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Joh 13:1-20. AT THE LAST SUPPER JESUS WASHES THE DISCIPLES' FEET--THE DISCOURSE ARISING THEREUPON.
1. when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out
of this world unto the Father--On these beautiful euphemisms, see
2. supper being ended--rather, "being prepared," "being served," or,
"going on"; for that it was not "ended" is plain from
3. Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, &c.--This verse is very sublime, and as a preface to what follows, were we not familiar with it, would fill us with inexpressible surprise. An unclouded perception of His relation to the Father, the commission He held from Him, and His approaching return to Him, possessed His soul.
5. began to wash--proceeded to wash. Beyond all doubt the feet of Judas were washed, as of all the rest.
6-11. Peter saith . . . Lord, dost thou wash my feet?--Our language cannot bring out the intensely vivid contrast between the "Thou" and the "my," which, by bringing them together, the original expresses, for it is not good English to say, "Lord, Thou my feet dost wash?" But every word of this question is emphatic. Thus far, and in the question itself, there was nothing but the most profound and beautiful astonishment at a condescension to him quite incomprehensible. Accordingly, though there can be no doubt that already Peter's heart rebelled against it as a thing not to be tolerated, Jesus ministers no rebuke as yet, but only bids him wait a little, and he should understand it all.
7. Jesus answered and said . . . What I do thou knowest not now--that
is, Such condescension does need explanation; it is fitted to
8. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash, &c.--more
emphatically, "Never shalt Thou wash my feet": that is, "That is an
incongruity to which I can never submit." How like the man!
9. Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head--that is, "To be severed from Thee, Lord, is death to me: If that be the meaning of my speech, I tread upon it; and if to be washed of Thee have such significance, then not my feet only, but hands, head, and all, be washed!" This artless expression of clinging, life-and-death attachment to Jesus, and felt dependence upon Him for his whole spiritual well-being, compared with the similar saying in Joh 6:68, 69 (see on Joh 6:68,69), furnishes such evidence of historic verity such as no thoroughly honest mind can resist.
10. He that is washed--in this thorough sense, to express which
the word is carefully changed to one meaning to wash as in a bath.
12-15. Know ye what I have done?--that is, its intent. The question, however, was put merely to summon their attention to His own answer.
13. Ye call me Master--Teacher.
14. If I then--the Lord.
16, 17. The servant is not greater than his lord, &c.--an
18, 19. I speak not of you all--the "happy are ye," of
being on no supposition applicable to Judas.
19. I tell you before . . . that when it comes to pass, ye may believe--and it came to pass when they deeply needed such confirmation.
20. He that receiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth me, &c.--(See on Mt 10:40). The connection here seems to be that despite the dishonor done to Him by Judas, and similar treatment awaiting themselves, they were to be cheered by the assurance that their office, even as His own, was divine.
Joh 13:21-30. THE TRAITOR INDICATED--HE LEAVES THE SUPPER ROOM.
21. When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, One of you shall betray me--The announcement of Joh 13:18 seems not to have been plain enough to be quite apprehended, save by the traitor himself. He will therefore speak it out in terms not to be misunderstood. But how much it cost Him to do this, appears from the "trouble" that came over His "spirit"--visible emotion, no doubt--before He got it uttered. What wounded susceptibility does this disclose, and what exquisite delicacy in His social intercourse with the Twelve, to whom He cannot, without an effort, break the subject!
22. the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake--Further intensely interesting particulars are given in the other Gospels: (1) "They were exceeding sorrowful" (Mt 26:22). (2) "They began to inquire among themselves which of them it was that should do this thing" (Lu 22:23). (3) "They began to say unto Him one by one, Is it I, and another, Is it I?" (Mr 14:19). Generous, simple hearts! They abhorred the thought, but, instead of putting it on others, each was only anxious to purge himself and know if he could be the wretch. Their putting it at once to Jesus Himself, as knowing doubtless who was to do it, was the best, as it certainly was the most spontaneous and artless evidence of their innocence. (4) Jesus, apparently while this questioning was going on, added, "The Son of man goeth as it is written of Him, but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It had been good for that man if he had not been born" (Mt 26:24). (5) "Judas," last of all, "answered and said, Lord, is it I?" evidently feeling that when all were saying this, if he held his peace, that of itself would draw suspicion upon him. To prevent this the question is wrung out of him, but perhaps, amidst the stir and excitement at the table, in a half-suppressed tone as we are inclined to think the answer also was--"Thou hast said" (Mt 26:25), or possibly by little more than a sign; for from Joh 13:28 it is evident that till the moment when he went out, he was not openly discovered.
23-26. there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom
Jesus loved--Thus modestly does our Evangelist denote himself, as
reclining next to Jesus at the table.
25. He then lying--rather leaning over on Jesus' bosom.
26. Jesus answered--also inaudibly, the answer being communicated
to Peter perhaps from behind.
27-30. after the sop Satan entered into him--Very solemn are these brief hints of the successive steps by which Judas reached the climax of his guilt. "The devil had already put it into his heart to betray his Lord." Yet who can tell what struggles he went through ere he brought himself to carry that suggestion into effect? Even after this, however, his compunctions were not at an end. With the thirty pieces of silver already in his possession, he seems still to have quailed--and can we wonder? When Jesus stooped to wash his GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - D. J-F-B INDEX & SEARCH