John 13 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of John 13)

Verse 2

[2] And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him;

Having now — Probably now first.

Verse 3

[3] Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;

Jesus knowing — Though conscious of his own greatness, thus humbled himself.

Verse 4

[4] He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.

Layeth aside his garments — That part of them which would have hindered him.

Verse 5

[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.

Into the basin — A large vessel was usually placed for this very purpose, wherever the Jews supped.

Verse 7

[7] Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.

What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter — We do not now know perfectly any of his works, either of creation, providence, or grace. It is enough that we can love and obey now, and that we shall know hereafter.

Verse 8

[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.

If I wash thee not — If thou dost not submit to my will, thou hast no part with me - Thou art not my disciple. In a more general sense it may mean, If I do not wash thee in my blood, and purify thee by my Spirit, thou canst have no communion with me, nor any share in the blessings of my kingdom.

Verse 9

[9] Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.

Lord, not my feet only — How fain would man be wiser than God! Yet this was well meant, though ignorant earnestness.

Verse 10

[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.

And so ye, having been already cleansed, need only to wash your feet - That is, to walk holy and undefiled.

Verse 14

[14] If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.

Ye ought also to wash one another's feet — And why did they not? Why do we not read of any one apostle ever washing the feet of any other? Because they understood the Lord better. They knew he never designed that this should be literally taken. He designed to teach them the great lesson of humble love, as well as to confer inward purity upon them. And hereby he teaches us, 1. In every possible way to assist each other in attaining that purity; 2. To wash each other's feet, by performing all sorts of good offices to each other, even those of the lowest kind, when opportunity serves, and the necessity of any calls for them.

Verse 16

[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.

The servant is not greater than his lord — Nor therefore ought to think much of either doing or suffering the same things.

Verse 18

[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.

I speak not of you all — When I call you happy, I know one of you twelve whom I have chosen, will betray me; whereby that scripture will be fulfilled. Psalms 41:9.

Verse 20

[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.

And I put my own honour upon you, my ambassadors. Matthew 10:40.

Verse 21

[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.

One of you — The speaking thus indefinitely at first was profitable to them all.

Verse 23

[23] Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.

There was lying in the bosom of Jesus — That is, sitting next to him at table. This phrase only expresses the then customary posture at meals, where the guests all leaned sidewise on couches. And each was said to lie in the bosom of him who was placed next above him.

One of the disciples whom Jesus loved — St. John avoids with great care the expressly naming himself. Perhaps our Lord now gave him the first proof of his peculiar love, by disclosing this secret to him.

Verse 24

[24] Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.

Simon Peter — Behind Jesus, who lay between them.

Verse 25

[25] He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it?

Leaning down, and so asking him privately.

Verse 26

[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.

Jesus answered — In his ear. So careful was he not to offend (if it had been possible) even Judas himself.

The sop — Which he took up while he was speaking.

He giveth it to Judas — And probably the other disciples thought Judas peculiarly happy! But when even this instance of our Lord's tenderness could not move him, then Satan took full possession.

Verse 27

[27] And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

What thou doest, do quickly — This is not a permission, much less a command. It is only as if he had said, If thou art determined to do it, why dost thou delay? Hereby showing Judas, that he could not be hid, and expressing his own readiness to suffer.

Verse 28

[28] Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.

None knew why he said this — Save John and Judas.

Verse 30

[30] He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.

He went out — To the chief priests. But he returned afterward, and was with them when they ate the passover, Matthew 26:20, though not at the Lord's Supper.

Verse 31

[31] Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.

Jesus saith — Namely, the next day; on Thursday, in the morning. Here the scene, as it were, is opened, for the discourse which is continued in the following chapters.

Now — While I speak this, the Son of man is glorified - Being fully entered into his glorious work of redemption. This evidently relates to the glory which belongs to his suffering in so holy and victorious a manner.

Verse 33

[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.

Ye cannot come — Not yet; being not yet ripe for it. John 7:34.

Verse 34

[34] A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

A new commandment — Not new in itself; but new in the school of Christ: for he had never before taught it them expressly. Likewise new, as to the degree of it, as I have loved you.

Verse 36

[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.

Peter saith, Lord, whither goest thou? — St. Peter seems to have thought, that Christ, being rejected by the Jews, would go to some other part of the earth to erect his throne, where he might reign without disturbance, according to the gross notions he had of Christ's kingdom.

Thou canst not follow me now — But Peter would not believe him. And he did follow him, John 18:15. But it was afar off. And not without great loss.

Verse 38

[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.

The cock shall not have crowed — That is, cock crowing shall not be over, till thou hast denied me thrice - His three-fold denial was thrice foretold; first, at the time mentioned here; secondly, at that mentioned by St. Luke; lastly, at that recorded by St. Matthew and Mark.