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John Chapter 13


The Gospel of John for Youth
Commentary by Pastor Ron Beckham

John Chapter 13

(Words in red in the Scriptures are the words of Jesus)

Verse 1.  “Now 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.”

Jesus and His disciples (students) were about to eat the Passover meal together (it was called a “Seder”), and He KNEW that He was to die during this Passover Festival.  He would go back to the Father.  He loved His disciples so much (and loves you, too) that He was about to die for them (and for you).

Verse 2.  “During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him,”

We already saw that Judas had been stealing from Jesus and the other disciples (John 12:6) and now we see more.  His attitudes had opened him to the enemy, the devil, who had been listening to the devil (the enemy) who told him to betray (inform on) the Lord.

Verse 3.  “Jesus, 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,”

Jesus KNEW that EVERYTHING was given to Him (including you and me) by God the Father.  He also knew that He was the Son of God, who had come from God the Father and was now going back to Him.

Verse 4.  “got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.”

Jesus and His disciples (students) had just eaten a large Passover Seder (meal).  He stood up, took off his outer robe, picked up a towel and wrapped it around Himself.

Verse 5.  “Then 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.”

Jesus poured water into a container.  In those days, tables were very low and people at meals laid on pillows while they were eating.  One at a time, He reached for the feet of His disciples (students) and began to wash them.

Verse 6.  “So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, ‘Lord, do You wash my feet?’"

Jesus had washed the feet of two or three of His disciples (students) and then He came to Simon Peter, who drew back his feet and asked, "Lord, what are You doing?"  Many are like Peter, who have a hard time RECEIVING from others.

Verse 7.  “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.’”

Jesus was telling Peter, "I know you don't understand what I am doing right now, but you will understand later."

Verse 8.  “Peter said to Him, ‘Never shall You wash my feet!’ Jesus answered him, ‘If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.’" 

Peter was shocked by what the Lord was doing and shouted, "You will NEVER wash my feet!"  Jesus' answer is important for us.  If we are going to love God, we must learn to RECEIVE from Him.

Verse 9.  “Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.’"

Peter did love the Lord very much, and answered, "Yes, I love You, Lord, and if You want, You can wash me in other places, too!"  Peter did not understand, but he did not want to be left out, even though he did not agree with Jesus washing his feet.

Verse 10.  “Jesus 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.’"

If you love Jesus and trust in Him, then you are clean inside, in your heart.  We still make mistakes, but when that happens, we only need to come to Jesus and we are forgiven.  But one of them at the table had not trusted in Jesus.

Verse 11.  “For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’”

Jesus Christ knows our hearts.  We should not try to fool people about who we are, but if we do, we don't fool God.  He knows everything about you and me.  He KNEW that Judas Iscariot was the one who would betray Him.

Verse 12.  “So 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?’”

Jesus had washed their feet and now put His outer robe back on, and laid back down at the head of the table.  He asked them, "Do you know what I have done for you?"  He would die on the cross for them and for you, and the question is, do YOU know what He has done for you?

Verse 13.  “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.”

The disciples (students) had called him "Teacher" ("Rabbi" in Hebrew) and "Lord" (like the English "Sir") many times.  And yes, He is your teacher and mine, and He is the Lord of all.

Verse 14.  “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.”

Jesus is the Lord and He is our God.  He has "washed” us in many ways, but especially He died for our sins that we might LIVE in Him.  He’s done so much that we should we be willing to give up everything for God and for each other.

Verse 15.  “For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.”

So much in the Bible is an EXAMPLE, that we might understand what God wants from us.  By washing the disciples feet, He taught us that we are to follow the Holy Spirit in what we do, and LOVE one another.

Verse 16.  “Truly, 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.”

From God's perspective, you and I are like slaves who deserve nothing.  And yet, He who is Great has given us EVERYTHING!  We are not greater than Jesus - we are far less than He is and yet He GAVE to us.  So should we GIVE to each other.

Verse 17.  “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”

It's time for us to understand what Jesus wants from us.  He wants us to LOVE, both in our hearts, and by doing things for others.  You will be blessed (made happy) if you do what He wants.

Verse 18.  “I 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.’”

A long time before, King David, who was a prophet (someone who tells God's Word to us), said the Messiah (Jesus Christ) would have a false friend who would betray Him ("Lift up his heel" - Psalm 41:9).  Jesus knew His disciples (students) and understood that Judas Iscariot would betray Him.

Verse 19.  “From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He.”

Jesus was telling his disciples (students) things before they happened.  They would not understand, but when things happened just as He said, they would remember what He had said and believe in Him, that He is the Christ, the Son of God.

