Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 13:20

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Faith;   Gospel;   Jesus Continued;   Judas (Jude);   Thompson Chain Reference - Verily, Verily;   The Topic Concordance - Receiving;  
Dictionaries:
Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Bread, Bread of Presence;   Holman Bible Dictionary - John, the Gospel of;   The Last Supper;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Foot;   Hospitality;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Discourse;   Hospitality;   Immortality (2);   Judas Iscariot;   Lord's Supper. (I.);   Messenger;   Mission;   Organization (2);   Upper Room (2);   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Judas;   Passover;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for November 17;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

He that received whomsoever I send - See similar words, Matthew 10:40, etc. Our Lord spoke this to comfort his disciples: he showed them that, although they should be rejected by many, they would be received by several; and that whoever received them should reap the utmost benefit by it.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 13:20". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-13.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

He that receiveth … - This sentiment is found in the instructions which Jesus gave to his disciples in Matthew 10:40. Why he repeats it at this time cannot now be known. It is certain that it is not closely connected with the subject of his conversation. Perhaps, however, it was to show how intimately united he, his Father, his apostles, and all who received them were. They who received them received him, and they who received him received God. So he who betrayed him, betrayed, for the same reason, God. Hence Judas, who was about to betray him, was also about to betray the cause of religion in the world, and to betray God and his cause. Everything pertaining to religion is connected together. A man cannot do dishonor to one of the institutions of religion without injuring all; he cannot dishonor its ministers or the Saviour without dishonoring God. And this shows that one prominent ground of the Saviour‘s solicitude was that his Father might be honored, and one source of his deep grief at the treason of Judas was that it would bring injury upon the whole cause of religion in the world.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 13:20". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-13.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

The rejection of Jesus is the rejection of God. This was a constant theme of Jesus' entire ministry, and it means that Jesus is God come in the flesh. It was probably reiterated here in the final hope that Judas might, even at that late hour, repent.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 13:20". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-13.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Verily, verily, I say unto you,.... You may assure yourselves of the truth of what I am going to say, and which I say for your comfort and encouragement:

he that receiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth me, and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me; I have sent you in my name to preach the Gospel; you are my ambassadors, and you will be honourably received by many; and which I shall regard and take notice of, and esteem, as though they had received me; even as my Father has sent me into this world, as a Saviour and Redeemer, a prophet, priest, and King; and as many as have received me, are looked upon by my Father, as having received him: in short, such as cordially receive and embrace the ministers of the Gospel, receive Christ, in whose name they come, and whom they preach; and such who receive Christ, as preached and held forth in the everlasting Gospel, receive the Father of Christ; and partake of his love, grace, and kindness, shown forth in the mission and gift of Christ to them: Christ, as Mediator, represented his Father that sent him; and the ministers of Christ represent him; so that what is done to them, either in a way of reception or rejection, he takes as done to himself: it is a common saying among the JewsF3T Bab. Beracot, fol. 34. 2. Kiddushin, fol. 41. 9. & 42. 1. & 43. 1. Bava Metzia, fol. 96. 1. , של אדם כמותו ששלוחו, "that the messenger of a man is as himself".

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on John 13:20". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-13.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

He that receiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth me, etc. — (See on Matthew 10:40). The connection here seems to be that despite the dishonor done to Him by Judas, and similar treatment awaiting themselves, they were to be cheered by the assurance that their office, even as His own, was divine.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 13:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/john-13.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Whomsoever I send (αν τινα πεμπσωan tina pempsō). More precisely, “If I send any one” (third-class condition, ανεανan = τιναean and πεμπσωtina indefinite pronoun accusative case, object of πεμπωpempsō first aorist active subjunctive of ει τιςpempō to send). This use of εαν τιςei tis or οστιςean tis (if any one) is very much like the indefinite relative ος ανhostis and εανhos an (or ει τις τελειean), but the idiom is different. In Mark 8:34. we have both ος εανei tis thelei and οτι ανhos ean while in John 14:13. we find εαν τιhoti an and ean ti (Robertson, Grammar, p. 956).

