The Washing of the Disciples’ Feet.* 1Before the feast of Passover,* Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.a 2The devil had already induced* Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over. So, during supper,b 3fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God,c 4he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. 5* Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feetd and dry them with the towel around his waist. 6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Master, are you going to wash my feet?” 7Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later.” 8Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”e 9Simon Peter said to him, “Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.” 10Jesus said to him, “Whoever has bathed* has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over; so you are clean, but not all.”f 11For he knew who would betray him; for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”g
12So when he had washed their feet [and] put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you? 13You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.h 14If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. 15I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.i 16Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger* greater than the one who sent him.j 17If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it. 18I am not speaking of all of you. I know those whom I have chosen. But so that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘The one who ate my food has raised his heel against me.’k 19From now on I am telling you before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe that I AM. 20Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”l
Announcement of Judas’s Betrayal.m 21When he had said this, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, “Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant. 23One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved,* was reclining at Jesus’ side.n 24So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant. 25He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him, “Master, who is it?”o 26Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I hand the morsel* after I have dipped it.” So he dipped the morsel and [took it and] handed it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot. 27After he took the morsel, Satan entered him. So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”p 28[Now] none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him. 29Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or to give something to the poor.q 30So he took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.
The New Commandment. 31* When he had left, Jesus said,* “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32[If God is glorified in him,] God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him at once.r 33My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, ‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.s 34I give you a new commandment:* love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.t 35This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Peter’s Denial Predicted. 36Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?” Jesus answered [him], “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later.”u 37Peter said to him, “Master, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times.”v
* [13:1–19:42] The Book of Glory. There is a major break here; the word “sign” is used again only in Jn 20:30. In this phase of Jesus’ return to the Father, the discourses (Jn 13–17) precede the traditional narrative of the passion (Jn 18–20) to interpret them for the Christian reader. This is the only extended example of esoteric teaching of disciples in John.
* [13:1–20] Washing of the disciples’ feet. This episode occurs in John at the place of the narration of the institution of the Eucharist in the synoptics. It may be a dramatization of Lk 22:27—“I am your servant.” It is presented as a “model” (“pattern”) of the crucifixion. It symbolizes cleansing from sin by sacrificial death.
* [13:1] Before the feast of Passover: this would be Thursday evening, before the day of preparation; in the synoptics, the Last Supper is a Passover meal taking place, in John’s chronology, on Friday evening. To the end: or, “completely.”
* [13:2] Induced: literally, “The devil put into the heart that Judas should hand him over.”
* [13:5] The act of washing another’s feet was one that could not be required of the lowliest Jewish slave. It is an allusion to the humiliating death of the crucifixion.
* [13:10] Bathed: many have suggested that this passage is a symbolic reference to baptism. The Greek root involved is used in baptismal contexts in 1 Cor 6:11; Eph 5:26; Ti 3:5; Heb 10:22.
* [13:16] Messenger: the Greek has apostolos, the only occurrence of the term in John. It is not used in the technical sense here.
* [13:23] The one whom Jesus loved: also mentioned in Jn 19:26; 20:2; 21:7. A disciple, called “another disciple” or “the other disciple,” is mentioned in Jn 18:15 and Jn 20:2; in the latter reference he is identified with the disciple whom Jesus loved. There is also an unnamed disciple in Jn 1:35–40; see note on Jn 1:37.
* [13:26] Morsel: probably the bitter herb dipped in salt water.
* [13:31–17:26] Two farewell discourses and a prayer. These seem to be Johannine compositions, including sayings of Jesus at the Last Supper and on other occasions, modeled on similar farewell discourses in Greek literature and the Old Testament (of Moses, Joshua, David).
* [13:31–38] Introduction: departure and return. Terms of coming and going predominate. These verses form an introduction to the last discourse of Jesus, which extends through Jn 14–17. In it John has collected Jesus’ words to his own (Jn 13:1). There are indications that several speeches have been fused together, e.g., in Jn 14:31 and Jn 17:1.
* [13:34] I give you a new commandment: this puts Jesus on a par with Yahweh. The commandment itself is not new; cf. Lv 19:18 and the note there.
a. [13:1] 2:4; 7:30; 8:20; Mt 26:17, 45; Mk 14:12, 41; Lk 22:7.
b. [13:2] 6:71; 17:12; Mt 26:20–21; Mk 14:17–18; Lk 22:3.
d. [13:5] 1 Sm 25:41.
i. [13:15] Lk 22:27; 1 Pt 2:21.
j. [13:16] 15:20; Mt 10:24; Lk 6:40.
l. [13:20] Mt 10:40; Mk 9:37; Lk 9:48.
m. [13:21–30] Mt 26:21–25; Mk 14:18–21; Lk 22:21–23.
n. [13:23] 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20; Mt 10:37.
t. [13:34] 15:12–13, 17; Lv 19:18; 1 Thes 4:9; 1 Jn 2:7–10; 3:23; 2 Jn 5.
u. [13:36] Mk 14:27; Lk 22:23.