Note: The first twelve chapters of John’s Gospel cover three years; the next six chapters cover one night.
13:1 It was just before the Passover Feast [this time period covered in chapters 13 to 17]. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave [to depart, to transfer] this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent [“to the end” or “to the utmost”] of his love.
13:2 The evening meal was being served [the Passover meal; the last meal Jesus would eat with His disciples; Jesus instituted the “Lord’s Supper” during this meal], and the devil [cf. Jn. 13:27] had already prompted [to place or put something into the heart] Judas Iscariot, [cf. Jn. 6:70] son of Simon, to betray [to deliver over] Jesus.
13:3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from [Jesus knew His origin] God and was returning to [Jesus knew His destiny] God;
13:4 so he got up [to arise] from the meal, took off his outer clothing [cf. Phil. 2:6,7], and wrapped a towel [linen] around his waist [like an apron].
13:5 After that, he poured water into a basin [poured water over feet from one vessel to another] and began to wash [“It was the duty of the non-Jewish servant to wash the feet of his master. A Jewish slave was not required to do this.” (Rienecker/Rogers); subservient task for household servant (cf. 1 Sam. 25:41); see also Lk. 7:44; Jesus came to serve not to be served (Mk. 10:45); a truly shocking and stunning example of humility] his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
13:6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash [rinse] my feet?”
13:7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize [to perceive intuitively] now what I am doing, but later you will understand [to understand by learning; read 1 Peter 5:5-6 re: Peter’s understanding of what Jesus had done].”
13:8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never [not in anywise] wash [rinse] my feet [Peter seemed confused by what he saw Jesus doing].” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash [physical cleansing symbolized the spiritual cleansing His death would accomplish for all who entered into a faith relationship with Him] you, you have no part with me [perhaps Jesus meant that unless He washed away Peter’s sins by His death on the cross, then Peter could have no relationship with Him; or perhaps Jesus meant that unless Peter submitted to this act of service he would never learn the lesson of humility].”
13:9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well [Peter went from one extreme to the other]!”
13:10 Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath [washing the whole body] needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one [referred to Judas Iscariot (cf. 13:18)] of you.”
13:11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
13:12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place [to recline at the table]. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.
13:13 “You call me `Teacher [Master; a term of respect and recognition of instruction]’ and `Lord [a term of honor and recognition of authority],’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.
13:14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher [one on a higher level], have washed your feet, you also should [to owe a debt; to be obligated] wash one another’s feet.
13:15 I have set you an example [pattern; illustration] that you should do as I have done [humble service] for you.
13:16 I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger [literally “apostle”] greater than the one who sent him.
13:17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed [happy, joyful, fulfilled] if [condition] you do them.
13:18 “I am not referring to all of you; I know [cf. Jn. 6:70-71] those [plural] I have chosen [to select for one’s self; cf. Mk. 3:13-19]. But this is to fulfill the scripture [cf. Ps. 41:9]: `He who shares [to chew, to eat] my bread has lifted up his heel against me.’
Note: Psalm 41 describes how David’s friend Ahithopel betrayed him. Ironically, David’s betrayer later hanged himself (see 2 Sam. 16:20-17:3,23). Jesus described Judas’ treacherous act with David’s words “has lifted up his heel against me.” These words literally mean, “has taken a cruel advantage of me.” Judas, a trusted companion (Judas was keeper of the money), indeed took cruel advantage of Jesus. Judas would betray Jesus and then, like Ahithopel, hang himself.
13:19 “I am telling you now before [displayed Jesus’ divine foreknowledge] it [His betrayal by Judas] happens, so that when it does happen you will believe [not lose faith and confidence in Jesus because of the treachery of Judas] that I am He [the Messiah; God; the son of God].
13:20 I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone [those who represent Jesus] I send [cf. Jn. 20:21] accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one [God] who sent me.”
13:21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled [to be disturbed; Jesus was troubled because Judas could not be salvaged; cf. Jn. 11:33; 12:27] in spirit and testified [to make an important and solemn declaration], “I tell you the truth, one [cf. Jn. 13:10,18] of you is going to betray [to give over; to deliver someone to another; cf. Matt. 27:26 “handed him over”] me.”
13:22 His disciples stared [surprised; perplexed] at one another, at a loss [to be disturbed] to know which of them [cf. Matt. 26:22,25] he meant.
13:23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved [traditionally known as the apostle John; phrase probably conveys John’s amazement that Jesus loved him], was reclining next to him.
13:24 Simon Peter motioned [to signal by nodding the head] to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.” [perhaps Peter himself was going to deal with the betrayer]
13:25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”
13:26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread [indicates Judas had to be within Jesus’ reach] when I have dipped it in the dish [custom was to eat from a common dish].” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave [ironically, this was a sign of friendship; Judas would later betray Jesus with another sign of friendship–a kiss (Lk. 22:47-48)] it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon.
13:27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan [adversary, opponent] entered into [thus setting the betrayal in motion] him [Judas became Satan’s tool to accomplish his evil plan; came under the complete control and influence of Satan]. “What you are about to do, do quickly,” Jesus told him,
13:28 but no one at the meal understood [no one made the connection between Jesus’ words in 13:21 and 13:26] why Jesus said this to him.
13:29 Since Judas had charge of the money [cf. Jn. 12:6], some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the Feast [refers to the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread], or to give something to the poor [a custom of the Passover celebration].
13:30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went [Judas made a choice] out [immediately]. And it was night [reference to actual time and also symbolizes the spiritual condition of Judas (moral and spiritual night); cf. Jn. 3:18-21].
13:31 When he [Judas] was gone [probable that the institution of the Lord’s Supper took place after Judas was gone], Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified [to exalt by completing a task; God made a full display of His glory in the person of His Son] and God is glorified in him.
13:32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once [refers to the resurrection and ascension].
13:33 “My children [term connotes intimacy, fondness, affection; John used this term seven times in his first epistle], I will be [in bodily form] with you only a little longer. You will look for me [in the sense of longing for His physical presence], and just as I told the Jews [cf. Jn. 7:33-34], so I tell you now: Where I am going [to His Heavenly Father], you cannot come.
13:34 “A new [in nature and quality; superior to the old; cf. Lev. 19:18; the motive of love, not the message, constituted a new commandment; new in the sense of intensity, degree, motive] command [God measures love by obedience (cf. 1 Jn. 5:2)] I give you: Love one another [35 “one another” passages in the NT; each one illustrates practical ways in which we can carry out this particular command]. As I have loved [Gr. agape: God’s self-giving, sacrificial love toward sinful people] you [we are to love others based on Jesus’ sacrificial love for us], so you must love one another.
13:35 By this all men [people] will know that you are my disciples, if you love [the hallmark of Christians; cf. Acts 4:34-35 for example of such love] one another.”
13:36 Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”
13:37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you [other disciples joined Peter in his promise of loyalty (cf. Matt. 26:35); see also Mk. 14:29-31 and Lk. 22:33-34].”
13:38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times [cf. Matt. 26:69-75; Mk. 14:66-72; Lk. 22:54-62; note: everyone deserted Jesus when He was arrested (cf. Mk. 14:50); answer reveals the Lord’s foreknowledge]!