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John 13


Washing the Disciples' Feet The Master Becomes a Servant The Last Supper Jesus Washes His Disciples' Feet The Washing of Feet
13:1-11 13:1-11 13:1-11 13:1 13:1
      13:2-6 13:2-5
  We Also Must Serve   13:10-11  
13:12-20 13:12-30 13:12-20 13:12-17 13:12-16
Jesus Foretells His Betrayal     Jesus Predicts His Betrayal The Treachery of Judas Foretold
13:21-30   13:21-30 13:21 13:21-30
The New Commandment The New Commandment   The New Commandment Farewell Discourses
13:31-35 13:31-35 13:31-35 13:31-35 13:31-35
Peter's Denial Foretold Jesus Predicts Peter's Denial   Jesus Predicts Peter's Denial  
13:36-38 13:36-38 13:36-38 13:36a 13:36-38



This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five modern translations. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.


A. John's Gospel concludes Jesus' signs with chapter 12. Chapter 13 starts the final passion week.


B. The NASB Study Bible's footnote makes the interesting comment "the Greek noun agapē ('love') and the verb agapaō ('love') occur only eight times in chs. 1-12 but 31 times in chs. 13-17."


C. John does not record the Lord's Supper (Eucharist) as do the Synoptics. He does give the only account of the dialogue in the Upper Room that night (chapters 13-17, which is a significant percentage of John's Gospel. It, therefore, must reveal Jesus' person and work in powerful new ways). Some see this omission as a deliberate attempt to downplay the early church's growing emphasis of sacramentalism. John never elaborates on Jesus' baptism or the Lord's Supper.


D. The historical context of John 13 can be seen in Luke 22:24. The disciples were still arguing over who was the greatest.


E. The physical setting of chapters 13-17 is an upper room in Jerusalem (or possibly chpts. 15-17 on the way to Gethsemane, cf. John 14:31), possibly John Mark's home, the night Jesus was betrayed by Judas.


F. There seem to be two distinct purposes in Jesus' act of footwashing.

1. vv. 6-11 foreshadow His work on our behalf on the cross.

2. vv. 12-20 are an object lesson concerning humility (in light of Luke 22:24).



 1Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, 3Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, 4got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. 5Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, "Lord, do You wash my feet?" 7Jesus answered and said to him, "What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter." 8Peter said to Him, "Never shall You wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." 9Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head." 10Jesus said to him, "He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you." 11For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, "Not all of you are clean."

13:1 "before the Feast of the Passover" John and the Synoptic Gospels disagree over whether this was the day before the Passover meal or the Passover meal itself. They both put the meal on Thursday and the crucifixion on Friday (cf. John 19:31; Mark 15:43; Luke 23:54). This Passover meal commemorated Israel's release from Egypt (cf. Exod. 12). John asserts that it was the day before the regular Passover meal (cf. John 18:28; 19:14,31,42).

It is possible that the Essene community used a different calendar (i.e., the solar calendar from the books of Jubilees and Enoch, as a way to show their rejection of the current priesthood), which put the Passover a day earlier.

The Jerome Biblical Commentary summarizes current scholarship (p. 451) and assumes that John's "day before" is correct and that the Synoptic Gospels assert the meal's Passover symbolism. We must always be reminded that the Gospels are not western, cause and effect, chronological histories. History is written in many ways, not right or wrong, not true or false. History is an explanation of the past to serve current issues/needs/perspectives. The real issue is who/why wrote the history. The best discussion of the genre of historical narrative and Gospels is Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, How To Read the Bible For All Its Worth, pp. 89-126.

"Jesus knowing that His hour had come" "Knowing" is a perfect active participle (like John 13:3). Jesus understood His unique relationship to the Father at least from the age of twelve (Luke 2:41-51). The coming of Greeks to see Him in John 12:20-23 showed Jesus that His hour of death and glorification had come (cf. John 2:4; 7:6,8,30; 8:20;12:23,27; 17:1).

