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John 13:8-10

Context
13:8 Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet!” 1  Jesus replied, 2  “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 3  13:9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, wash 4  not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!” 13:10 Jesus replied, 5  “The one who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, 6  but is completely 7  clean. 8  And you disciples 9  are clean, but not every one of you.”

1 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.

2 tn Grk “Jesus answered him.”

3 tn Or “you have no part in me.”

4 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.

5 tn Grk “Jesus said to him.”

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

7 tn Or “entirely.”

8 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”).

9 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.



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