The Agora
Bible Commentary

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John 13

Joh 13:1

John 13: See Article, Foot-washing and a new commandment.

PASSOVER: Cp Joh 1:29: "The Lamb of God"! Background: Contentions among the disciples as to who will be the greatest (Luk 22:24). Note Christ's parable of high and low seats (Luk 14:7-11).

John lists all four Passovers in Jesus' ministry: Joh 2:13; 5:1; 6:4; 13:1. Proof of 3 1/2 year ministry.

THE FULL EXTENT OF HIS LOVE: Or, as mg, "to the last"; or poss "he now loved them completely," or "he now loved them to the uttermost". Gr "eis telos" lit = "to the end"; there is a verbal link, in Greek, with John 19:30: "It is ended [Gr 'tetelestai'], or finished."

"Unto the end" (as AV): "I am with you unto the end": Mat 28:20. "He loved them unto the end": Joh 13:1. "Who shall confirm you unto the end": 1Co 1:8. "The rejoicing of hope firm unto the end": Heb 3:6. "Beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end": Heb 3:14. "Full assurance of hope unto the end": Heb 6:11. "Keepeth my works unto the end": Rev 2:26.

LOVE: Agape. The "love-feast" (Jud 1:12; cp 2Pe 2:13)?

Joh 13:2

SERVED: Lit "being", although some mss have "having been". Based on past tense, AV translates "ended", but this does not accord with the rest of the narrative: cp vv 1,12,26.

DEVIL: Jewish leaders intent on using Judas to arrest Jesus. "You belong to your father the devil" (Joh 8:44). "Satan has desired to have (one of) you" (Luk 22:31).

Joh 13:3

ALL THINGS: The disciples? Cp Joh 3:35; 10:28,29.

UNDER HIS POWER: Lit "in his hands": Used of consecration of priests in Exo 29:9; Lev 8:27. Jesus is aware of his impending sacrifice. Ct 1Co 15:27: "under his feet".

FROM GOD: Phi 2:6: Being in the form (or status) of God.

TO GOD: (1) As a priest, to offer sacrifice, and/or (2) His ascension to heaven, after resurrection.

Joh 13:4

TOOK OFF HIS OUTER CLOTHING: Laying aside garments: a preview of coming crucifixion: Joh 19:23,24 (sw Joh 10:15). He "humbled himself" (Phi 2:5,8), being "clothed with humility" (1Pe 5:1-6). Special garments -- like the High Priest on Day of Atonement.

Joh 13:5

Had Jesus asked the servants NOT to do their customary foot-washing, to see if any of the disciples would realize the need and undertake this work? But instead they were all interested in the best seats at the feast.

HE POURED WATER INTO A BASIN: The same water that was carried in the jar by the servant of the householder into that room (Mar 14:13; Luk 22:10).

FEET: That part of the body which, like the cursed serpent, tastes the dust. (Jesus kneels down, as a servant: Luk 22:27).

"Human nature combines with history to demand that power must be in natural opposition to humility and servitude. In revealing His love to man God shows how false such a conception is. He sent His Son for the salvation of man. We look for a revelation of glory and power; we find a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. We look for a conscience-stricken people bowing in reverence before his majesty, but we see the Baptist lifting him from the flowing waters of the Jordan. We wait for the fiery judgment of Heaven upon a faithless people, but we see the gentle touch of healing and hear the contented cries of little children. We look for the denunciation of the traitor, but we see the Savior kneeling at his feet with water and towel" (MP 320).

"Jesus also washed the feet of Judas Iscariot, removing from them the dust of the road that led to the High Priest's house... the opportunity for Judas to repent of the evil deed in his heart, passing, as Jesus paused, washed his feet, and then moved on" (Shaul Arnold, Sh 106:7:10).

Joh 13:7

See VL, Disciples, slow comprehension.

WHAT I AM DOING: The greatest sacrifice, the greatest humility: to lay down life for his friends (Joh 15:13).

Joh 13:8

PART: Inheritance (cp Deu 12:12; 14:27).

Joh 13:9

The 3 cleansings in dedication of the priest (Lev 8:6,24; Exo 30:19).

Joh 13:10

CLEAN: Through the word: Joh 15:3; 17:17; Eph 5:26.

NOT EVERY ONE OF YOU: Ref to Judas (see Joh 13:11).

Joh 13:12

HE PUT ON HIS CLOTHES: Taking off / putting on garments: the High Priest on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:23,24; cp Zec 3:4,5).

Joh 13:14

The humility of Jesus: Rom 15:1-4; 1Co 10:33 and 11:1; Phi 2:4-7; Eph 5:1,2.

I, YOUR LORD...: No one else could use such words!

