13:1 Just before the Passover feast, Jesus knew that his time 1 had come to depart 2 from this world to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now loved them to the very end. 3
1 tn Grk “his hour.”
2 tn Grk “that he should depart.” The ἵνα (Jina) clause in Koine Greek frequently encroached on the simple infinitive (for the sake of greater clarity).
3 tn Or “he now loved them completely,” or “he now loved them to the uttermost” (see John 19:30). All of John 13:1 is a single sentence in Greek, although in English this would be unacceptably awkward. At the end of the verse the idiom εἰς τέλος (eis telos) was translated literally as “to the end” and the modern equivalents given in the note above, because there is an important lexical link between this passage and John 19:30, τετέλεσται (tetelestai, “It is ended”).
sn The full extent of Jesus’ love for his disciples is not merely seen in his humble service to them in washing their feet (the most common interpretation of the passage). The full extent of his love for them is demonstrated in his sacrificial death for them on the cross. The footwashing episode which follows then becomes a prophetic act, or acting out beforehand, of his upcoming death on their behalf. The message for the disciples was that they were to love one another not just in humble, self-effacing service, but were to be willing to die for one another. At least one of them got this message eventually, though none understood it at the time (see 1 John 3:16).
4 sn You did not choose me, but I chose you. If the disciples are now elevated in status from slaves to friends, they are friends who have been chosen by Jesus, rather than the opposite way round. Again this is true of all Christians, not just the twelve, and the theme that Christians are “chosen” by God appears frequently in other NT texts (e.g., Rom 8:33; Eph 1:4ff.; Col 3:12; and 1 Pet 2:4). Putting this together with the comments on 15:14 one may ask whether the author sees any special significance at all for the twelve. Jesus said in John 6:70 and 13:18 that he chose them, and 15:27 makes clear that Jesus in the immediate context is addressing those who have been with him from the beginning. In the Fourth Gospel the twelve, as the most intimate and most committed followers of Jesus, are presented as the models for all Christians, both in terms of their election and in terms of their mission.
5 tn Or “and yield.”
6 sn The purpose for which the disciples were appointed (“commissioned”) is to go and bear fruit, fruit that remains. The introduction of the idea of “going” at this point suggests that the fruit is something more than just character qualities in the disciples’ own lives, but rather involves fruit in the lives of others, i.e., Christian converts. There is a mission involved (cf. John 4:36). The idea that their fruit is permanent, however, relates back to vv. 7-8, as does the reference to asking the Father in Jesus’ name. It appears that as the imagery of the vine and the branches develops, the “fruit” which the branches produce shifts in emphasis from qualities in the disciples’ own lives in John 15:2, 4, 5 to the idea of a mission which affects the lives of others in John 15:16. The point of transition would be the reference to fruit in 15:8.