John 13

Gospelofjohn Here’s the newest commentary that I’ve written on John 13. I started the book of John a long time ago, and now we’re continuing through that book in our Wednesday Bible Studies, so I guess I’ll be adding to the original stuff that I wrote. Here’s what I learned today about John 13:


John 13 Commentary

Who would want to know when they were gonna die? Not me. But Jesus knew. What would that be like? How would you spend your last few days of life?

This story is a “type” or “foreshadow” of what Jesus is about to do on the cross.

Vs 1

Passover – a Jewish festival in which they partook of a celebration meal remembering how God had provided for them during the Exodus. They also remembered how God had saved them from the last Egyptian plague with the Passover lamb. The time of this celebration was the perfect time for the cross, because Jesus would be the new Passover lamb.

Vs 2

Jesus knew what Judas would be doing and yet He still treated Him well. Jesus served Him knowing that he would betray him.

Leonardo_da_vinci_the_last_supper The famous artistic portrayals of the Last Supper are pretty much all wrong. The disciples were not sitting at chairs around a table, but probably laying on low couches around a “U-shaped” low table. This is the way the Roman triclinium was arranged also. Jesus was in the center, with John at his right and Judas at his left. These were both honored positions. It is also probable that they leaned on their left arms so as to keep the right hand (the “clean” hand) free to grab food and partake in the meal. This meant that Jesus would have been facing John’s back and Judas’ would have faced Jesus’ back.

The foot-washing custom was normally given to a slave or even a crippled or mentally handicapped slave who was unable to do anything else. A water pot was kept outside the door for this practice. If there was no slave at the door, one of the group members would wash the others feet out of courtesy. No one volunteered this particular day, so Jesus stepped “up” to the task.

Vs 4 – 11

The Luke account of this story says that the disciples were arguing about who would be the greatest among them. Jesus answers their question with His own actions as He washes their feet. This is scandalous humility – for someone of Jesus’ standing to step into the lowliest of positions. God scrubs the feet of the creatures that He created.

Vs 4 – Jesus stripped his outer clothes – most likely down to a loincloth which would have been typical attire for a slave.

Footwash Vs 5 – Jesus actually washes Judas’ feet. Jesus had spent 3 years caring for this guy – clothing him, feeding him, etc and He knew that Judas was gonna betray him. (By the way, Judas had been stealing money from Jesus’ ministry the whole time.) Jesus washed Judas’ feet because he was re-enacting what was about to come – He was gonna die for the whole world – including Judas. Jesus did it to honor His Father – Remember his words in Mt 26:39 – “Not my will, but yours.”

Vs 8-9 – Peter’s unwillingness to have his feet washed was a normal response for an unbeliever – but Peter was not an unbeliever. On the other hand, by saying “wash all of me” he was missing the point to. He needed cleansing for daily sin, not to be rebathed (reborn).

If you consider this act of service a foreshadow of the cross, you realize that Jesus’ seemingly harsh words here in vs 8 come out of a deep concern for Peter and the other disciple’s acceptance of His later act on the cross.

Vs 15 – Again if you consider this act a foreshadow of the cross, the example to follow is not one simply of humility, but also one of self-sacrifice and laying down our lives for one another.

Vs 23 – “reclining next to him” should literally be translated “reclining in the bosom (or lap) of Jesus.” The Epistles of Pliny (the younger) refer to this as a place of high honor.

Vs 34 – Love as a commandment is an interesting thought. In the OT, their obedience to the commandments symbolized Israel’s relationship with God and marked them as a people who were set apart from the rest of the peoples. Love should be the mark that we carry setting us apart. It also symbolizes our relationship with God.

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