|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:1-17 Our Lord Jesus has a people in the world that are his own; he has purchased them, and paid dear for them, and he has set them apart for himself; they devote themselves to him as a peculiar people. Those whom Christ loves, he loves to the end. Nothing can separate a true believer from the love of Christ. We know not when our hour will come, therefore what we have to do in constant preparation for it, ought never to be undone. What way of access the devil has to men's hearts we cannot tell. But some sins are so exceedingly sinful, and there is so little temptation to them from the world and the flesh, that it is plain they are directly from Satan. Jesus washed his disciples' feet, that he might teach us to think nothing below us, wherein we may promote God's glory, and the good of our brethren. We must address ourselves to duty, and must lay aside every thing that would hinder us in what we have to do. Christ washed his disciples' feet, that he might signify to them the value of spiritual washing, and the cleansing of the soul from the pollutions of sin. Our Lord Jesus does many things of which even his own disciples do not for the present know the meaning, but they shall know afterward. We see in the end what was the kindness from events which seemed most cross. And it is not humility, but unbelief, to put away the offers of the gospel, as if too rich to be made to us, or too good news to be true. All those, and those only, who are spiritually washed by Christ, have a part in Christ. All whom Christ owns and saves, he justifies and sanctifies. Peter more than submits; he begs to be washed by Christ. How earnest he is for the purifying grace of the Lord Jesus, and the full effect of it, even upon his hands and head! Those who truly desire to be sanctified, desire to be sanctified throughout, to have the whole man, with all its parts and powers, made pure. The true believer is thus washed when he receives Christ for his salvation. See then what ought to be the daily care of those who through grace are in a justified state, and that is, to wash their feet; to cleanse themselves from daily guilt, and to watch against everything defiling. This should make us the more cautious. From yesterday's pardon, we should be strengthened against this day's temptation. And when hypocrites are discovered, it should be no surprise or cause of stumbling to us. Observe the lesson Christ here taught. Duties are mutual; we must both accept help from our brethren, and afford help to our brethren. When we see our Master serving, we cannot but see how ill it becomes us to domineer. And the same love which led Christ to ransom and reconcile his disciples when enemies, still influences him.
Verse 3. - Knowing - a significant hint of the complex wonder of the Lord's Person. John felt at this moment that the consciousness of Jesus was receding into the eternal self-consciousness of the Logos when he thus ventures to speak - that the Father - in the great act of his generation - gave all things into his hands, and that he came forth (ἀπὸ) from God, and was going back (or, away) to God, in the glory of his incarnation and the mystery of his death and resurrection. The whole of the incarnate ministry of Jesus was a separation, to some extent, from God, just as the close of it, in the death and resurrection, was a return to the glory which he had with the Father before all worlds. We must admit the extraordinary quality of the evangelist's assertion. He here throws back into the majestic manner of the Christ the hints which the subsequent discourse of our Lord must have given him of the Divine greatness which flashed at times from his sacred Person, and conferred a boundless significance on the subsequent act of humiliation. Christ gave the highest proof of his Divine self-consciousness in this display of his condescending love, this voluntary abasement to the lowest place in the household of faith. The use of εἰδὼς twice ever (vers. 1 and 3) is contrasted with the γνώσῃ of ver. 7. The vast confessions here made are declared to be matters of absolute intuitive knowledge, not the results of long experience. Christ did not "come to know;" he "knew" all these facts about himself. It must not be supposed that this was a theological idea which came into the writer's mind afterwards. St. Paul, in the Epistle to the Philippians (Philippians 2:6-8), had adequately grasped the same thought long before St. John penned this Gospel (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:9).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Jesus knowing that the Father,.... These words express the sense Christ had of his own greatness and dignity as Mediator:
had given all things into his hands; all the persons of the elect, all blessings both of grace and glory for them, and power and authority over all other persons and things, to make them subservient to his purposes:
and that he was come from God; had his mission and commission, as man, from God; did not come of himself, but he sent him:
and went to God; or was going to him in a very little time, to sit at his right hand, to have a name above every name, and to have angels, authorities, and powers subject to him; which, as it shows his high esteem with his Father, and his exalted character as Mediator, so it greatly illustrates his wonderful humility, that in the view, and under a sense and consideration of all this, he should condescend to wash the feet of his disciples; of which an account is given in the following verses.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, &c.—This verse is very sublime, and as a preface to what follows, were we not familiar with it, would fill us with inexpressible surprise. An unclouded perception of His relation to the Father, the commission He held from Him, and His approaching return to Him, possessed His soul.
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