"that He would depart out of this world to the Father" The Gospel of John continues to emphasize a vertical dualism, above vs. below (cf. John 13:3). Jesus was sent (cf. John 8:42) by the Father and now He will return. The Synoptic Gospels portray Jesus as teaching a horizontal dualism of the two Jewish ages, the already and not-yet tension of the Kingdom of God.

There are many questions about the Gospels that modern readers must address, but when all is said and done these sacred writings reveal a consistent biblical world-view.

1. there is one holy God

2. His special creation, mankind, has fallen into sin and rebellion

3. God has sent an incarnate Redeemer (i.e., Messiah)

4. mankind must respond by faith, repentance, obedience, and perseverance

5. there is a personal force of evil in opposition to God and His will

6. all conscious creation will give an account of their lives to God

The verb "depart" (metabainō) has the connotation in John's writings of the transition from fallen physical existence (i.e., the old age of sin and rebellion) into the new age of the Spirit and eternal life (cf. John 5:24; 13:1; 1 John 3:14; except for its use in John 7:3)

▣ "having loved His own" This Greek phrase was used in the Egyptian papyri (Moulton, Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament) for "near kin" (cf. Luke 8:19-21).

▣ "who were in the world" John uses the term world (kosmos) in several different senses.

1. this planet (cf. John 1:10; 11:9; 16:21; 17:5,11,24; 21:25)

2. human kind (cf. John 3:16; 7:4; 11:27; 12:19; 14:22; 18:20,37

3. rebellious mankind (cf. John 1:10,29; 3:16-21; 4:42; 6:33; 7:7; 9:39; 12:31; 15:18; 17:25)

See Special Topic: Paul's Use of Kosmos at John 14:17.

▣ "He loved them to the end" This is the Greek word "telos," which means an accomplished purpose. This refers to Jesus' work of redemption for humanity on the cross. A form of this same word was Jesus' last word from the cross (cf. John 19:30), "It is finished," which we learn from the Egyptian papyri had the connotation of "paid in full"!

13:2 "During supper" There is a Greek manuscript variation at this point. The variant involves just one letter in a Greek word.

1. ginomenou, present participle (i.e., during the dinner), MSS א, B, L, W

2. genomenou, aorist participle (i.e., after the dinner), MSS P66, אi2, A, D

The UBS4 gives option #1 a "B" rating (almost certain).

This possibly means

1. after the supper

2. after the first Cup of Blessing, when the procedure required the washing of hands

3. after the third Cup of Blessing



▣ "the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot" This is a perfect active participle. Jesus knew about Judas from the beginning (cf. John 6:70). The evil one (see Special Topic at John 12:31) had been tempting Judas for a long time, but in John 13:27 the devil took full control of him. See Special Topic: Heart at John 12:40. See full note on Judas at John 18:2.

13:3 "Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands" This is a perfect active participle, like John 13:1, followed by an aorist active indicative. This is one of Jesus' astonishing statements on His self-understanding and authority (cf. John 3:35; 17:2; Matt. 28:18). The aorist tense is significant. The Father gave Jesus "all things" before the crucifixion. They were not given solely as a reward for His obedience, but because of Who He was! He knew who He was and washed the feet of those who were arguing over which of them was greatest!

▣ "He had come forth from God" This is the second of three items mentioned in John 13:3 that Jesus knew

1. the Father had given all things into His hands

2. He had come forth from God

3. He was going back to God (cf. John 7:33; 14:12,28; 16:5,10,17,28; 20:17)

The last two are part of the above vs. below dualism so common in John.

Item #2 is a unique phrase in John (cf. John 8:42; 13:3; 16:28,30; 17:8). It has both the inference of origin and place (i.e., Deity from heaven).

13:4 "got up from supper" Remember that they were reclining on their left elbows with their feet behind them, not sitting in chairs.

▣ "laid aside His garments" The plural refers to Jesus' outer garment (cf. John 19:23). It is interesting that this same verb is used in John 10:11,15,17,18 for Jesus' laying down His life (cf. John 13:37). This may be another of John's double entendres. It seems likely that the footwashing was more than just an object lesson on humility (cf. John 13:6-10).

