John 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.
As this chapter starts, the time is just prior to the Passover Feast. Jesus knew the time was at hand for Him to return to the Father. He had come to love His friends, family and companions in this world—and that would not change.
Note again that this supper is before the feast of Passover.
John 18:28 “Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.”
John 19:14 “And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!”
According to Josephus, the priests began slaying the paschal lambs at the temple at 3:00pm—the same time that Jesus, our Passover lamb, died on the cross. I have read many commentaries regarding whether the last supper was a Passover meal and regarding Jesus being in the tomb three days and three nights. I am not a scholar, but I do believe the Spirit is consistent in presenting the types of Christ in scripture. Christ was definitely our Passover lamb…
1 Corinthians 5:7–8 “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
…therefore, I believe He was crucified on the day of preparation for the Passover meal that would be held that evening (the Jews reckon a day from evening to evening). Beyond that I am not willing to argue. I also know that God doesn’t contradict Himself, so I’m not worried about what looks like contradiction to me right now. He will make everything clear by and by. (See note at Luke 22:7-8 for further explanation.)
“unto the end” - The NIV uses the term “full extent,” and I think that’s appropriate because giving one’s life out of love to save another is as full a love as there is. Another word suggested by the Greek was “to the utmost.” The KJV use of “to the end” refers more to the human perspective in my opinion. I know He was eager to return to the Father, but that doesn’t mean He was eager to leave those He loved. I can relate to that. I’m eager for the Lord’s return. I can’t wait to never have to deal with my sin nature again, or worry about my motives, to know that my heart is pure, to participate in the true worship in heaven in His presence, to see His love for me reflected in His eyes when He looks at me----BUT neither do I want Him to come until I know all of my loved ones have been saved because I don’t want to lose fellowship with them. (I also realize that ALL who are going to come to Him will come to Him (6:37) and that I can’t control the choice of my loved ones.)
John 13:2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him;
“the supper being ended” – This seems to indicate that the presentation of the wine and bread as representative of His blood and body was done prior to this. Matthew 26:26 states that this was done while they were eating.
Matthew 26:26 “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.”
The disciples were together with the Lord at their evening meal. The point is made that the devil had already “put into the heart of Judas” to betray Jesus. Luke tells us that Satan entered Judas prior to his meeting with the chief priests and captains to plan the betrayal; I believe that is what is being referenced in this verse.
Luke 22:3-4 “Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. (Matthew 26:15 tells us that Judas made a deal with them to deliver Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.)
The sad thing is that the devil couldn’t have prompted Judas without him being an empty or willing vessel. How anyone could spend all that close time of teaching and opportunity for fellowship with the Lord and not have his heart impacted by the love of Jesus is beyond understanding. Another sad comment is that Judas is identified as “Simon’s son.” That jumped out to me as a parent. Judas must have had an example along the way to become the self-centered, thieving, hard-hearted man that he was. Maybe it was his father, maybe not. Bottom line is that it is a sad commentary on the father concerning his son. I know that children choose to go off and do things in spite of their parents. My own son has done that at one point--and somehow you still feel responsible. I think the difference for Christian parents who are doing their best before the Lord is that their children eventually return to their roots if they have been trained from a biblical foundation (Proverbs 22:6), but some take a lot longer than others (e.g. Hezekiah’s son Manasseh, 2Chronicles 33).
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
John 13:3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
John 13:4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
John 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.
Jesus was fully aware of His position of power and authority and divine standing in the Father and that He was returning to be with God the Father. He didn’t need to be affirmed; He was secure in that knowledge. At this point He gets up, takes off His outer clothing, and wraps a towel around His waist. Then He filled a pan with water and began to wash the feet of the disciples and dry their feet with the towel around His waist—the work of a slave.
John 13:6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
Eventually He came to Simon Peter (who evidently had been watching and thinking). Peter, brilliant man that he was, says, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
John 13:7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
Jesus understood that his question was really, “Why are you going to wash my feet?” He answers Peter by telling him that he will understand this more a bit later. We are not expected to understand everything the Lord allows to affect our life as it happens.
John 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.
John 13:9 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
This answer didn’t satisfy Peter, so he said, “No, you will never wash my feet.” Jesus knew the answer that would make Peter compliant because He knew Peter’s heart (just as He knows each one of ours). He said, “OK Peter, if I don’t wash you, you have no part with me.” (He knew Peter loved Him.) Peter does a complete reversal. He basically says—If that is the case, don’t just wash my feet; wash my hands and my head too. No way did he want to be separated from the Savior. His logic told him that if allowing Jesus to wash his feet would keep him close to the Savior, that having Him wash his hands and head too would provide a stronger connection.
John 13:10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
John 13:11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.
