Christ washes the disciples’ feet. (Verse 1-17.)
The treachery of Judas foretold. (Verse 18-30.)
Christ commands the disciples to love one another. (Verse 31-38.)
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.
[Matt 10:22, Matt 26:2, Mark 14:1, Luke 22:1]
[end = goal, outcome, limit]
2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him;
[Matt 10:4, Matt 26:16, Mark 14:10, Luke 22:4]
First John tells us that Satan put it in Judas’ heart to betray him, but later on in this chapter we find out that Satan himself actually enters Judas as he departs.
How could Judas have spent three and a half years with Jesus and having seen all the things he had seen and knowing how much Christ loved each one of them even Judas as well turned around and stab Christ in the back by selling him to the high priest for thirty pieces of silver? Judas is a perfect type of the antichrist.
Psalm 49 tells us about his betrayal by Judas which will mirror the antichrist’s betrayal of Israel at the mid-point of the tribulation period. Psalm 49 is a great proof for the resurrection of Christ especially in the last four verses.
3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
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.
[Gen 18:4, Gen 24:32, Gen 43:24, Luke 7:38]
it must be remembered that everyone in these days wore sandals and dirty feet was a common problem
6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
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.
9 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
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.
11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.
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?
13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
[Matt 20:28, Luke 22:27]
15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
some debate arises over whether or not Jesus meant this verse to be taken literally (ie. Christians should wash one another’s feet) or in principle (ie. Christians should be humble and serve one another). All of those commands and principles given by Christ that were intended to apply to those within the church can be found repeated later in the NT. In many different places throughout the NT, the principle of Christians humbly serving one another can be seen; the specific command to wash each other’s feet is never found repeated.
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.
[Matt 10:24, Luke 6:40, John 15:20]
17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
Here goes Peter again putting his foot in his mouth. Just as Jesus is about to teach his disciples a lesson on humility and service Peter shows everyone that he is the proudest one in the bunch by roughly saying, “I will not allow someone so holy to wash my feet because I am a very humble person”.
If he were truly as humble as he thought he was, he would have allowed Jesus to finish his lesson and obeyed his teacher who obviously knew better than Peter.
I don’t believe Peter meant to be full of pride here but that is what was revealed. I’m sure he thought after, “What a fool I have made of myself again,” but if the truth be told, many of us would have acted in much the same way as Peter did.
The question for some is since Christ told his disciples to wash each other’s feet and none of them did that evening then foot washing must be an ordinance to be practiced today. That would be an incorrect assumption.
The reason being was that Jesus was not revealing mystery truth prior to Paul receiving it by revelation from the risen Lord a few years from then, all the mystery truth for the church age was given to Paul, and Paul alone.
Jesus was telling his kingdom church made up solely of Jews to wash one another’s feet in the days that are to follow. The time of Jacob’s trouble was about to begin and then the kingdom could be ushered in.
Then God interrupted the kingdom program for Israel because the rejected their Messiah and he ushered in an prophesied dispensation that was a mystery to all before Paul because it was kept hidden in God from before the foundation of the world.
The real lesson Jesus was trying to teach that evening was that the apostles needed to humble themselves unlike Peter and minister to those not as blessed as they are.
Those who are lonely, they are to visit, those who are without they are to give to. Those who are weaker they are to lift up.
They would need this for the trials they were about to face. They could not try to do everything on their own and try to exalt themselves over their brethren as James and John tried to do.
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.
[Psa 41:9, Psalms 55:12-13, Micah 7:6, Matt 10:36]
Jesus quotes Psalm 41:9 which says, “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me
19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.
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.
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.
22 Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.
23 Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.
24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.
25 He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it?
“leaning on Jesus’ bosom…lying on Jesus’ breast” – feasts in Bible times were quite often a lengthy affair and rather than sitting in chairs around tables, some feasts would utilise a type of reclining couch where the participants would half sit and half lay as they ate. This fact can be seen in the book of Esther where the people sat on “beds” as they ate at the banquet (Esther 1:6, 7:7-8).
the Apostle John, who wrote this book of John, often refers to himself as the “disciple that Jesus loved”
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.
[sop – any type of bread/food that is dipped in gravy, broth, etc]
27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.
[sop – any type of bread/food that is dipped in gravy, broth, etc]“
Judas had already agreed with the chief priests to betray Jesus and Satan had already entered in Judas before. Luke 22:1-6 provides further detail when it says, “Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people. 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. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.” Many people in the Bible are mentioned as being devil possessed, but Judas and the Antichrist of the book of Revelation are the only two persons in scripture mentioned as being possessed by Satan himself.
28 Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.
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.
30 He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.
31 Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
32 If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.
Jesus knew Judas was a thief and stole from the bag, the love of money is the root of all evil and Satan used it to get Judas to betray Christ.
Holding the bag of the disciple’s money was not a sin but it became sin when he began to covet what was in the bag.
Soon Judas would be getting upset if a harlot’s perfume was poured on Christ because he thought it could be sold and he could take the money and give some of the money to the poor.
Judas even got some of the others to question the waste of this expensive perfume, but he and they had no idea what it was being used for.
The other disciples were used by Judas be bring in a moment of rebellious thought against Jesus’ seeming extravagance.
Since Judas gave into the temptation that the bag aided in he was easy prey for the devil to seduce to betray Christ. Satan, the bible says, literally entered into Judas at this time, not just his mind or heart, but he literally possessed him.
