John 13

1 Jesus was about to suffer a terrible death for the sake of all those who would put their faith in Him. He loved us so much that He was willing to take the punishment that we deserved.

The Last Supper occurred on the evening before the "day of preparation." In other words, they ate the Passover meal the day before the Passover celebration. This occurred so that Jesus would be sacrificed on the day of preparation -- the same day that the lambs for the Passover meal were to be slaughtered.

2 This is the ultimate hypocrisy. Judas already knew that this was the night he would jeopardize Jesus' life, but he shared the Last Supper and continued to act as if nothing were unusual. He would not give himself away until the moment of betrayal.

"Iscariot" means, "man of Kerioth," and John goes further in naming his father.

Some translations indicate that supper had ended, but the correct translation indicates that these events occurred during the supper.

3 Although He was betrayed and would be killed, Jesus knew He would come back to life and have authority over everything. He was not ashamed to perform the humble task He was about to do. He was completely confident in His identity and mission.
5 Despite the enormity of the task ahead, Jesus takes a moment to wash the feet of the disciples.
6 Peter is asking the obvious, but His question is valid. In Jesus' time, people wore sandals, and the roads often left feet dusty. It was common practice for the host to have his slave or his wife wash the feet of his guests. It was considered a lowly task, so Peter is surprised that someone as important as Jesus would do such a thing. Would the Son of God wash his feet? Would the Messiah stoop to perform this humble task?

There was no servant at the Last Supper to wash everyone's feet. Jesus probably had requested complete privacy during the supper, which precluded the homeowner from providing servants for the meal. It is also obvious that none of the disciples volunteered for the task. Other Gospels make a point of the disciples' constantly disputing about their greatness -- one such dispute even happening at the Last Supper (Luke 22:24). Their pride was preventing them from caring for one another, as they should.

7 None of the disciples understood why Jesus was doing this, but they would learn as time went on. This was a small display of love compared to the crucifixion He was about to endure for the sake of the world.
8 Peter is not willing to wait for understanding. Since he does not understand right now, he is unwilling to have Jesus wash his feet. However, Jesus makes it clear that when one comes to Him, the person must allow Jesus to clean him. Those who are too proud to have Jesus reach down to them can not accept Him, and thus can not be helped by Him.
9 At the prospect of being cut off from Jesus, he reverses himself and decides that Jesus should wash his hands and head, too.
10 Like Peter, we sometimes feel that we have better ideas than God does. Jesus tells Peter that He will only wash Peter's feet because that is the only thing that needs cleaning.

Jesus is also speaking figuratively here. Peter was spiritually clean because he believed Jesus was the Messiah and was baptized. Even so, he would still sin. Such sins are minor compared to his overall salvation, but they still require cleansing.

11 Judas had heard everything that Jesus said and had his feet washed by Him. Although he saw the miracles and followed Jesus on His travels, he did not believe in Him. Judas allowed Jesus to clean his feet, but he would not allow Him to clean his heart.
12 This is a rhetorical question since Jesus already knew that none of them understood what He was doing. Peter had been the only one bold enough to express his misconceptions.
13 Jesus is out Teacher. He is the perfect Teacher that has all the right answers. First, we should learn what He teaches us. Second, se should apply what we know without hesitation. Third, we should ask questions about things that have not yet been covered, and expect Him to give us the correct answer.
14 Jesus is the highest authority, but He did the humble task of washing someone's feet. As Christians, we are of much lower "rank" than Jesus is, and we are all equally important. So then, we should not have reservations about humbly serving and forgiving others. There is no place for snobbery in Christendom.

Foot washing is spoken of frequently in the Bible because it was a custom of necessity. Whether it is a profitable symbol in societies that do not have dusty feet problems or not is sometimes debated. It is clear that Jesus does this physical act to teach a spiritual lesson. However, it may still be a profitable lesson in other cultures because it not only allows someone to wash, but another to be washed. Self-sufficient pride (similar to what Peter displayed) can prevent us from having spiritually cleansing (i.e., accountability) relationships with others.

15 A Christian's goal is to be "like" Jesus. Jesus says that one way to do that is to follow His example and humbly serve and forgive one another.
16 The servant does not decide whether to do his master's bidding or not. Neither does the messenger decide when and whom to give a message of his choosing to. Jesus has given us a clear example to follow, and we should follow His example out of gratitude for what He did for us.
17 When we do what we know we should do, we attain happiness. Specifically here, to care for your Christian brothers and sisters both physically and spiritually will result in great blessings for all.
18 Jesus is speaking, of course, of Judas Iscariot. Although he was with the disciples, heard all that Jesus told them, and even participated in Jesus' ministry, he did not humble himself or follow Jesus' example.

Jesus chose Judas and knew his heart. Jesus was not taken by surprise by Judas' betrayal. He knew it would happen from the beginning. Judas was not forced to betray Jesus, but he was chosen because God knew that he would do so. The crucifixion was necessary for the forgiveness of sins, and God designed His plan so that it would work out properly in this time and place.

