XIII. 1. Before the feast - Namely, on Wednesday, in the paschal week. Having loved his own - His apostles, he loved them to the end - Of his life.
Verse 2. Having now - Probably now first.
Verse 3. Jesus knowing - Though conscious of his own greatness, thus humbled himself.
Verse 4. Layeth aside his garments - That part of them which would have hindered him.
Verse 5. Into the basin - A large vessel was usually placed for this very purpose, wherever the Jews supped.
Verse 7. What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter - We do not now know perfectly any of his works, either of creation, providence, or grace. It is enough that we can love and obey now, and that we shall know hereafter.
Verse 8. If I wash thee not - If thou dost not submit to my will, thou hast no part with me - Thou art not my disciple. In a more general sense it may mean, If I do not wash thee in my blood, and purify thee by my Spirit, thou canst have no communion with me, nor any share in the blessings of my kingdom.
Verse 9. Lord, not my feet only - How fain would man be wiser than God! Yet this was well meant, though ignorant earnestness.
Verse 10. And so ye, having been already cleansed, need only to wash your feet - That is, to walk holy and undefiled.
Verse 14. 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, 1. In every possible way to assist each other in attaining that purity; 2. 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.
Verse 16. The servant is not greater than his lord - Nor therefore ought to think much of either doing or suffering the same things.
Verse 18. I speak not of you all - When I call you happy, I know one of you twelve whom I have chosen, will betray me; whereby that scripture will be fulfilled. Psalms 41:9.
Verse 20. And I put my own honour upon you, my ambassadors. Matthew 10:40.
Verse 21. One of you - The speaking thus indefinitely at first was profitable to them all.
Verse 23. There was lying in the bosom of Jesus - That is, sitting next to him at table. This phrase only expresses the then customary posture at meals, where the guests all leaned sidewise on couches. And each was said to lie in the bosom of him who was placed next above him. One of the disciples whom Jesus loved - St. John avoids with great care the expressly naming himself. Perhaps our Lord now gave him the first proof of his peculiar love, by disclosing this secret to him.
Verse 24. Simon Peter - Behind Jesus, who lay between them.
Verse 25. Leaning down, and so asking him privately.
Verse 26. Jesus answered - In his ear. So careful was he not to offend (if it had been possible) even Judas himself. The sop - Which he took up while he was speaking. He giveth it to Judas - And probably the other disciples thought Judas peculiarly happy! But when even this instance of our Lord's tenderness could not move him, then Satan took full possession.
Verse 27. What thou doest, do quickly - This is not a permission, much less a command. It is only as if he had said, If thou art determined to do it, why dost thou delay? Hereby showing Judas, that he could not be hid, and expressing his own readiness to suffer.
Verse 28. None knew why he said this - Save John and Judas.
Verse 30. He went out - To the chief priests. But he returned afterward, and was with them when they ate the passover, Matthew 26:20, though not at the Lord's Supper.
Verse 31. Jesus saith - Namely, the next day; on Thursday, in the morning. Here the scene, as it were, is opened, for the discourse which is continued in the following chapters. Now - While I speak this, the Son of man is glorified - Being fully entered into his glorious work of redemption. This evidently relates to the glory which belongs to his suffering in so holy and victorious a manner.
Verse 33. Ye cannot come - Not yet; being not yet ripe for it. John 7:34.
Verse 34. A new commandment - Not new in itself; but new in the school of Christ: for he had never before taught it them expressly. Likewise new, as to the degree of it, as I have loved you.
Verse 36. Peter saith, Lord, whither goest thou? - St. Peter seems to have thought, that Christ, being rejected by the Jews, would go to some other part of the earth to erect his throne, where he might reign without disturbance, according to the gross notions he had of Christ's kingdom. Thou canst not follow me now - But Peter would not believe him. And he did follow him, John 18:15. But it was afar off. And not without great loss.
Verse 38. The cock shall not have crowed - That is, cock crowing shall not be over, till thou hast denied me thrice - His three-fold denial was thrice foretold; first, at the time mentioned here; secondly, at that mentioned by St. Luke; lastly, at that recorded by St. Matthew and Mark.