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 13:20". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-13.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

And I put my own honour upon you, my ambassadors. Matthew 10:40.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 13:20". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/john-13.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

Verily, verily1, I say unto you, he that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

  1. Verily, verily. See .

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 13:20". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-13.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Истинно, истинно. Либо здесь начинается новая речь, причем обрывочная и половинчатая, либо Христос упреждает соблазн, могущий произойти от Иудиного предательства. Ведь Евангелисты порой соединяют в один контекст не только следующие друг за другом изречения, но и предложения из разных проповедей. Хотя более вероятно, что Христос захотел уврачевать соблазн. Известно, сколь мы склонны получать раны от дурных примеров. Так отпадение одного начальствующего приносит другим смертельную печаль и угашает их веру, но стойкость десяти или двадцати благочестивых едва ли послужит назиданием хотя бы одному. Итак, Христос, предвидя это зло, вынужден был протянуть руку ученикам, дабы новое несчастье не обратило их в бегство. Христос не только имел в виду их самих, но и заботился о последующих поколениях. Ведь и нам могло серьезно повредить воспоминание об Иуде. Дьявол не способен увести нас от Христа, внушив ненависть к Его собственному учению, и хочет породить в нас презрение примером служителей Христовых. Увещевание же Христа показывает, сколь несправедливо, если нечестие некоторых, преступно обращающихся со служением, будет умалять апостольское достоинство других. Причина в том, что автором служения должен считаться Бог, в Котором мы, безусловно, не найдем ничего достойного презрения. Кроме того, Сам Христос говорит через апостолов как единственный поставленный Отцом Учитель. Значит, всякий, не желающий принимать служителей Евангелия, отвергает в них Христа, а во Христе и Самого Бога. Паписты же глупы и весьма нелепы, когда ссылаются на сей аргумент для утверждения своей тирании. Во-первых, они постоянно украшают себя чуждыми прикрасами, не имея ничего близкого к апостолам Христовым, а во-вторых, будь они даже апостолами, Христос меньше всего хотел здесь перенести Свое право на людей. Ибо что такое принимать тех, кого послал Христос, как не давать им возможность исполнить порученное служение?

 

 

 

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 13:20". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-13.html. 1840-57.

Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books

Ver. 20. "Verily, verily, I say unto you: He that receives him whom I shall send, receives me, and he that receives me, receives him that sent me."

The relation between this saying and those which precede is so far from clear that Kuinoel and Lucke proposed to consider this verse as a gloss derived from Matthew 10:40. Meyer andHengstenberg think that, in the presence of the treachery of Judas, Jesus wished to encourage His apostles by reminding them of the greatness of their mission. Baumlein says: "A fragment from a larger whole, to which perhaps the institution of the Holy Supper belonged." Luthardt and Keil place this saying in connection with the washing of the feet; the disciples must learn from Jesus to render the same service to those whom He shall send to them. But, as we have seen, the meaning of the act of washing was altogether different, and this saying is too far separated from that Acts Vv18, 19, are a simple digression occasioned by the contrast between the fate of Judas and the happiness of the faithful disciples (John 13:17). John 13:20 is immediately connected with the idea of this happiness declared in John 13:16-17. The one sent by Jesus, humble and faithful, who serves like Him, bears with him his Master, and, in His Master, God Himself. Jesus had just said: "The servant is not greater than the Master;" He now seems to say: "And he is not less great than He." To receive him is, consequently, to receive in him Jesus, and in Jesus God Himself; comp. Matthew 18:4-5, and the parallels. In Luke 22:29-30, Jesus, after having said: "Behold, I am among you as he that serves," adds: "I give you the kingdom as my Father has given it to me." To give the kingdom, in its true spiritual form—is it not to bear God in oneself and communicate Him to the one who receives you? This saying, therefore, accords perfectly, as to its meaning, with our John 13:20.

