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Bible Commentaries
John 13

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


It was now the day before. McGarvey says this is Thursday, April 6, 30 A.D. [by the corrected calendar]. This was to be the last night of Jesus’ life. Jesus knew that his hour had come. This introduces the remaining part of John’s Gospel. John emphasizes the LOVE which motivated Christ.

Verse 2


Were at supper. The supper has just been served, and they are ready to begin eating. The Expositor’s Greek Testament says: “Feet-washing, pleasant and customary before a meal, would have been disagreeable and out of place in the course of it.” Jesus rose from the table, washed the feet, then sat down again to the supper. [Supper = feast, banquet, main meal.] The Devil had already decided. But Judas had volunteered for the job.

Verse 3


Complete power. John mentions this to point out that Jesus fully knew who and what he was, as he washes their feet.

Verses 4-5


So Jesus rose from the table. No word of explanation! Something is unusual here! This is not some new rite, but a deep spiritual lesson. (1) The disciples expected the immediate creation of the Kingdom, That is, they thought Jesus would declare himself King, and they would be high ranking government officials. Each wanted to be the most important (see Luke 22:24-30). (2) They had removed their sandals, and sat at the table with dry and dusty feet. But no one of them would volunteer to wash their feet, because in their self-pride, each thought he was better than the other. (3) While they sit, full of pride and envy, obsessed with their desire to be number one: Jesus, the Son of God, their Lord, gets up and does for them what they will not do for each other. Jesus acted out what he had already told them: “The leader must be like the servant. “ [Remember that they are already ritually pure (John 11:55).]

Verse 6


Are you going to wash my feet, Lord? You??? The others sit in amazed silence!

Verse 8


You will never! He cannot allow his Lord to do such a thing! If I do not. This implies a deeper spiritual meaning. Compare Revelation 1:5-6.

Verse 10


Whoever has taken a bath. Compare note on John 11:55. They had all made themselves ritually clean. Except for his feet. Their feet were dusty from walking. [Johnson sees in this: “He who is once cleansed by the blood of Christ only needs, after this, to come to Christ for partial cleansing; for the forgiveness of the special sins that make him unclean.” Compare 1 John 1:7-10.]

Verse 12


Do you understand? Jesus had used an ordinary thing, a custom, to teach them. He asks this question to point out the fact that they must look for some unusual meaning in what he has just done.

Verses 13-14


You call me Teacher and Lord. The disciple should not be ashamed to do what his Lord has done. Should wash each other’s feet. “Be eager to show respect for one another” (Romans 12:10).

Verse 15


I have set an example for you. Not a rite, but an example! They are to be eager to show respect to each other, in a humble, loving spirit. To be the greatest, forget yourself and serve others!

Verse 17


If you put it into practice! That is, if you understand the lesson I have acted out for you, and will always show this spirit in your conduct.

Verse 18


I am not talking about all of you. One is a traitor! He does not share in the blessing of John 13:17.

Verse 19


Before it happens. That is, do not let this traitor’s action destroy your faith in me. I Am Who I Am. See note on John 8:58.

Verses 21-28


He was deeply troubled. Because one of his friends was a traitor. See Psalms 41:9, which is considered a prophecy of this. On this prediction, see notes on Matthew 26:20-25. One of the disciples. This is John himself. Whom Jesus loved. John, not Peter, was the closest friend to Jesus. Who is it, Lord? No one knew the identity of the traitor. I will dip. When John saw Jesus dip the piece of bread in the sauce of bitter herbs [horseradish is commonly used], and give it to Judas, he knew who it was. Hurry up and do what you must. These events must come to their climax. Even John does not understand why Jesus says this [at that moment].

Verse 30


And went out at once. Matthew gives this order of events: (1) the Passover supper; (2) Judas revealed; (3) the Lord’s Supper. John does not tell us about the Lord’s Supper, but simply mentions Judas going out.

Verse 31


Now the Son of Man’s glory is revealed. His mission on earth is almost complete. God would be glorified in the events of the Cross.

Verse 34


A new commandment. So you must love one another. This is new because the love of Christ’s friends for Christ’s sake was [and is] a new thing in the world. It is new in kind, rather than degree. It is the kind of love which Christ has for his people.

Verse 35


Then all will know. Love [AGAPE] will identify those who are in fact his disciples! In the early centuries, unbelievers would say; “See how those Christians love one another!”

Verses 36-38


Simon Peter asked him. For notes on Peter’s denial of Christ, see Matthew 26:31-35.

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on John 13". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/john-13.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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