John 13:1-21 _Exegetical insight needed

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Puritan Board Sophomore
I didn't want to hijack the other post on foot washing since it had another purpose in mind than what this post is about. Am I the only one who thinks that the passage is more than a humility lesson.

Here is the passage, with comments and questions below.

1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”

Looking at this passage it seems to speak about more than merely an example of humility. Am I wrong?

Why does the passage start with speaking of God's elect that Jesus loved and then contrasts it with Judas-child of the devil?

From there Jesus told the disciples that what he was about to do they wouldn't understand. How hard is it to understand at least the concept of humility after Christ had been demonstrating that for the past three years?

In the passage Jesus tells Peter that he would not have any part of Him unless he allows Jesus to wash his feet. What does that mean?

Then to tie it back to the beginning of the passage Jesus talks about who is and isn't clean. Then Jesus mentions that he was doing it as an example, but then the passage ends talking about who he has chosen.

Can anyone offer some insight?



Puritan Board Sophomore
Anyone able to help out? Also I just noticed I put this in the NT Epistles and not the Gospel and Acts forum:oops:


Puritan Board Graduate
The passage is rather full to limit it's lessons. Matthew Henry gives the following outline before launching into his commentary:

* * * In John 13:1-17 we have the story of Christ's washing his disciples' feet; it was an action of a singular nature; no miracle, unless we call it a miracle of humility. Mary had just anointed his head; now, lest his acceptance of this should look like taking state, he presently balances it with this act of abasement. But why would Christ do this? If the disciples' feet needed washing, they could wash them themselves; a wise man will not do a thing that looks odd and unusual, but for very good causes and considerations. We are sure that it was not in a humour or a frolic that this was done; no, the transaction was very solemn, and carried on with a great deal of seriousness; and four reasons are here intimated why Christ did this:-- 1. That he might testify his love to his disciples, John 13:1,2. 2. That he might give an instance of his own voluntary humility and condescension, John 13:3-5. 3. That he might signify to them spiritual washing, which is referred to in his discourse with Peter, John 13:6-11. 4. That he might set them an example, John 13:12-17. And the opening of these four reasons will take in the exposition of the whole story
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