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John Chapter 13:1-19 

Memory verse for this week: Prov 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Introduction: In Chapter 12, we saw Christ teaching on how He was the light of the world, and how that He would draw all men unto Him if He was lifted up. We know this was prophetical in that Jesus would soon be lifted up on the Cross of Calvary to pay for the sin debt of the whole world. While some accepted the Lord, the vast majority rejected Jesus as the Messiah due to God blinding their eyes to the truth. 

I. The Last Passover

John 13:1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

All through this study, we have talked about how that Jesus would walk right out of the midst of those who came to take Him, because His time was not yet. Here, the time has finally come. It says that here at the feast of the passover, Jesus realizes that his hour was at hand where He would soon depart out of the old sinful world and go back to the Father. We know that the plan of salvation was not an afterthought with God. Jesus existed in the very beginning (past eternity before time ever began), and He made a pact with the Father that He would come and die in our place to pay the penalty for our sins. How could Jesus exist before He was born? Seems impossible with man, but with God all things are possible.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.

John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

John 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

John 1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.


We see that the time of Jesus’ crucifixiation came at the time of the feast of the passover. This feast was in remembrance of God’s deliverance of Israel when they were in captive in Egypt and God sent the death angel to take the life of every first born who did not have the blood sprinkled on the door posts and the mantle. While the blood of the lamb caused the death angel to passover that home, those of us who have been saved by the blood of Christ are saved from the sting of death. Our old bodies will die, but the soul will live on in eternity in the presence of God when we know Jesus as personal Savior.

Exo 12:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,

Exo 12:2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.

Exo 12:3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:

Exo 12:4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.

Exo 12:5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:

Exo 12:6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.

Exo 12:7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.

Exo 12:8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.

Exo 12:9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.

Exo 12:10 And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.

Exo 12:11 And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD'S passover.


1 Cor 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

1 Cor 15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

1 Cor 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

God gave the children of Israel instructions on how to explain the passover to their children. You and I need to tell our children why we serve the Living God, and why we partake of the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of the death of our Savior.

Exo 12:25 And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.

Exo 12:26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?

Exo 12:27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD'S passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.

John 13:2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him;

John 13:3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;

John 13:4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.

We see that Satan stood ready to move in the heart of Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus. Oh how we need to protect our heart, and to always pray that Satan will have no power in our lives. We that know the Lord are freed from the penalty of sin, but if we let the Devil have a foothold in our lives, we can easily become his servants to do evil. Judas Iscariot, from all the studies I have done on the man, was never a true disciple of the Lord. Jesus spoke of how that one of the 12 had a devil from the beginning.


John 6:70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?

John 6:71 He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.

Mat 26:21 And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

Mat 26:22 And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?

Mat 26:23 And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.

Mat 26:24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.

Mat 26:25 Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.

John 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.

Mat 26:14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,

Mat 26:15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.

Mat 26:16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

II. Jesus Washes the Disciples’ feet 

John 13:5 After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

John 13:6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?

We see the greatest man to ever live come to the disciples with a wash basin to wash their feet. This was what a servant would do his master, and Jesus was setting the example of how he wants you and I to live. Not to ourselves, but to serve mankind. We see Peter asking "Lord, dost thou wash my feet?" He knows that the Master, the Everlasting Eternal One, God manifested in the flesh, should not be washing his disciples feet. It was a lowly job, not one fit for a king. Peter knew it should be he that was washing the Lord’s feet. But Jesus came to us as the lowly, humble servant, and He lived the perfect life of humility, giving you and I the example that we should follow as we put the interests of others before our own. That is not easy, but that is what Jesus did.

J. Vernon McGee had these comments about this verse. "Jesus lays aside His outer garment; that is, He takes off the robe that He is wearing. Then He takes a linen cloth, and He girds Himself with it. This is such a strange thing which He does. He takes the place of a servant. He is girded with the towel of service, and He is ready to wash their feet. In studying Exodus 21, we learn of a law regarding slaves. A Hebrew slave served his master six years, and he could go free on the seventh year. If, during that time, he had taken a wife and had had children, the master would free him but not his family. However, the slave could choose to stay. If he loved his master and his family, he could stay with them. Then the master would back him up to a door post and bore his ear with an awl which would identify him as a voluntary slave forever. Although he could have gone out free, he stayed because of love. Our Lord Jesus came down to this earth, took upon Himself our humanity, and was made in the likeness of a servant. He did all this because He loved us. He could have gone out free, but He died on the Cross to provide salvation for us. He did this to establish a wonderful relationship for us and to make it possible for us to have fellowship with Him. He has become a slave because he loves us."