Bretschneider and Strauss regarded this story of the washing of the feet as a legendary creation which emanated from the consciousness of the Church. But, as Baur observed with respect to the resurrection of Lazarus, if such a fictitious story had been the product of the Christian consciousness and had been circulated in the Church, it could not have failed to appear also in the Synoptics. Baur therefore regards this incident as consciously invented by the evangelist to serve the moral idea. But it is difficult to explain in this way the production of so simple and life-like a scene, and especially the composition of the inimitable conversation between Jesus and Peter. EvenSchweizer has admirably brought out the stamp of historical truthfulness impressed upon this whole story. Keimthinks that Jesus would not on this evening have come so directly into collision with the feeling of the disciples. But it was a matter of inculcating upon them ineffaceably the spirit of His work and of their future mission; and this was the last moment for doing this. The omission of this incident in the Synoptics is made an objection.

Probably the institution of the Lord"s Supper, that fact of capital importance for the Church, eclipsed this one in the oral tradition relative to this last meal. Hilgenfeld surmises that the evangelist meant to substitute this narrative, imagined by him, for that of the institution of the Lord"s Supper which he designedly omitted (Einl., p. 711), as too distinctly recalling the Jewish Paschal supper. But what result could be attained by this means in the second century, when the Lord"s Supper was celebrated throughout the whole Church, unless that of rendering his Gospel liable to suspicion? The discourse directed against false greatness, which is added by Luke to the narrative of the supper, naturally implies a fact of this kind. There was nothing to prevent the author from placing the two stories in juxtaposition. The better known story would have confirmed the one which was less known. It is very evident that John desired to rescue from oblivion what the tradition had neglected, and that he omitted what was sufficiently well known and what had no particular connection with the principal aim of his work.

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Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on John 13:20". "Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsc/john-13.html.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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.

Ver. 20. Verily, verily I say, &c.] Here our Saviour seems to go on where he left, John 13:17, that between being a digression. Digressions, saith one, are not always and absolutely unlawful. (Bifield on the Colos.) God’s Spirit sometimes draws aside the doctrine to satisfy some soul, which the preacher knows not; and sparingly used, it quickeneth the attention. But God may force it, yet man may not frame it; and it is a most happy ability to speak punctually, directly to the point.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 13:20". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-13.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Lest his apostles should think that, for the treachery of one of them, they should all become odious and abominable to the world, our Saviour encourages and gives them an assurance, that there should be those that should receive them, and that would take it as kindly as if they received himself; He that receiveth you, receiveth me.

Learn hence, That it is a sweet encouragement to the ministers of Christ unto a faithful discharge of their duty, that Christ and the Father account that respect paid to the minsters of the gospel, is paid to themselves: and on the contrary, that all the contempt cast upon them, reflects upon themselves: He that receiveth you receiveth me: and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on John 13:20". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/john-13.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

20.] See Matthew 10:40. The connexion is very difficult, and variously set down.

It has been generally supposed (Euthym(175), &c.) that the words were to comfort the Apostles for the disgrace of their order by Judas, or in prospect of their future labours. But then would not ἄν τινα π. have been expressed by ὑμᾶς? Another view is to refer back to John 13:16-17, and suppose the connexion to have been broken by the allusion to Judas. But is this likely, in a discourse of our Lord? I rather believe that the saying sets forth the dignity of that office from which Judas was about to fall: q. d. ‘not only was he in close intercourse with Me (John 13:18), but invested with an ambassadorship for Me, and in Me, for the Father; and yet he will lift up his heel against Me.’ And the consideration of this dignity in all its privileges, as contrasted with the sad announcement just to be made, leads on to the ἐταράχθη τῷ πν. of the next verse.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 13:20". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-13.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