13:5 "wash the disciples' feet" This Greek word was used for "washing only part of the body." The word in John 13:10 was used for an entire bath. Footwashing was the duty of a slave. Even rabbis did not expect this of their disciples. Jesus, knowing His own Deity, was willing to wash the feet of these jealous and ambitious disciples (even Judas)!

13:6 Peter's question was a rhetorical way of refusing Jesus' gesture. Peter often thought he knew what Jesus should and should not do (cf. Matt. 16:22).

13:7 The Apostles, who lived with Jesus, did not always understand His actions and teachings (cf. John 2:22; 10:6; 12:16; 14:26; 16:18). This misunderstanding is a way of expressing the vertical dualism.

13:8 "Never shall You wash my feet" This is a strong double negative which meant "never no never under any circumstances."

▣ "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me" This is a third class conditional sentence. This verse implies that more was happening here than a mere practical object lesson. Verses 6-10 seem to relate to Jesus' work on the cross in forgiving sin.

The second phrase may reflect an OT idiom related to inheritance (cf. Deut. 12:12; 2 Sam. 20:1; 1 Kgs. 12:16). This is a very strong idiom of exclusion.

13:9 The Greek negative particle "not" () indicates an implied imperative, "wash."

13:10 "He who has bathed" Jesus is speaking metaphorically of redemption. Peter has been washed (saved, cf. John 15:3; Titus 3:5), but needs to continue to repent (cf. 1 John 1:9) to maintain intimate fellowship.

The other contextual possibility is that Jesus is speaking of Judas' betrayal (cf. John 13:11 & 18). So the metaphor of bathing refers either to (1) Peter's body or (2) the Apostolic group.

▣ "you are clean, but not all of you" The "you" is plural, referring to the inner circle of disciples, except for Judas (cf. John 13:11,18; 6:70).

"Clean" refers to Jesus' message which they have embraced (cf. John 15:3). They are "clean" because they have believed/trusted/ faithed/received the One who is clean, Jesus.

For the phrase "not all of you," see Special Topic: Apostasy at John 6:64.

13:11 The TEV and NET Bibles put this verse in parenthesis, interpreting it as one of many editorial comments of the author.

 12So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? 13You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. 14If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 16Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. 18I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, 'He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me.' 19From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He. 20Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me."

13:12-20 In contrast to John 13:6-10, here Jesus describes His act as an example of humility. The Apostles were arguing over who was greatest (cf. Luke 22:24). In this context Jesus performs an act of a slave and then explains what it means and how to apply it.

13:14 "If" This is a first class conditional sentence which is assumed to be true from the author's perspective or for his purposes.

▣ "the Lord and the Teacher" Notice the definite article in John 13:13 and 14. Also notice the titles are reversed. He is the One who speaks with authority. He reveals the Father and expects obedience and allegiance! What He does they must mimic (John 13:15).

13:14-15 "you also ought to wash one another's feet" Does this statement mean that this act of humility is meant to be a third church ordinance? Most Christian groups have said, no, because

1. there is never a record of it being done by any church in Acts

2. it is never advocated in the NT letters

3. it is never specifically said to be an ongoing ordinance as are baptism (cf. Matt. 28:19) and the Lord's Supper (cf. 1 Cor. 11:17-34)

This is not meant to imply that this might not be an important worship event.

The "example" that Jesus gave them was not just humility, but sacrificial service (cf. John 15:12-13). 1 John 3:16 states it well! Jesus loves to the end (cf. John 13:1), they must love to the uttermost also (i.e., a life of self-sacrifice, the reversal of the Fall).

13:16 "Truly, truly I say to you" This is literally "Amen, amen" (as is John 13:20). This is a form of the OT term for "faith" (cf. Hab. 2:4). Jesus was the only one (in any Greek literature) to ever use it in this opening position. It usually was said last to (1) agree with or (2) confirm a statement or act. When used at the beginning of a sentence and doubled, it is an authoritative, attention-getting device. See SPECIAL TOPIC: AMEN at John 1:51.