John 13:7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.

John 13:8 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

John 13:9 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.

John 13:10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.

Here was the greatest of men performing one of the lowliest of jobs, and doing it willingly. I had an email from a person this week who stated that he knew some people who suffered that would make the sacrifice that Jesus suffered on the Cross look like a cakewalk. I responded to that email, and I stated that he didn’t have a clue to the suffering that Jesus went through to buy our pardon on that cruel tree. He was beaten to a literal pulp, to the point that they questioned if he was still a man. Religion today has so misrepresented what Jesus did for us, and we can never serve the Lord enough to pay back what He has done for us. What an example of humility from one who was given all things from the Father.

Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Col 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

Col 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Col 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Col 1:19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;

Col 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

John 13:11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.

John 13:12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?

John 13:13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.

John 13:14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.

Jesus knew that Judas Iscariot would betray him, and by the washing of the feet he was not made clean. We can clean up pretty good on the outside, come and worship the Lord and meet all the external requirements, but our hearts can be far from the Lord. The heart is what counts. Do you know Jesus as your personal Savior. Is He living inside you today? Has the Holy Spirit came and

took up residence inside you? If you are saved, the Holy Spirit dwells within you.

1 Cor 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

1 Cor 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

Jesus asks the disciples if they understood what He had done. He showed them the example that if Jesus washed their feet, they should wash one another’s feet. How important are your brothers and sisters in the Lord? Jesus wants us to put their interests in front of our own.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Rom 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

Rom 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Rom 12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

Rom 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Rom 12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

Rom 12:14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

Rom 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

Rom 12:16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

John 13:15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

John 13:16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

John 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

What an example of humility and life that was lived for one thing…. To do the very Will of God. Jesus came to earth to set us an example of how we should live. Not for the pleasures of this world, but for the purpose of helping our fellow man. He tells the disciples that "The servant is not greater than his Lord; neither he that sent greater than he that sent him." If Jesus so lived as a servant, how much more should we, servants who are not worthy, live before our fellow man with

this type of life. John Phillips, in his book "Exploring the Gospel of John", had this to say about the washing of the disciples’ feet. "You call me Master and Lord: and you do well; for so I am." With that preliminary statement before us we note three swift lessons. There is an exposition (13:14) of practical humility: " If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your fee; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet." Here we have a figure of speech known as a synecdoche, the exchange of one idea for an associated idea. The act of foot-washing stands for all kinds of acts of self-denying love. Some groups have elevated this to a church ordinance, but it is not introduced in the epistles as such (as are the two ordinances of the Lord’s Supper and baptism.) nor does it seem to have been practiced as such until some 400 years after Christ. The reference in I Timothy 5:10 is simply to the custom of washing a guest’s feet when being welcomed into an eastern home. "You ought to wash one another’s feet," Jesus said. It is a call to loving care for others that regards no task as too menial, no service too great. Nothing should stand in our way of ministering humbly to all. There is an example (13:15) of practical humility: "For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you." Jesus laid aside his dignity. He took the lowest place, the place of a slave. He performed a menial task that none of the others was willing to accept. He did it out of love. Can we afford to minister lovingly to others, even at the expense of our cherished dignity?

There is an expectation (13:16) of practical humility: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his Lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him." Many years later Peter wrote a letter to God’s beleaguered with many helpful words for those facing this fiery trial. To younger members of the fellowship, he wrote: "Submit yourselves unto the elder… and be clothed with humility" (1 Pet 5:5). The word he used for "be clothed", means gird yourself with humility." The noun referred to the garment of a slave. The Lord ends by applying the issue (13:17): "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." The world cannot see any happiness in taking such a humble place. But who was the happiest person in that upper room just then? Certainly not Peter, who perhaps was taking himself to task in his heart for not having rushed upstairs before all the others in order to be first at the basin. No Judas, with his ill-gotten gains in hand and filled with alarm lest his next move should be exposed. Surely Jesus was the happiest of them all. Happiness does not consist in knowing, but in doing. It is then that blessing begins to flow and this beatitude comes into its own.

Jesus knew His own chosen believers, and he certainly knew that Satan would lead Judas to betray him. There was prophecy even in Genesis concerning Satan and how he would bruise our Savior. But that is all he could do. One day, Jesus will cast Satan down once and for all.

Gen 3:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.


Jesus knew his chosen believers.

John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Eph 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Eph 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.


1 Pet 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

1 Pet 2:10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

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Prov 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

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