John 13:20. And for the furtherance and confirmation of this your fidelity in the faith, which, in spite of the treason arising from your midst, must not vacillate, I say to you, that ye may confidently go forward to meet your calling as my ambassadors (John 20:21). The high and blessed position of my ambassadors remains so unimpaired, that whoever accepts them accepts me, etc. The more, however, that Jesus could not but apprehend a disheartening impression from the treason on the rest of the disciples, the more earnestly ( ἀμὴν, ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμ.) does He introduce this encouragement. Comp. Calvin: Christ would “offendiculo mederi;” and Grotius: “ostendit ministeria ipsis injuncta non caritura suis solatiis.” The antithesis of the treason to the dignity of the apostolic circle (Hilgenfeld) He certainly does not mean to assert, so self-evident was this antithesis. But neither do the words serve to confirm the πιστεύσ., ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι (Ebrard); to this the first half of the verse is not appropriate, in which, indeed, Godet, without any justification, would wish to give to the simple ἐάν τινα the limiting sense: He among you, who is really my ambassador. Further: to join John 13:20 with John 13:16-17 (Lampe, Storr, Klee, Maier, Hengstenberg, comp. Brückner) is an arbitrary construction, which Kuinoel aggravates by explaining the words as a gloss from Matthew 10:40, added to John 13:16, and which subsequently entered the text in the wrong place, as Lücke also has revived the suspicion of a gloss (from Luke 9:48). The absence of connection, employed by Strauss as an argument against the originality, is external, but not in the sequence of the thought itself; and besides, the emotion and agitation of Jesus are here to be taken into consideration. Only in view of the manifest identity of the saying with that of Matthew 10:40, we are not to explain it in an essentially different sense (Luthardt explains of the sending of those needing the ministry of love to the disciples). But to drag in here the dispute about rank, which Luke 22:24 ff. places after the supper (Baeumlein), is groundless, and of no use in the way of explanation.

NOTE.

The story of the feet-washing, John 13:1-20,—after 13 retschneider, Fritzsche, and Strauss had rejected it as a mythical invention, whilst Weisse had recognised only individual portions in it as genuine,—has been justly defended by Schweizer, p. 164 ff., in conformity with its stamp of truth and originality, which throughout indicates the eye-witness; in opposition to which, Baur can only recognise a free formation out of synoptical material (see on John 13:2-5) in the service of the idea, as also Hilgenfeld, comp. Scholten. The non-mention of the occurrence in the Synoptics is explained from the fact that with them the situation is quite different, and the main point is the institution of the Supper.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 13:20". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/john-13.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 13:20. ἀμὴν, ἀμήν, verily, verily) Jesus, after having imbued His disciples, in John 13:1 and following verses, with His own disposition, and His own purity, with a view to their sanctification, now also graces them with His own authority. He who has beautiful [ ὡραίους] feet, John 13:5 [as were the disciples’ feet, when washed by Jesus]—Romans 10:15, “How beautiful ( ὡραῖοι) are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace”—and who humbles himself—John 13:14, “Ye ought to wash one another’s feet;” Matthew 18:4-5, “Whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven; and whoso shall receive one such little child in My name receiveth Me,”—the same [and he alone] can act as an ambassador of Christ, John 13:16, [for such is Christ’s own character] “The servant is not greater than his Lord.”

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 13:20". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-13.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

See Poole on "Matthew 10:24", the words of which place are but here repeated; either to commend to them brotherly love, and offices of love, which he had before recommended to them under the notion of washing one another’s feet; or else to comfort his disciples, who might think that this treacherous villany of Judas would make them odious to the whole world: No, saith our Saviour, you are my messengers, persons sent by me; I will provide for you, there shall be those who will receive you. And I declare to all the world to encourage them, that I shall take their receiving of you as kindly as if they received me, and it shall turn to the same account, and that is all one as if they had received my Father himself, for he sent me. Some think that by these words Christ aggravates the sin of Judas, as being committed against the Father as well as against Christ; and a most treacherous failure as to the duty of an apostle, or one dignified so much as to be sent out by Christ.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 13:20". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-13.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Whomsoever I send; as my minister.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 13:20". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-13.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

20.Receiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth me—The fulfilment of my prediction, in the treason of Judas, proves that your commission is from the Son of God; and the truth remains sure, that he who receiveth you whom I send, receiveth the Son of God; and receiveth the Father who sent him.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 13:20". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-13.html. 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘When Jesus had spoken thus he was troubled in spirit and testified saying, “I emphatically inform you that one of you will betray me”.’

