13:1 Just before the Passover feast, Jesus knew that his time 1 had come to depart 2 from this world to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now loved them to the very end. 3 13:2 The evening meal 4 was in progress, and the devil had already put into the heart 5 of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, that he should betray 6 Jesus. 7 13:3 Because Jesus 8 knew that the Father had handed all things over to him, 9 and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 13:4 he got up from the meal, removed 10 his outer clothes, 11 took a towel and tied it around himself. 12 13:5 He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel he had wrapped around himself. 13
13:6 Then he came to Simon Peter. Peter 14 said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash 15 my feet?” 13:7 Jesus replied, 16 “You do not understand 17 what I am doing now, but you will understand 18 after these things.” 13:8 Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet!” 19 Jesus replied, 20 “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 21 13:9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, wash 22 not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!” 13:10 Jesus replied, 23 “The one who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, 24 but is completely 25 clean. 26 And you disciples 27 are clean, but not every one of you.” 13:11 (For Jesus 28 knew the one who was going to betray him. For this reason he said, “Not every one of you is 29 clean.”) 30
13:12 So when Jesus 31 had washed their feet and put his outer clothing back on, he took his place at the table 32 again and said to them, “Do you understand 33 what I have done for you? 13:13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and do so correctly, 34 for that is what I am. 35 13:14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you too ought to wash one another’s feet. 13:15 For I have given you an example 36 – you should do just as I have done for you. 13:16 I tell you the solemn truth, 37 the slave 38 is not greater than his master, nor is the one who is sent as a messenger 39 greater than the one who sent him. 13:17 If you understand 40 these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
13:18 “What I am saying does not refer to all of you. I know the ones I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture, 41 ‘The one who eats my bread 42 has turned against me.’ 43 13:19 I am telling you this now, 44 before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe 45 that I am he. 46 13:20 I tell you the solemn truth, 47 whoever accepts 48 the one I send accepts me, and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.” 49
[13:1] 3 tn Or “he now loved them completely,” or “he now loved them to the uttermost” (see John 19:30). All of John 13:1 is a single sentence in Greek, although in English this would be unacceptably awkward. At the end of the verse the idiom εἰς τέλος (eis telos) was translated literally as “to the end” and the modern equivalents given in the note above, because there is an important lexical link between this passage and John 19:30, τετέλεσται (tetelestai, “It is ended”).
[13:1] sn The full extent of Jesus’ love for his disciples is not merely seen in his humble service to them in washing their feet (the most common interpretation of the passage). The full extent of his love for them is demonstrated in his sacrificial death for them on the cross. The footwashing episode which follows then becomes a prophetic act, or acting out beforehand, of his upcoming death on their behalf. The message for the disciples was that they were to love one another not just in humble, self-effacing service, but were to be willing to die for one another. At least one of them got this message eventually, though none understood it at the time (see 1 John 3:16).
[13:2] 4 tn Or “Supper.” To avoid possible confusion because of different regional English usage regarding the distinction between “dinner” and “supper” as an evening meal, the translation simply refers to “the evening meal.”
[13:2] 5 sn At this point the devil had already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, that he should betray Jesus. C. K. Barrett (St. John, 365) thought this was a reference to the idea entering the devil’s own heart, but this does not seem likely. It is more probable that Judas’ heart is meant, since the use of the Greek article (rather than a possessive pronoun) is a typical idiom when a part of one’s own body is indicated. Judas’ name is withheld until the end of the sentence for dramatic effect (emphasis). This action must be read in light of 13:27, and appears to refer to a preliminary idea or plan.
[13:4] 11 tn The plural τὰ ἱμάτια (ta Jimatia) is probably a reference to more than one garment (cf. John 19:23-24). If so, this would indicate that Jesus stripped to a loincloth, like a slave. The translation “outer clothes” is used to indicate that Jesus was not completely naked, since complete nudity would have been extremely offensive to Jewish sensibilities in this historical context.
[13:4] 12 tn Grk “taking a towel he girded himself.” Jesus would have wrapped the towel (λέντιον, lention) around his waist (διέζωσεν ἑαυτόν, diezwsen Jeauton) for use in wiping the disciples’ feet. The term λέντιον is a Latin loanword (linteum) which is also found in the rabbinic literature (see BDAG 592 s.v.). It would have been a long piece of linen cloth, long enough for Jesus to have wrapped it about his waist and still used the free end to wipe the disciples’ feet.
[13:10] 26 sn The one who has bathed needs only to wash his feet. A common understanding is that the “bath” Jesus referred to is the initial cleansing from sin, which necessitates only “lesser, partial” cleansings from sins after conversion. This makes a fine illustration from a homiletic standpoint, but is it the meaning of the passage? This seems highly doubtful. Jesus stated that the disciples were completely clean except for Judas (vv. 10b, 11). What they needed was to have their feet washed by Jesus. In the broader context of the Fourth Gospel, the significance of the foot-washing seems to point not just to an example of humble service (as most understand it), but something more – Jesus’ self-sacrificial death on the cross. If this is correct, then the foot-washing which they needed to undergo represented their acceptance of this act of self-sacrifice on the part of their master. This makes Peter’s initial abhorrence of the act of humiliation by his master all the more significant in context; it also explains Jesus’ seemingly harsh reply to Peter (above, v. 8; compare Matt 16:21-23 where Jesus says to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan”).
[13:15] 36 sn I have given you an example. Jesus tells his disciples after he has finished washing their feet that what he has done is to set an example for them. In the previous verse he told them they were to wash one another’s feet. What is the point of the example? If it is simply an act of humble service, as most interpret the significance, then Jesus is really telling his disciples to serve one another in humility rather than seeking preeminence over one another. If, however, the example is one of self-sacrifice up to the point of death, then Jesus is telling them to lay down their lives for one another (cf. 15:13).
[13:18] 43 tn Or “has become my enemy”; Grk “has lifted up his heel against me.” The phrase “to lift up one’s heel against someone” reads literally in the Hebrew of Ps 41 “has made his heel great against me.” There have been numerous interpretations of this phrase, but most likely it is an idiom meaning “has given me a great fall,” “has taken cruel advantage of me,” or “has walked out on me.” Whatever the exact meaning of the idiom, it clearly speaks of betrayal by a close associate. See E. F. F. Bishop, “‘He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me’ – Jn xiii.18 (Ps xli.9),” ExpTim 70 (1958-59): 331-33.