John 13:2-5

2 And supper being ended, the devil having 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 to God,

4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.

5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

Judas (v. 2) — a devil (John 6:70)

put it into the heart (v. 2) = dropped into (Matthew 26:14)

Verse three shows the tremendous love and condescension in what Christ was about to do.

rose from supper (v. 4) = should read “during supper.” This was probably the Passover meal. The Lord’s supper hadn’t yet been instituted.

garments (v. 4) — His long, loose outer robe

girded Himself (v. 4) — took on the form of a servant (Philippians 2:5-11)

Midway through the meal our Lord rose from the table, laid aside His garments, and tied a long linen towel about His waist. In the Eastern culture of the day, a towel girded about the midsection was the sign of a servant or slave. According to Luke’s account (Luke 22:24), we know that at this supper the disciples were arguing among themselves about who was the greatest! While this contentious spirit manifested itself, Jesus put on the badge of a servant. — Comfort, page 211

foot washing (v. 5) — a rite of hospitality (Genesis 18:4; 19:2; 24:32; Judges 19:21) an act of humility and love

water (v. 5) — symbolizes the Word (Psalm 119:9; Ephesians 5:25-26)

There is a difference between the washing of regeneration and the washing for continued fellowship, sanctification, and communion. Our daily contact with the evil all around causes the dust of defilement to settle upon us so that the mirror of our conscience is dimmed and the spiritual affections of our heart dulled. The believer’s initial cleansing cannot be repeated — and does not need to be, for it cannot be canceled. But our daily walk must be brought under review and everything removed that would hinder the full experience and enjoyment of our privileges as children of God. We are human and, therefore, easily defiled by the world. We don’t need to be saved again, but we do need to have the grime of the journey of life washed from us. Ephesians 5:26 speaks of our sanctification and cleansing with the washing of water by the Word. The Word of God is likened to water, and its daily application to our lives keeps us in fellowship with our Lord. — Comfort, page 211


Three things are to be carefully noted here as reasons why He washed His disciples’ feet on this occasion. First, He knew that His hour was come when He should depart out of this world (13:1); second, He loved His own unto the end (13:1); third, because all things had been given into His hands, and He that had come from God was returning to God — for these reasons He arose from the table and girded Himself with a towel. As we shall see, all of this finds its explanation in the Lords’ words to Peter, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me” (13:8). For three years the disciples had had “a part” with Him. But now He was about to leave them; but before doing so He would assure them (and us) that His wondrous love continues undiminished and unchanged after His return to the Father. Christ began a service in the Glory which, in another manner, He will continue forever. The service in which He is now engaged is to maintain our “part” with Him. — Pink, page 298

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