▣ "a slave is not greater than his master" This is an introductory phrase to communicate truths.

1. John 13:16, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him

2. John 15:20

a. if they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you

b. if they kept My word, they will keep yours also 

3. Luke 6:40 (similar), but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher (cf. Matt. 10:24)

4. Luke 22:27 (similar), but I am among you as one who serves


13:17 "If you know these things you are blessed if you do them" The first "if" is a first class conditional sentence which is assumed to be true from the author's perspective. The second "if" in this verse is a third class conditional which means potential action. If we know, we should do (cf. Matt. 7:24-27; Luke 6:46-49; Rom. 2:13; James 1:22-25; 4:11)! Knowledge is not the goal, but Christlike living. This reflects the Hebrew verb shema, "hear so as to do" (cf. Deut. 6:4).

13:18 "the Scriptures may be fulfilled" This refers to Judas. This is the mystery of the intersection of predestination and human free will.

Jesus, and His disciples, believed in the veracity of Scripture! When it spoke it was to be trusted (cf. Matt. 5:17-19). Several times John makes the comment "that the Scriptures may be fulfilled" (cf. John 12:14; 13:18; 15:25; 17:12; 19:24,36). Often the OT text is not fully understood until an event in the life of Christ (i.e., typology, i.e., Hosea 11:1) or the NT event is a multiple fulfillment (i.e., Isa. 7:14 or Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:11).

▣ "HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME" This is a quote from Psalm 41:9. The Oriental custom of eating together as a sign of friendship and covenant heightens Judas' offense. In the Near East to show the bottom of one's foot to another was a sign of contempt.

3:19 This verse shows the purpose of Jesus' miracle signs and predictions (cf. John 20:31). In John, belief is a growing and continuing experience. Jesus is continually developing the Apostles' trust/faith/belief. See Special Topic at John 9:7.

Jesus develops their faith by

1. His words

2. His deeds

3. His foreknowledge

Jesus brought a radical "new" way to be right with God. It cut across these Jewish men's traditions and beliefs.

1. He, not Moses, was the focus

2. grace, not performance


▣ "that I am He" This is a reference to God's name, "YHWH," which is from the Hebrew verb "to be" (cf. "I Am" of Exod. 3:14). Jesus is clearly claiming to be the promised Messiah with divine connotations here (cf. John 4:26; 8:24,28,58; 13:19 and 18:5,6,8; notice Matt. 24:5 and Mark 13:6; Luke 21:8).


13:20 Usually John uses the term "believe" (pisteuō), "believe in" (pisteuō eis) or "believe that" (pisteuō hoti) to designate Christians, (see Special Topic: John's Use of "Believe" at John 2:23), but he also uses other terms such as "receive" or "welcome" (cf. John 1:12; 5:43; 13:20). The gospel is both the welcoming of a person and the accepting of biblical truths about that person, as well as living a life emulating that person.

▣ "he who receives whomever I send receives Me" What a powerful statement of the delegated authority of Jesus' disciples. It can function on several levels.

1. the mission trips of the Twelve (Matt. 10:40) and Seventy (Luke 10:16)

2. the witness of the church (cf. John 17:20)

The message about Jesus has life-changing power unrelated to who proclaims it. The authority is in the message (i.e., gospel), not the earthly message.

   21When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me." 22The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking. 23There was reclining on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24So Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, "Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking." 25He, leaning back thus on Jesus' bosom, said to Him, "Lord, who is it?" 26Jesus then answered, "That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him." So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly." 28Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him. 29For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, "Buy the things we have need of for the feast"; or else, that he should give something to the poor. 30So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night.

13:21 "He became troubled in spirit" Judas' betrayal really upset Jesus (the same word used of Jesus in John 12:27). Jesus chose Judas because of his spiritual potential, but it never came to fruition (cf. John 13:18).