There is no question of whether Judas was saved and then lost his salvation here. We are not talking about body of Christ doctrine given to Paul for the church age, this was all prior to the cross. People did not have eternal security as we do today in the age of grace.
That is why you see Jesus making numerous pleas to his disciples to abide in him, to endure unto the end etc…, Judas was one of the twelve and he cast out demons and pointed people to Christ until the love of money took over his life and his sin pushed out the most important thing in the world, Christ himself.
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.
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
this “new” commandment was new in that the Old Testament commanded people to love their neighbours in a fleshly relationship, but never in a spiritual, brotherly relationship. This principle is more fully developed in the book of I John and in I Corinthians 13.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
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.
37 Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.
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.
[Matt 26:34, Luke 22:34]
Peter was unable to back up his boasting about his loyalty to Christ in the garden when he fled with the others, but he later became a very bold witness after Christ’s resurrection even to the point of being crucified himself.
While people are not crucified today as a form of persecution I wonder how many of us would run away as Peter did in the garden, and how many of us would gladly suffer with our Saviour as Peter did at the end of his life.
Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.
Verse 1-17 – Our Lord Jesus has a people in the world that are his own; he has purchased them, and paid dear for them, and he has set them apart for himself; they devote themselves to him as a peculiar people. Those whom Christ loves, he loves to the end. Nothing can separate a true believer from the love of Christ. We know not when our hour will come, therefore what we have to do in constant preparation for it, ought never to be undone. What way of access the devil has to men’s hearts we cannot tell. But some sins are so exceedingly sinful, and there is so little temptation to them from the world and the flesh, that it is plain they are directly from Satan. Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, that he might teach us to think nothing below us, wherein we may promote God’s glory, and the good of our brethren. We must address ourselves to duty, and must lay aside every thing that would hinder us in what we have to do. Christ washed his disciples’ feet, that he might signify to them the value of spiritual washing, and the cleansing of the soul from the pollutions of sin. Our Lord Jesus does many things of which even his own disciples do not for the present know the meaning, but they shall know afterward. We see in the end what was the kindness from events which seemed most cross. And it is not humility, but unbelief, to put away the offers of the gospel, as if too rich to be made to us, or too good news to be true. All those, and those only, who are spiritually washed by Christ, have a part in Christ. All whom Christ owns and saves, he justifies and sanctifies. Peter more than submits; he begs to be washed by Christ. How earnest he is for the purifying grace of the Lord Jesus, and the full effect of it, even upon his hands and head! Those who truly desire to be sanctified, desire to be sanctified throughout, to have the whole man, with all its parts and powers, made pure. The true believer is thus washed when he receives Christ for his salvation. See then what ought to be the daily care of those who through grace are in a justified state, and that is, to wash their feet; to cleanse themselves from daily guilt, and to watch against everything defiling. This should make us the more cautious. From yesterday’s pardon, we should be strengthened against this day’s temptation. And when hypocrites are discovered, it should be no surprise or cause of stumbling to us. Observe the lesson Christ here taught. Duties are mutual; we must both accept help from our brethren, and afford help to our brethren. When we see our Master serving, we cannot but see how ill it becomes us to domineer. And the same love which led Christ to ransom and reconcile his disciples when enemies, still influences him.
Verse 18-30 – Our Lord had often spoken of his own sufferings and death, without such trouble of spirit as he now discovered when he spake of Judas. The sins of Christians are the grief of Christ. We are not to confine our attention to Judas. The prophecy of his treachery may apply to all who partake of God’s mercies, and meet them with ingratitude. See the infidel, who only looks at the Scriptures with a desire to do away their authority and destroy their influence; the hypocrite, who professes to believe the Scriptures, but will not govern himself by them; and the apostate, who turns aside from Christ for a thing of naught. Thus mankind, supported by God’s providence, after eating bread with Him, lift up the heel against Him! Judas went out as one weary of Jesus and his apostles. Those whose deeds are evil, love darkness rather than light.
Verse 31-35 – Christ had been glorified in many miracles he wrought, yet he speaks of his being glorified now in his sufferings, as if that were more than all his other glories in his humbled state. Satisfaction was thereby made for the wrong done to God by the sin of man. We cannot now follow our Lord to his heavenly happiness, but if we truly believe in him, we shall follow him hereafter; meanwhile we must wait his time, and do his work. Before Christ left the disciples, he would give them a new commandment. They were to love each other for Christ’s sake, and according to his example, seeking what might benefit others, and promoting the cause of the gospel, as one body, animated by one soul. But this commandment still appears new to many professors. Men in general notice any of Christ’s words rather than these. By this it appears, that if the followers of Christ do not show love one to another, they give cause to suspect their sincerity.
Verse 36-38 – What Christ had said concerning brotherly love, Peter overlooked, but spoke of that about which Christ kept them ignorant. It is common to be more eager to know about secret things, which belong to God only, than about things revealed, which belong to us and our children; to be more desirous to have our curiosity gratified, than our consciences directed; to know what is done in heaven, than what we may do to get thither. How soon discourse as to what is plain and edifying is dropped, while a doubtful dispute runs on into endless strife of words! We are apt to take it amiss to be told we cannot do this and the other, whereas, without Christ we can do nothing. Christ knows us better than we know ourselves, and has many ways of discovering those to themselves, whom he loves, and he will hide pride from them. May we endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, to love one another with a pure heart fervently, and to walk humbly with our God.