Then Jesus explains that a person who has had a bath only needs to wash his feet (the part that is dirty). The rest of his body is clean. Then He tells him that he is clean, but not everyone there was. At this point He indicates that He is talking on a spiritual level, because the next verse says this is a reference to the one that was going to betray Him. He was obviously not talking about physical dirt, but an attitude of the heart.
Another application that comes to my mind is in reference to confessing and repenting of our sins as believers. We have had a bath (been washed in His blood) through faith, but we still get our feet dirty by allowing sin into our life. Because of that, we need to confess and repent of that sin—wash the part that is dirty.
Note from JVMcGee: “How does Christ wash us today?”
Psalm 119:9 “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”
Ephesians 5:25-26 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word….”
1John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
John 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?
John 13:13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
John 13:14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
John 13:15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
Jesus finished washing their feet, then put on His clothes and went back to His seat. Then He asked them if they understood what He had done for them. He continued by restating the position they had given Him as their “Master (teacher) and Lord (in authority over them).” He also emphasized that that was His correct position in relationship to them. Then He told them that He had washed their feet as an example of how they were to treat one another.
This calls to my mind the importance of our examples as parents before our children and grandchildren. We should be comfortable to say to them, “Do as I have done; follow my example.” That is a very convicting truth to this mom.
John 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.
Again the emphasis of the truth of what He is about to say—“verily, verily.” “The servant is not greater than his lord.” (The disciples are the servants; He is their lord/master.) “Neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” (They are the messengers; He is the one who sends them.) If the master is willing to position himself as a servant to emphasize the truth and importance of his message, they should be willing to do likewise.
John 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
In this verse Jesus provides encouragement for obedience—“happy are ye if ye do them.” It immediately jumps to my mind that it implies the inverse—you will not be happy if you disobey. Knowledge always brings greater responsibility……and the potential for greater blessing—or affliction.
John 13:18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.
Now Jesus tells them more of what is about to happen. First, He clarifies that none of this is a surprise to Him. He knows who belongs to Him and who doesn’t. They are to keep in mind that scripture will be fulfilled throughout these next hours and days. Scripture has foretold (Psalm 41:9) that He would be betrayed by a friend.
Psalm 41:9 “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.”
Many times when I read the scriptures that seem to be referenced, I have a hard time understanding how they could have recognized that those words were referring to the Messiah. Maybe the fact that it was referring to Messiah was just being revealed by Jesus.
John 13:19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.
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.
Jesus goes on to explain that He is telling them what will happen ahead of time, so that when it all goes down, it will be another affirmation for their belief.
Isaiah 42:9 Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.
Isaiah 46:9-10 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure….”
Like Father—Like Son.
Then He gave them another truth to grasp as His messengers—anyone who accepts anyone sent by Him, the Christ, also accepts Christ. Inversely, anyone who accepts Christ will accept those sent by Him. This is the very same statement He made regarding acceptance of the Son as acceptance of the Father and vice versa (8:42).
I think it is important to note that the truth is that a true believer will rightly represent the Savior to the best of his/her ability. The gospel they share will be the gospel that leads to salvation. Only in that regard is accepting the believer the same as accepting Christ as Savior.
John 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.
John 13:22 Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.
Now we are told that Jesus became troubled in spirit and stated again that one of them was going to betray Him. (I think that may have been when Satan made his presence known; because a few minutes later, when Jesus dipped His bread and handed it to Judas, Satan entered Judas—he became possessed by Satan.) After He made that statement, the disciples stared at each other trying to determine whom He meant.
John 13:23 Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.
John 13:24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.
John 13:25 He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it?
“one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved” – I think this refers to John. He was reclining next to Jesus, and Peter motioned him to ask Jesus who He meant. So he leaned back against Jesus and asked Him who it was.
John 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.
John 13:27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.
Then Jesus told him that it was the one to whom He gave the bread He was going to dip in the dish. When He dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, and (as stated above) Satan took possession of him. (Another thing to remember is that Satan cannot “enter” God’s children—believers. Amazing though it is after so much time with the Lord—Judas was an unbeliever.) Then Jesus spoke to him and said, “Do what you are going to do quickly.”
John 13:28 Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.
John 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.
John 13:30 He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.
The other disciples didn’t understand what Jesus meant as He spoke to Judas. Since he was the treasurer, they assumed He was telling him to buy what was needed for the feast or to give to the poor. Judas left. “And it was night.”
John 3:19 “…men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
I think it is interesting that the point was made that it was night. It was dark in more ways than one and would seem to get darker still as time goes on. They were about to lose the light of the Savior’s presence. I also think Jesus was getting impatient to be done with it all. Although dreading the pain and suffering to come, I think He was eager to get home to the Father. I also think He was eager to take that next step necessary to finally overcoming Satan once and for all.