Jesus now confirms that he knew at this point that Judas had made his final decision. That he had hardened his heart and was now beyond helping. But this was not something that was easy for Jesus to accept. He had clearly loved Judas and felt deeply betrayed. Thus His spirit was troubled within Him, and this forced out of Him the anguished words ‘one of you will betray me’. The plain truth could be held back no longer.

Betrayals, however, are of many different kinds, and there would not have dawned on the disciples either the nature of the betrayal, the closeness timewise of its occurrence, nor its dark consequences. They did not know what we know. Indeed we learn from the other Gospels that each thought that it might be him. They were thinking in terms of a slip up (like that of Peter later) rather than of a catastrophe.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 13:20". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/john-13.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Another strong asseveration underlined the statement that followed. In view of Jesus" claim to be the "I Amos," 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.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 13:20". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-13.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 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. The difficulty of tracing the connection of these words with the rest of our Lord’s discourse at this time has been felt by all commentators. Let us observe that they are introduced by ‘Verily, verily,’ and that we are thus taken back to John 13:16 with the expectation that the thought here will closely correspond, although in a deepened form, to the thought there. There, however, the distinct reference had been to that work of lowly love which ‘in the form of a servant’ Jesus had just performed for His disciples. What, therefore, He had done for them, they are now to do for one another, and for the world. Laying aside all thought of earthly preeminence, seeking only the glory of God and not their own, they are to go out, like their Master, ‘in the form of a servant,’ and in a spirit of self-sacrificing love like His to be His representatives to men. As they do so, they will experience the same reception as He had done. Some will ‘receive’ them,—that is, will not merely view with favour their general work, but will accept them when they come, and because they come, to them in the same spirit as that which Jesus had displayed in the act which He had just performed towards them. Others, it is implied, will reject them; will accept indeed the outward service, the external rite; but, yielding to the evil suggestions of Satan, and so proving themselves his children instead of the children of God, will cast away from them the precious truth of which the service and the rite were only the symbolical expression. Men will thus divide themselves into two classes which will take up towards the apostles doing the work of Jesus the same position as that which the eleven on the one hand, and Judas on the other, had now taken up towards Jesus Himself. It is important to keep this thought of Judas as well as of the others prominently in view in the verses before us. Just as John 13:1; John 13:3 constitute a parallel to John 13:19, and there is One behind Jesus who is received when Jesus is received (John 13:20), so John 13:2 constitutes a parallel to the implied thought of Judas, and there is one behind the traitor whose children the rejectors of Jesus, as He acts in the apostles, show themselves to be. Nor is this all; for, while the thought of which we speak binds the whole passage, John 13:1-20, into one, it also explains the apparently sudden transition to the powerful emotions stirred in the Redeemer’s breast by the thought of Judas at John 13:21, as well as the emphatic ‘Now’ of John 13:31,—now, when the last who would resist that true glory which consists in self-sacrificing love has been expelled. The last clause of John 13:20 is explained by chap. John 1:12.

It is desirable to pause here for a moment, and to ask as to the real meaning of the wonderful scene, the details of which we have been considering. It is not a mere lesson of humility. The lesson is far deeper. It is the completing act of that great work of self-sacrificing love in which Jesus was engaged. He even includes in the thought of it the thought of the crucifixion now so near; and, as then He shall depart unto the Father, He affords now the most touching, the culminating, illustration of the fact that ‘the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.’ That is the very essence of His glory, a glory so different from that of the world, so different even from that upon which the thoughts of His disciples were yet fixed. Therefore He humbles Himself anew. Laying aside His glory He takes up His cross, not that He may justify disciples who are already His, who are ‘clean,’ but that He may bring them ever and again to Himself the source of all true spiritual nourishment, and may wash away any fresh stains of defilement which they have contracted in their work in the world.

