John, Chapter 13 Part 5

The Gospel of John

Chapter 13

Part V


11) For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.

QUESTION: Doesn’t He later, in the following passage, assure all the disciples that they are clean?

John 15:1-4) I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

2) Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every [branch] that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

3) Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

4) Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

ANSWER: Verse 30 of this Chapter tells us that Judas had already left when Jesus makes the statement, “ye are clean” in the above passage.

12) So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?

NOTE: A good sermon, or a good illustration means nothing if your audience doesn’t understand it. The Sermon on the Mount demonstrates that truth. Jesus wanted his disciples/students to understand this important lesson.


13) Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for [so] I am.

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

15) For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

Regarding “ye also ought to wash one another’s feet,”

“The mutual obligation is to do this or any other needed service” [Robertson].

“Jesus here puts the obligation to ministry as a debt under which His disciples are laid by His ministry to them. The word ought is the past tense of owe[Vincent].

“Was He here instituting an ordinance for the church? No, the meaning here was spiritual. He was telling them that they should keep each other clean by constant fellowship over the Word. If one sees his brother growing cold or worldly, he should lovingly exhort him from the Bible” [BBC].

1.      “There is no evidence that Jesus intended it as a religious observance, like the Lord’s Supper or the ordinance of baptism.

2.      It was not observed by the apostles or the primitive Christians as a religious rite.

3.      It was a rite of hospitality among the Jews, a common, well-known thing, and performed by servants.

4.      It is the manifest design of Jesus here to inculcate a lesson of humility; to teach them by his example that they ought to condescend to the most humble offices for the benefit of others. They ought not to be proud, and vain, and unwilling to occupy a low place, but to regard themselves as the servants of each other, and as willing to befriend each other in every way. And especially as they were to be founders of the church, and to be greatly honored, he took this occasion of warning them against the dangers of ambition, and of teaching them, by an example that they could not forget, the duty of humility” [Albert Barnes].

“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, In every possible way to assist each other in attaining that purity; 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” [Wesley].

NOTE: There seems to be, according to these scholars, no historical evidence that foot washing became a Christian ordinance, such as communion and baptism. Rather, let’s be willing to serve one another in the area of genuine needs.


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.

17) If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

QUESTION: Why should we, as Christians, serve those who are no better than we are, as far as social circles go, or those who are beneath us on the social latter?

ANSWER: The very fact that Jesus “served” us by the greatest act of humility ever known to man {God humbling Himself to become a man, then humbling Himself further to allow His creation to crucify Him} indebts us, as Vincent pointed out, to humble ourselves in the service of one another.

NOTE: Again, “amen”ing the sermon and practicing the lifestyle or two very different things. We know this is the right thing; now we need to do it.


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.

Psalm 41:9) Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up [his] heel against me.


19) Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am [he].

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.

NOTE: Jesus wanted His disciples to understand that He know everything, and that He know everyone. He knew that eleven of His disciples would follow Him to their death, and that one of them would betray Him for money.

He comments that when someone receives Him they receive God. The reverse is sadly true: if someone betrays Him, they betray God.

Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church