“against the feast” – This indicates that the Last Supper was before the Passover feast, which is exactly what verse 1 of this chapter said. This made me remember hearing Chuck Smith give an explanation once that explained how Jesus could have been in the tomb for three days and three nights.
Matthew 12:40 “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
We also know that Jesus was crucified on Preparation Day
John 19:31 “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.”
1Corinthians 5:7 “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us….”
We also know that Jesus rose again the third day.
Matthew 17:23 “And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.”
Mark 9:31 “For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.”
We also know that the Jews counted time from “evening to morning” as shown in Genesis.
Genesis 1:5 “And the evening and the morning were the first day.”
Genesis 1:8 “And the evening and the morning were the second day.”
Genesis 1:13 “And the evening and the morning were the third day.”
And so on
We also know that the empty tomb was discovered early in the morning as it began to dawn on the first day of the week—Sunday.
Matthew 28:1–6 “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it…. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”
I’ve read many different arguments for the crucifixion being on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday; and I have concluded that it was probably Thursday.
Thursday evening—Friday evening = Day 1
Friday evening—Saturday evening = Day 2
Saturday Evening—Sunday evening = Day 3
John 13:31 Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
John 13:32 If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.
After Judas left, Jesus said that now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in Him. This being true, God will glorify the Son in Himself and will do it soon.
This sounds a bit like double talk. As I am trying to think it through, I think the term “now” (vs. 31) just refers to the present in general—not that particular moment. Jesus (the Son of Man) is going to be glorified from His death, burial and resurrection. He will defeat Satan, and this will all bring glory to the Father. Part of the truth connected with this is that in the future God will glorify the Son as the victorious King in all His glory (in Himself) as God in Heaven and earth all at once. Simplistic maybe, but makes sense to me.
John 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.
John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Jesus continues; He tells them that He will just be with them a little while longer. He again gave them fair warning that they could not go with Him. The command He gave them was to love one another, just as He has loved them. (Remember the foot washing; follow His example.) When the people of the world see how they love one another, they will recognize them as His disciples.
How is this a new commandment? By referencing the verses in Mark where Jesus discussed this subject, we can make a comparison.
Mark 12:29-31 “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”
This new commandment states that we are to love one another “as I have loved you.” Jesus’ love for each and every one of us is far greater that even the love we have for self. Argument could be made that to love the Lord God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength would cause us to love others with the same kind of unselfish, sacrificial love as He loves us. By wording this commandment as a love that is based on His example, Jesus was leaving no doubt as to His meaning.
John 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.
John 13:37 Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.
Simon Peter asked Jesus where He was going. Jesus again told him that he couldn’t go with Him now, but he would get to come to Him later. It is interesting to me that the Lord didn’t answer where, and Peter didn’t press for the specifics. Instead, the Lord was answering the question in his heart of why he couldn’t go with his Lord. Peter, without missing a beat, asked why he couldn’t go with Him now. He would lay down his life for Jesus. Both Matthew (26:35) and Mark (14:31) tell us that all of the disciples declared they would follow Jesus to the death.
John 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.
So Jesus told him—You really think you would lay down your life for me? Then Jesus tells him, “The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.” The gospel of Mark states “before the cock crows twice.”
Mark 14:30 “And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.”
When I read through the scriptures and find discrepancies in the presentation of one writer vs. another, I don’t get too excited. I know that the Word of God is true and without contradiction. One day we will have the knowledge to make every piece fit perfectly. When you read through the other gospel accounts of this event, you can come up with possibly more than three denials. The important point being that the Lord knew that Peter would be tested and would fail. I think this account was inspired both to warn us and comfort us. No matter how much we think we love the Lord, we are vulnerable to the attack of the enemy.
Peter thinks he is willing to give his life to protect Jesus, but he is going to be shown his true heart. When the going gets tough, he will deny he even knows Jesus—not once, but at least three times. (I often find myself wondering about my own willingness to suffer for the Lord. My prayer is that I would be strong and steadfast through the enablement of the Spirit. Peter didn’t have the Spirit indwelling him at this time.)
Luke tells us another beautiful bit of information. Before telling Peter that he would deny Him, Jesus told Peter that He had prayed for him. What did He pray? That Peter’s faith would not fail—and we know that Jesus’ prayer was answered. Peter may have stumbled badly—but he did not fall. The Lord also strengthened Peter with a promise by saying “when thou art converted” (returned to full faith), he should use the experience to strengthen his brethren. That is one of the Lord’s intended purposes for any trial He allows in our lives—for our faith to be strengthened and that we in turn strengthen others through what we have learned by experience.
Luke 22:31-32 “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”