That is His part, What is ours? It springs from the consideration that, exalted in glory, He really labours and suffers no more. His disciples take His place and carry on His work, constantly leading one another back to Him, and washing away those weaknesses of faith, those defects of love, which their work in the world brings with it. Thus they ‘fill up what is behind of the sufferings of Christ for His body’s sake, which is the Church’ (Colossians 1:24); and it is thus only that, suffering with Him, they shall at last be glorified ‘with Him’ (John 13:8) in His glory.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 13:20". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-13.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 13:20. But lest this announcement should weaken their confidence in one another and in their own call to the Apostolate (“probabile est voluisse Christum offendiculo mederi”. Calvin) He hastens to add: [ better than ]. He gives the assurance that those whom He sends as His apostles will be identified with Himself and with God.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 13:20". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-13.html. 1897-1910.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. See the note at Matthew 10:40. The connection here seems to be that despite the dishonour done to him by Judas, and similar treatment awaiting themselves, they were to be cheered by the assurance that their office, even as His own, was divine.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 13:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-13.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(20) He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me.—The thoughts presented to their minds in the preceding verses are—(1) their mission as His servants; (2) the betrayal by one of their own number; (3) the announcement of this beforehand that in the event it may be a confirmation of their faith. They are to go forth, then, and to be content if their path is as that which their Master has trodden. They are not to be disheartened by treachery even in their midst, for this He had foreseen. The words spoken when they were called to be Apostles still hold true. Their honour and encouragement is in the fact that they are Apostles from Him, as He is an Apostle from the Father. This truth is one of those solemn utterances on which He would have them dwell, and is therefore introduced by “Verily, verily.” (Comp. Note on John 1:51.) For the words, which are exactly the same as those of the first commission, comp. Note on Matthew 10:40.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 13:20". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-13.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
He
12:44-48; Matthew 10:40-42; 25:40; Mark 9:37; Luke 9:48; 10:16; Galatians 4:14; Colossians 2:6; 1 Thessalonians 4:8
Reciprocal: Exodus 16:8 - but against;  Numbers 16:11 - against;  1 Kings 13:4 - Lay hold;  2 Kings 5:11 - went away;  2 Chronicles 20:20 - believe his;  Malachi 2:7 - the messenger;  Matthew 5:18 - verily;  Matthew 10:14 - whosoever;  Matthew 13:37 - is;  Matthew 18:5 - receiveth;  Luke 10:8 - and;  John 1:51 - Verily;  John 20:21 - as;  Acts 10:22 - and to;  Romans 14:1 - receive;  Philippians 2:29 - Receive;  Hebrews 6:10 - For;  1 John 4:6 - he that knoweth

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 13:20". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-13.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Ver. 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."