▣ "Truly, truly" See note at John 1:51.

13:22 This is a surprising verse. The inner-circle disciples were afraid that a predetermined plan might make them the betrayer (cf. Mark 14:19). This is the problem with determinism. God's actions do not violate human free will, but accentuates and finalizes its consequences!

13:23 "whom Jesus loved" This seems to refer to John himself (cf. John 13:23,25; 19:26-27,34-35; 20:2-5,8; 21:7,20-24). Chapter 19, John 13:26 confirms this. John's name never appears in this Gospel. Did Jesus have favorites? Well, He did have an inner circle (Peter, James, and John) and a special family (Lazarus, Mary, Martha).

13:25 This context reflects the typical eating arrangements of the first century Palestine. The disciples would be lying at a low, horseshoe shaped table, leaning on their left elbows with their feet behind them, eating with their right hands. John was on Jesus' right, Judas on His left (the place of honor). The reason for the seating order is not given in Scripture. John leaned back and asked Jesus a question.

13:26 "the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him" This was a sign of honor (cf. Ruth 2:14). Judas was reclining on Jesus' left side, which was also the place of honor. Jesus was still trying to reach Judas!

The morsel was a dish of bitter herbs and sauce (see special Topic at John 13:2). The Mark parallel (14:20) states "with me." This is an eyewitness detail confusion.

▣ "Iscariot" See Special Topic below and the notes at John 6:71 and 18:2.


13:27 "Satan then entered into him" This is the only use of the term "Satan" in John's Gospel. It means "adversary" in Hebrew (cf. Luke 22:3 and John 13:2). See Special Topic at John 12:31. Is Judas not responsible because Satan entered into him? There is a tension in the Bible between the actions of the spiritual realm (God hardening Pharaoh's heart) and human responsibility in the physical realm. Humans are surely not as free in their choices as they think. All of us are historically, experientially, and genetically conditioned. Added to these physical determiners is the spiritual realm (God, Spirit, angels, Satan, and demons). This is the mystery! However, humans are not robots; we are responsible for our actions, choices, and their consequences. Judas acted! He did not act alone! But he is morally responsible for his actions. Judas' betrayal was predicted (John 13:18). Satan was the instigator (see SPECIAL TOPIC: PERSONAL EVIL at John 12:31). It is tragic that Judas never fully came "to know" or trust Jesus.

13:29 "Judas had the money box" Judas was in charge of the group's money (cf. John 12:6). See full note at John 18:2.

13:30 "it was night" Is this a time element or a spiritual evaluation? John often uses these ambiguous phrases which can be understood in several ways (i.e., Nicodemus, cf. John 3:2; 19:39).

   31Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him; 32if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately. 33Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, 'Where I am going, you cannot come.' 34A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

13:31-38 These verses form part of a larger context of a series of questions by the disciples (cf. John 13:36; 14:5,8,22; 16:17-19) asked in the dialogue of the Upper Room the night of the Lord's Supper. It is obvious that Jesus' statements about going away caused the Apostles to have many questions based on the their misunderstanding of Jesus' words.

1. Peter (John 13:36)

2. Thomas (John 14:5)

3. Philip (John 14:8)

4. Judas (not Iscariot) (John 14:22)

5. some of His disciples (John 16:17-19)


13:31 "the Son of Man" This was Jesus' chosen self-designation. The background is from Ezek. 2:1 and Dan. 7:13. It implies human and divine characteristics. Jesus used it because the term was unused in rabbinical Judaism, therefore, it had no nationalistic or militaristic implications and it combined His two natures (cf. 1 John 4:1-3).

13:32 There is a Greek manuscript variant in this verse. The longer text is found in NASB, NKJV, NRSV, TEV, and NJB. It is supported by the manuscripts אc, A, C2, K, and the Textus Receptus. It ("if God is glorified in him") is left out in the MSS P66, א*, B, C*, D, L, W, and X. These seem to be the better set of manuscripts. But it is possible that scribes were confused by the parallelism and just omitted the first phrase.