Sharing a meal with someone was a social expression of acceptance and trust. Jesus quotes Psalm 41:9 to prophecy His being betrayed by one of His own close followers.

19 Although this is a prophecy about a bad event, its happening should encourage the disciples to believe in Him. If the bad prophecies come true, certainly the good ones will too.
20 Christians have a tremendous responsibility to speak the truth and do what Jesus would have us do. When people believe us, they will believe Jesus, and likewise the Father. We are God's ambassadors to the world, and we should take that job seriously.
21 Jesus had known this would happen from the beginning, but it still troubled Him to know that one who was so close to Him would betray Him. Jesus had spent three years teaching about love, forgiveness, turning away from sin, and turning to God. Now Judas was about to turn against Him. Judas had seen the power of God every day he spent with Jesus, but something else motivated Judas more than salvation.
22 Judas blended in so well that none of the other disciples even suspected that Judas would be any more likely to betray Jesus than anyone else would.
23 This was apparently John (he does not name himself in his gospel). John and Jesus not only had a spiritual relationship, but an emotional one as well. Whether this was a "best friend" type of relationship or a "father-and-son" type relationship we do not know, but was a special relationship that went beyond what the other disciples had.

During the feast, the guests would recline around a low table with their heads towards it. They would lean on one elbow and eat with the other hand. If the person in front of another wanted to whisper something to him, he would lean back with his head on the other's chest.

Presuming that most everyone was right-handed, this would have placed John at Jesus' right side. This was the place of honor next to the guest of honor.

24 Peter was sitting further away, and he did not feel it was appropriate to ask this kind of question so that everyone could hear or get up to ask Jesus personally. Obviously, he felt that John could not have been the betrayer. He was also confident that John would get a clear answer from Jesus.
26 Jesus only shared this information with John.

Sharing a piece of bread in this manner was a symbol of special friendship. Even in the face of certain betrayal, Jesus still offered His love and friendship to Judas.

27 Judas took the symbol of friendship, but it did not change his mind. Perhaps Judas realized that Jesus suspected him and needed a way to leave. The dismissal provided the opportunity.

Some have speculated that Jesus caused Satan to enter Judas, and he was "forced" to betray Jesus, although he might not have wanted to. This speculation is false, and is a flimsy attempt to justify Judas. Other verses make it clear that this was not the first time Judas had been possessed by Satan (Luke 22:3). It is also clear that Judas made a deal to betray Jesus before the Last Supper (Mat 26:14-16).

29 It would have been an unusual time to make one of these requests, but this demonstrates that the disciples had no idea what was about to happen. Only John knew at this point that Judas would betray Jesus, but he did not know when or how it would happen. He may not have even understood what it meant.
30 Judas did not refuse the symbol of friendship, but he then immediately went out to contact those who would arrest and kill Jesus.

The phrase, "it was night," seems emphatic. Nights were dark and cold, but this phrase might also refer to the condition of Judas' soul. Jesus had also predicted a coming period of darkness, which could readily apply to the crucifixion. Now was the time.

31 God will be glorified when Jesus finishes the work of salvation that will be accomplished on the cross. Despite the darkness of Satan's rule, Jesus' upcoming victory would shine like a beacon.
32 Jesus will be glorified when He is resurrected from the dead.
33 Jesus had said this to the Jews earlier (John 8:21). Jesus was about to die, and then rise and go to heaven. The Jews who did not believe would not be able to follow. The disciples would not follow Him now, but they would later (John 13:36).

Jesus uses an affectionate term, "little children," to refer to His disciples.

34 Jesus left His place in heaven, walked among men who did not understand Him, and died on a cross for them. He did all this to demonstrate His great love. Within the relationships we have with other Christians, it should be easiest to love each other with such selflessness.
35 Jesus says that the love among Christians is the evidence of our relationship with Him. What a tragedy it is when churches are known for their infighting, or they remain empty because people can not find the love they need. It is no wonder the world thinks Christianity is a fraud. It often sees that we do not behave as Jesus told us to.
36 Peter heard Jesus say that He was leaving. This was confusing since, like many others, Peter was expecting Jesus to establish a permanent kingdom in Jerusalem immediately. Jesus' reply is cryptic to Peter. Jesus previously said He was returning to the Father, but does not specifically mention that here. He assures Peter that he will follow later.
37 This response does not mean that Peter understood that Jesus was speaking of His death. It is a promise that Peter would "do anything" for Jesus, even die for His sake.
38 Many people would take this as a flattering statement. However, there is no time for sentiment here. Jesus knew Peter's heart. Peter would start boldly, but would later crumble into cowardice. This is not to condemn Peter. Peter, like every Christian, needs to be broken of those things that hinder our relationship with God. Jesus here predicts Peter's denial, but elsewhere gives assurance that Peter will be restored (Luke 22:31-32).