 John 2:28; 1 John 3:7; 1 John 3:18; 1 John 4:4; 1 John 5:21; cf. Galatians 4:19). Death and ascension to heaven would separate Jesus from them.

Verse 34

Having announced their inevitable separation, Jesus now began to explain what He expected of His disciples during their absence from Him. They were to love one another as He had loved them. They had seen His love for them during His entire earthly ministry and most recently in His washing of their feet, but they would only understand its depth through the Cross.

The command to love one another was not completely new (1 John 2:7-8), but in the Mosaic Law the standard was "as you love yourself" (Leviticus 19:18). Now there was a new and higher standard, namely, "as I have loved you." It was also a new (Gr. kainen, fresh rather than different) commandment in that it was part of a new covenant that Jesus would ratify with His blood (Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25). In that covenant God promised to enable His people to love by transforming their hearts and minds (Jeremiah 31:29-34; Ezekiel 36:24-26). It is only by God’s transforming grace that believers can love one another as Jesus has loved us. The Greek words for "love" appear only 12 times in John 1-12, but in chapters 13-21 we find them 44 times.

Verse 35

That supernatural love would distinguish disciples of Jesus. Love for one another would mark them off as His disciples. It is possible to be a disciple of Jesus without demonstrating much supernatural love. However that kind of love is what bears witness to a disciple’s connection with Jesus and thereby honors Him (cf. 1 John 3:10-23; John 4:7-16). John’s first epistle is really an exposition of the themes that Jesus set forth in the upper room discourse. [Note: See John R. Yarid Jr., "John’s Use of the Upper Room Discourse in First John" (Ph.D. dissertation, Dallas Theological Seminary, 2002).] Every believer manifests some supernatural love since the loving God indwells him or her (1 John 3:14). However, it is possible to quench and to grieve the indwelling Spirit so that we do not manifest much love (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:19; Ephesians 4:30).

Jesus taught His disciples to love their enemies in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:43-47). Here He taught us to love one another. These instructions do not contradict one another or present two different standards. They simply point in different directions.

Verse 36

Peter returned to the subject of Jesus’ departure (John 13:33; John 8:21). He was unclear about where Jesus meant He would go. Jesus did not answer him unambiguously, probably because such an answer would have created even more serious problems for him. It was not God’s will for Peter to follow Jesus through death into heaven then, but it would be later (John 21:18-19). Jesus’ answer implied that Peter had asked his question so he could accompany Jesus wherever He was going. Peter’s statement was an indirect expression of affection for and commitment to Jesus.

Verses 36-38

2. Peter’s profession of loyalty 13:36-38 (cf. Matthew 26:31-35; Mark 14:27-31; Luke 22:31-34)

Peter next declared his love for Jesus indirectly.

Verses 37-38

Peter resisted the idea of a separation from Jesus. He felt willing even to die with Him if necessary rather than being parted from Him. Nevertheless Peter grossly underestimated his own weakness and what Jesus’ death entailed. Peter spoke of laying down his life for Jesus, but ironically Jesus would first lay down His life for Peter (cf. John 10:11; John 10:15; John 11:50-52). Peter’s boast betrayed reliance on the flesh. Perhaps he protested so strongly to assure the other disciples that he was not the betrayer about whom Jesus had spoken earlier (John 13:21).

"Sadly, good intentions in a secure room after good food are far less attractive in a darkened garden with a hostile mob. At this point in his pilgrimage, Peter’s intentions and self-assessment vastly outstrip his strength." [Note: Carson, The Gospel . . ., p. 486.]

Mark recorded that Jesus mentioned the cock crowing twice, but the other evangelists wrote that He just mentioned the cock crowing (Matthew 26:34; Mark 14:30; Luke 22:34). Mark’s reference was more specific, and the others were more general.

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 13". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/john-13.html. 2012.
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