Verse 20.  “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”

If you believe in Jesus, you will love (do good things) for those Jesus has called and sent to help others.  If you help them, Jesus sees it as though you personally helped Him.

Verse 21.  “When 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.’”

Jesus was upset.  The Holy Spirit had shown Him that one of his special disciples (students) would betray him (turn Him in) to the authorities, and now he told all of them what was going to happen.

Verse 22.  “The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking.”

Jesus' disciples (students) were shocked.  Jesus had just said that one of them was an enemy of God, a traitor, and they began looking at each other - they did not know who it was!

Verse 23.  “There was reclining on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.”

Jesus loves the whole world and died for us all.  But He was a man during His time on earth and needed friends, just like we do.  John the Apostle was one Jesus had a special love for, and the young man was leaning against Jesus at that moment.  

Verse 24.  “So Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, ‘Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking.’”

Peter whispered to John (Jesus' special friend - verse 23) and told him to ask Jesus the name of the traitor (betrayer - verse 18).

Verse 25.  “He, leaning back thus on Jesus' bosom, said to Him, ‘Lord, who is it?’”

Peter had whispered to John and asked him to find out which one would be the betrayer of Jesus.  John listened to Peter and then leaned back toward Jesus.  John softly asked Jesus, "Who IS the betrayer?"

Verse 26.  “Jesus 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.

By giving Judas Iscariot a piece of food at that moment, Jesus was showing His disciples (students) that it was Judas who would betray Him (and them).  

Verse 27.  “After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, ‘What you do, do quickly.’”

Much later, John, who was next to Jesus and would be the writer of the Gospel of John, was shown that Satan entered Judas Iscariot at that moment.  Judas was tired of waiting for Jesus to become king and had decided to be His enemy.

Verse 28.  “Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him.”

Nobody at that table (including John who would later write the Gospel of John), understood what was happening at that time.

Verse 29.  “For 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.”

Judas had been the keeper of the disciples' money for the past three years.  They did not yet know that Judas was a thief who had been stealing from them (John 12:6), and they did not understand he would betray Jesus.  They thought Jesus was telling Judas to go buy something for their meal, or perhaps give money to poor people.

Verse 30.  “So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night.”

When he took the bit of food from Jesus (verses 26-27), Satan (the enemy) entered Judas.  Jesus told him to go and he left immediately.  When they had entered the Upper Room earlier, it was daylight.  Now, John noticed that it was night.

Verse 31.  “Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him;’”

When we think of doing something "glorious", it's more like conquering the world, but for Jesus it was to become your servant.  He was about to die for your sins and mine, and what He did was full of GLORY in the sight of God.

Verse 32.  “if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately.”

God the Father would receive glory for Jesus' death on the cross, but Jesus was doing something wonderful for the world, and we should glory in what He has done.  His disciples would glorify Him, in just a few days, when He rose from the dead.

Verse 33.  “Little 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.’”

To the Lord, we are all like little children.  He is the loving parent who loves us so much that He even died in our place.  He was now going to leave them because He would die.  This was not their time to die, so they could not go with Him.

Verse 34.  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

What does God want from you?  Why, he wants you to LOVE others and to do it in a special way.  He wants to love like Jesus did, when He was here on earth.  He followed God's Holy Spirit in what He did and He was willing to give up everything for others.

Verse 35.  “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.’

What should the church really be like?  How do we know the way Christians are supposed to be?  The answer is right here: The church and its people are supposed to be full of love for one another.  Love in our hearts and love in action - we are to be a people that really cares for others.

Verse 36.  “Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, where are You going?’ Jesus answered, ‘Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.’”

Peter remembered that Jesus said He would be going away (verse 33), and asked, "Where are you going, Lord?"  Peter wanted to be WITH the Lord and Jesus knew that; so He answered, "You can't come with Me right now, Peter."

Verse 37.  “Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, why can I not follow You right now?  I will lay down my life for You.’”

Peter WANTED to go with Jesus RIGHT NOW!  And he said he would die for Jesus, he loved Him so much.  Peter really believed that, too, but Jesus knew him better than he knew himself (see verse 38).

Verse 38.  “Jesus 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.’”

Peter had just said he would die for the Lord, but Jesus knew his heart and told him that before the night was over (before dawn when the roosters would begin to crow), Peter would deny (betray) Him "three times".  Peter was shocked.

Lord, open our eyes to the needs of others. Let us love sufficiently so we will actually enjoy “washing feet” by meeting those needs. We notice, Lord, that Judas’ feet were among those You washed. Help us to love even those who would betray us. We pray that our trust in God will grow and be discernible to others, so they will want you, too. Enable us to really care; to love one another, even as You have loved us. As to the times we have denied You, please forgive us and heal us. Thank You. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

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