Jesus had given to His disciples the pattern of self-humiliation, and had pressingly urged them to follow that example. The expression here is directly connected with this. Vers. 18, 19 in reality bear a parenthetical character. Its position at the close of the whole transaction requires us to assume that the Lord here returns to the act from which all had started, which had been the central subject, and with which all thus closes; and that He, glancing at the treachery of Judas, would fortify the other disciples in their fidelity by a reference to the dignity of their vocation. There is no evidence whatever that the treachery of Judas would have been a temptation to the remainder of the Apostles. The son of perdition they looked upon only with amazement and grief. That the Apostles might not mistake the real dignity of their vocation, in consequence of His exhortations to humility, Christ here at the conclusion points expressly to that dignity with designed allusion to an earlier utterance, Matthew 10:40 (comp. Mark 9:37; Luke 10:16), the continued validity of which seemed to be endangered by those words of exhortation. It is to this seeming danger that the "Verily, verily, I say unto you," with its express assurance, refers. Berl. Bible: "This is said for consolation to those who must have received a severe lesson before." But we must not limit ourselves to the notion that Christ here exhibits the other side, in order to obviate misunderstanding of the lesson of humility. The two views are not placed in juxtaposition; but the consciousness of the dignity of their vocation must rather bring with it a willingness to humble themselves. He who is penetrated with the conviction that he is in the enjoyment of a divine mission, will not be ready to contend about the trivial honours of this world; he will freely surrender them to him whose worldliness of spirit finds nothing better to desire. True spiritual pre-eminence puts an end to all common ambition, and has below its feet all such questions as, whether one should wash the feet of others, or be washed. To contend about such pitiable matters is below its dignity. The Lord's word here stands in close connection with Luke 22:28-30, and finds there its commentary. Jesus, after He had commended the humble service of love and self-enunciation to His disciples by word and example (the feet-washing), now refers them to the dignity of their vocation, and shows them that they are called to high honour. That remained, notwithstanding their obligation to self-abasement; indeed, it rendered them all the more disposed to such humility. For all honour which the world could offer, would be in comparison only contemptible.

Lampe observes on "whom I shall send:" "Christ, although preparing Himself to suffer, nevertheless foresees His dignity as King of the Church; and as such He will have His legates, whom He will send." The Apostles were only the first in the great company. We have here the basis of the designation of ministers in the Apocalypse, as the angels of the Church. The principle from above is here as expressly as possible declared in relation to office in the Church. Lampe, the Reformed theologian, remarks: "The servants of God in the congregation of the Old Testament, as well the extraordinary like the prophets, as the ordinary like the priests, were regarded as sent of God. The same expression was transferred to the ministers of the New Testament, as well the extraordinary, the most eminent of whom were therefore called Apostles, as the ordinary, Romans 10:15, who therefore were called angels, Revelation 2, 3. The ἐάν τινα πέμψω is intentionally general, in order to intimate that the sending of Christ would not be restricted to the Apostles."

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 13:20". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-13.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

20.Verily, verily, I tell you. In these words either the Evangelist relates a discourse on a different subject, and in a broken and imperfect state, or, Christ intended to meet the offense which was likely to arise from the crime of Judas; for the Evangelists do not always exhibit the discourses of Christ in unbroken succession, but sometimes throw together, in heaps, a variety of statements. It is more probable, however, that Christ intended to provide against this scandal. There is too good evidence that we are very ready to be wounded by bad examples; for, in consequence of this, the revolt of one man inflicts a deadly wound on two hundred others, while the steadiness of ten or twenty pious men hardly edifies a single individual. On this account, while Christ was placing such a monster before the eyes of his disciples, it was also necessary that he should stretch out his hand to them, lest, struck by the novelty, they should fall back. Nor was it only on their account that he said this, but he also consulted the advantage of those who should come after; for, otherwise, the remembrance of Judas might, even at the present day:, do us grievous injury. When the devil cannot estrange us from Christ by hatred of his doctrine, he excites either dislike or contempt of the ministers themselves.

Now this admonition of Christ shows that it is unreasonable that the impiety of any whose conduct is wicked or unbecoming their office, should at all diminish the apostolical authority. The reason is, we ought to contemplate God, the Author of the ministry, in whom, certainly, we find nothing which we have a right to despise; and next, we ought to contemplate Christ, who, having been appointed by the Father to be the only Teacher, speaks by his apostles. Whoever, then, does not deign to receive the ministers of the Gospel, rejects Christ in them, and rejects God in Christ.

The Papists act a foolish and ridiculous part, when they endeavor to obtain this applause for themselves, in order exhibit their tyranny. For, in the first place, they adorn themselves with begged and borrowed feathers, having no resemblance to the apostles of Christ; and, secondly, granting that they are apostles, nothing was farther from Christ’s intention, in this passage, than to transfer his own right to men; for what else is it to receive those whom Christ sends, but to give place to them, that they may fulfill the office which has been committed to them?

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 13:20". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-13.html. 1840-57.