▣ "glorified" The term is used four or five times in John 13:31 and 32-two or three times in the aorist tense and twice in the future tense. It refers to God's plan of redemption through Jesus' death and resurrection (cf. John 7:39; 12:16,23; 17:1,5). Here it refers to the upcoming events in Jesus' life. They are so certain to occur that they are expressed as if they were past events (aorists). See note at John 1:14.

13:33 "Little children" John, writing as an old man from the city or area of Ephesus, uses this same title to address his hearers/readers in 1 John 2:1,12,28; 3:7,18; 4:4; 5:21. Here, Jesus' metaphor is another way to identify Him with the Father. He is father, brother, savior, friend, and Lord. Or to put it another way, He is both transcendent Deity and immanent companion.

▣ "I am with you only a little while longer. . .and as I said to the Jews" Jesus had said this to the Jewish leaders several months earlier (cf. John 7:33); now He says it to His Apostles (cf. John 12:35; 14:19; 16:16-19). Therefore, it is obvious that the time element is somewhat ambiguous.

▣ "Where I am going, you cannot come" The Jewish leaders could not come at all (cf. John 7:34,36; 8:21). The disciples would not be with Him until their deaths. Death, or the rapture, will unite His followers with Him (cf. 2 Cor. 5:8; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).

13:34 "A new commandment I give to you that you love one another" "To love one another" was not a new commandment (cf. Lev. 19:18; for "commandment" see Special Topic at John 12:50). What was new was that believers were to love each other as Jesus loved them (cf. John 15:12,17; 1 John 2:7-8; 3:11,16,23; 4:7-8,10-12,19-20; 2 John 5).

The gospel is a person to be welcomed, a body of truths to be believed, and a life to be lived (cf. John 14:15,21,23; 15:10,12; 1 John 5:3; 2 John 5,6; Luke 6:46). The gospel is received, believed, and lived out! It is lived out in love or it is not lived out!

I like Bruce Corley's statement in his article "Biblical Theology of the New Testament" in the hermeneutics book Foundations For Biblical Interpretation: "Christ's people are characterized by the ethic of love, whereby the 'is-ness' of grace is linked to the 'ought-ness' of love through the work of the Spirit (cf. Gal. 5:6,25; 6:2; James 3:17-18; John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:7)" (p. 562).

13:35 "By this all men will know that you are My disciples" Love is the one characteristic that Satan cannot counterfeit. Believers are to be characterized by love (cf. 1 John 3:14; 4:7-21).

"if"This is a third class conditional sentence which means potential action. Our actions toward other Christians confirm our relationship with Jesus (cf. 1 John 2:9-11; 4:20-21).

 36Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, where are You going?" Jesus answered, "Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later." 37Peter said to Him, "Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You." 38Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.

13:36 "Simon Peter said to Him" This is the first in a series of questions by the disciples about Jesus' statements in John 13:31-35 (cf. John 13:36; 14:5,8,22; 16:17-19). I am so glad these disciples asked these questions and that John remembered them and recorded them!

13:37 "I will lay down my life for you" Peter meant this! But it does show how weak fallen mankind is and how committed our Lord, who did exactly this, is.

13:38 "Truly, truly" See note at John 1:51.

▣ "a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times" This must have been a Roman rooster. Jews did not allow animals in the city because it was holy ground. This is why most wealthy people had gardens (which needed fertilizer) outside the city walls on the Mt. of Olives. The Garden of Gethsemane was one such garden.

Jesus is using prediction to encourage belief in Himself. Even something as negative as this reveals His knowledge and control of future events (cf. John 18:17-18, 25-27; Matt. 26:31-35; Mark 14:27-31; Luke 22:31-34).


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. Why does John not record the actual ritual Lord's Supper?

2. Why did Jesus wash the disciples' feet? Should we wash one another's feet?

3. Why did Jesus choose Judas to be His disciple?

4. How can one really know that he is a Christian?


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