Joh 13:15

Washing of feet: An "example" (Do as I have done), not an official church ordinance. A practical task, which in those days would convey a real benefit (1Ti 5:10). How is this to be done today? Consider 1Pe 5:5,6.

Joh 13:17

YOU WILL BE BLESSED IF YOU DO THEM: "Happiness is not in catering to desire, but in putting desire away. Happiness is not in seeking pleasure, but in recognizing and thankfully enjoying the myriad of pleasures that God showers bountifully on us every moment: in His love, in His Word, in His Purpose, in His marvelous Creation: from the infinitely small to the infinitely great -- all infinitely beautiful. Happiness is not in getting, but in giving: not in being served, but in serving (though truly there is happiness in being served -- if the service is of need beyond our own capacity to fill, and if the service is in love). Christ tells us where happiness is: in pureness of heart, in meekness, in mercifulness, in hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Don't look for it anywhere else. It isn't there. It must be created within ourselves. Its source is of God" (GVG).

Joh 13:18

Quoting Psa 41:9: "My close friend, whom I trusted." Cp also Psa 55:12-14. Note: Jesus broke bread with Judas! Cp Joh 13:26.

HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME: 'As though I were the "serpent" (Gen 3:15; Num 21:1-9; Joh 3:14) and he the righteous "Seed"!'

Joh 13:19

I AM HE: Cp usage in Joh 8:24,28,58.

Joh 13:20

Context (vv 18,26...): Esp to accept one at the breaking of bread (cp 3Jo 1:5-8 with Mat 25:40; ct 3Jo 1:9,10 and Mat 25:45).

Joh 13:22

Vv 22-24: See VL: Disciples, awe of Jesus.

There is no hint that any of the disciples suspected Judas. An indication of how completely the traitor lived his own life in his own world even while continuing to be an intimate member of the apostles' band.

Joh 13:23

RECLINING NEXT TO HIM: Cp same phrase, Joh 1:18.

Joh 13:24

(Peter had taken one of the "lower" seats: Luk 14:7-11.) Peter thinks that a traitor may be dealt with before he can do his work (explaining Joh 18:10). John, evidently wiser than Peter, learns the traitor's identity but does not tell Peter.

Joh 13:26

"The greatest mark of esteem a host can pay a guest is to select a choice morsel out of the common dish and place it in his guest's mouth."

Joh 13:27

SATAN ENTERED: A messenger (from the High Priest?) comes into the house looking for Judas, and he goes downstairs to see him. (Since Judas is the treasurer, he is required from time to time to deal with people unknown to the other disciples.)

Joh 13:29

The disposal of Jesus' personal effects: his purse to Judas (Joh 13:29), his clothes to soldiers (Joh 19:23), his mother to John (Joh 19:27), his "spirit" to God (Luk 23:46), and his body to Joseph (Joh 19:38).

Joh 13:30

HE WENT OUT: Like Cain (Gen 4:16) and the unforgiving debtor (Mat 18:28). "They went out from us" (1Jo 2:19).

AND IT WAS NIGHT: As at Passover, he went out into Egyptian "darkness" of death. Judas was one who walked in darkness (Joh 11:7-10). "This is your hour, when darkness reigns" (Luk 22:53). "Outer darkness" (Mat 25:30).

Joh 13:31

Judas' final departure (purging the "leaven") marks the beginning of Jesus' most intimate conversation with the remaining disciples.

NOW: From the time Judas goes to see the Jewish authorities. Now, everything is set in motion for final act.

GOD IS GLORIFIED: God's "glory" is that of grace and truth (Joh 1:14). For Christ, glory comes through suffering (Phi 2:9-11; Heb 2:9; 1Pe 1:11).

Joh 13:34

NEW: Why "new"? Because no one (until Christ) had ever given the perfect example (cp v 15) of how this command should be kept (Joh 15:12,13). Christ had set the "standard" for all men and all times and for all circumstances! Note: "AS I have loved you..."

Joh 13:35

ALL MEN: That is, all kinds (classes, or races) of men. Examples of "all" prob meaning "without distinction" rather than "without exception": Joh 1:7,9; 3:26; 5:28; 8:2; 12:32; Rom 10:13; 1Ti 2:1,2; 4:15; 5:20; 6:17; Heb 2:9.

LOVE: Agape, or "love feast" (v 1; Jud 1:12). In the Breaking of Bread, disciples "proclaim", in Christ's death, his love for them (1Co 11:26).

Joh 13:36

FOLLOW LATER: In a similar death, by crucifixion (Joh 21:18,19)

Joh 13:37

Peter thinks he will lay down (sw Joh 10:11,15) his life for Jesus. Instead, Jesus will lay down his life for Peter. A great irony: cp David/God/build house: 2Sa 7.

Joh 13:38

Cp Peter's boast to the impotent bluster of the rooster. (And so do all our pretensions and boasts sound to God!)

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