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John 13:3-14

13:3 Because Jesus 1  knew that the Father had handed all things over to him, 2  and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 13:4 he got up from the meal, removed 3  his outer clothes, 4  took a towel and tied it around himself. 5  13:5 He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel he had wrapped around himself. 6 

13:6 Then he came to Simon Peter. Peter 7  said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash 8  my feet?” 13:7 Jesus replied, 9  “You do not understand 10  what I am doing now, but you will understand 11  after these things.” 13:8 Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet!” 12  Jesus replied, 13  “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 14  13:9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, wash 15  not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!” 13:10 Jesus replied, 16  “The one who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, 17  but is completely 18  clean. 19  And you disciples 20  are clean, but not every one of you.” 13:11 (For Jesus 21  knew the one who was going to betray him. For this reason he said, “Not every one of you is 22  clean.”) 23 

13:12 So when Jesus 24  had washed their feet and put his outer clothing back on, he took his place at the table 25  again and said to them, “Do you understand 26  what I have done for you? 13:13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and do so correctly, 27  for that is what I am. 28  13:14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you too ought to wash one another’s feet.

1 tn Grk “Because he knew”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

2 tn Grk “had given all things into his hands.”

3 tn Grk “and removed”; the conjunction καί (kai, “and”) has been left untranslated here for improved English style.

4 tn The plural τὰ ἱμάτια (ta Jimatia) is probably a reference to more than one garment (cf. John 19:23-24). If so, this would indicate that Jesus stripped to a loincloth, like a slave. The translation “outer clothes” is used to indicate that Jesus was not completely naked, since complete nudity would have been extremely offensive to Jewish sensibilities in this historical context.

5 tn Grk “taking a towel he girded himself.” Jesus would have wrapped the towel (λέντιον, lention) around his waist (διέζωσεν ἑαυτόν, diezwsen Jeauton) for use in wiping the disciples’ feet. The term λέντιον is a Latin loanword (linteum) which is also found in the rabbinic literature (see BDAG 592 s.v.). It would have been a long piece of linen cloth, long enough for Jesus to have wrapped it about his waist and still used the free end to wipe the disciples’ feet.

6 tn Grk “with the towel with which he was girded.”

7 tn Grk “He”; the referent (Peter) is specified in the translation for clarity.

8 tn Grk “do you wash” or “are you washing.”

9 tn Grk “answered and said to him.”

10 tn Grk “You do not know.”

11 tn Grk “you will know.”

12 tn Grk “You will never wash my feet forever.” The negation is emphatic in Greek but somewhat awkward in English. Emphasis is conveyed in the translation by the use of an exclamation point.

13 tn Grk “Jesus answered him.”

14 tn Or “you have no part in me.”

15 tn The word “wash” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Here it is supplied to improve the English style by making Peter’s utterance a complete sentence.

16 tn Grk “Jesus said to him.”

17 tn Grk “has no need except to wash his feet.”

18 tn Or “entirely.”

19 sn The one who has bathed needs only to wash his feet. A common understanding is that the “bath” Jesus referred to is the initial cleansing from sin, which necessitates only “lesser, partial” cleansings from sins after conversion. This makes a fine illustration from a homiletic standpoint, but is it the meaning of the passage? This seems highly doubtful. Jesus stated that the disciples were completely clean except for Judas (vv. 10b, 11). What they needed was to have their feet washed by Jesus. In the broader context of the Fourth Gospel, the significance of the foot-washing seems to point not just to an example of humble service (as most understand it), but something more – Jesus’ self-sacrificial death on the cross. If this is correct, then the foot-washing which they needed to undergo represented their acceptance of this act of self-sacrifice on the part of their master. This makes Peter’s initial abhorrence of the act of humiliation by his master all the more significant in context; it also explains Jesus’ seemingly harsh reply to Peter (above, v. 8; compare Matt 16:21-23 where Jesus says to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan”).

20 tn The word “disciples” is supplied in English to clarify the plural Greek pronoun and verb. Peter is not the only one Jesus is addressing here.

21 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

22 tn Grk “Not all of you are.”

23 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

24 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

25 tn Grk “he reclined at the table.” The phrase reflects the normal 1st century Near Eastern practice of eating a meal in a semi-reclining position.

26 tn Grk “Do you know.”

27 tn Or “rightly.”

28 tn Grk “and I am these things.”

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