Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
joh 13:1Before the feast - Namely, on Wednesday, in the paschal week. Having loved his own - His apostles, he loved them to the end - Of his life.
joh 13:2Having now - Probably now first.
joh 13:3Jesus knowing - Though conscious of his own greatness, thus humbled himself.
joh 13:4Layeth aside his garments - That part of them which would have hindered him.
joh 13:5Into the basin - A large vessel was usually placed for this very purpose, wherever the Jews supped.
joh 13:7What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter - We do not now know perfectly any of his works, either of creation, providence, or grace. It is enough that we can love and obey now, and that we shall know hereafter.
joh 13:8If I wash thee not - If thou dost not submit to my will, thou hast no part with me - Thou art not my disciple. In a more general sense it may mean, If I do not wash thee in my blood, and purify thee by my Spirit, thou canst have no communion with me, nor any share in the blessings of my kingdom.
joh 13:9Lord, not my feet only - How fain would man be wiser than God! Yet this was well meant, though ignorant earnestness.
joh 13:10And so ye, having been already cleansed, need only to wash your feet - That is, to walk holy and undefiled.
joh 13:14Ye ought also to wash one another's feet - And why did they not? Why do we not read of any one apostle ever washing the feet of any other? Because they understood the Lord better. They knew he never designed that this should be literally taken. He designed to teach them the great lesson of humble love, as well as to confer inward purity upon them. And hereby he teaches us, In every possible way to assist each other in attaining that purity; To wash each other's feet, by performing all sorts of good offices to each other, even those of the lowest kind, when opportunity serves, and the necessity of any calls for them.
joh 13:16The servant is not greater than his lord - Nor therefore ought to think much of either doing or suffering the same things.
joh 13:18I speak not of you all - When I call you happy, I know one of you twelve whom I have chosen, will betray me; whereby that scripture will be fulfilled. Psa 41:9.
joh 13:20And I put my own honour upon you, my ambassadors. Mat 10:40.
joh 13:21One of you - The speaking thus indefinitely at first was profitable to them all.
joh 13:23There was lying in the bosom of Jesus - That is, sitting next to him at table. This phrase only expresses the then customary posture at meals, where the guests all leaned sidewise on couches. And each was said to lie in the bosom of him who was placed next above him. One of the disciples whom Jesus loved - St. John avoids with great care the expressly naming himself. Perhaps our Lord now gave him the first proof of his peculiar love, by disclosing this secret to him.
joh 13:24Simon Peter - Behind Jesus, who lay between them.
joh 13:25Leaning down, and so asking him privately.
joh 13:26Jesus answered - In his ear. So careful was he not to offend (if it had been possible) even Judas himself. The sop - Which he took up while he was speaking. He giveth it to Judas - And probably the other disciples thought Judas peculiarly happy! But when even this instance of our Lord's tenderness could not move him, then Satan took full possession.
joh 13:27What thou doest, do quickly - This is not a permission, much less a command. It is only as if he had said, If thou art determined to do it, why dost thou delay? Hereby showing Judas, that he could not be hid, and expressing his own readiness to suffer.
joh 13:28None knew why he said this - Save John and Judas.
joh 13:30He went out - To the chief priests. But he returned afterward, and was with them when they ate the passover, Mat 26:20, though not at the Lord's Supper.
joh 13:31Jesus saith - Namely, the next day; on Thursday, in the morning. Here the scene, as it were, is opened, for the discourse which is continued in the following chapters. Now - While I speak this, the Son of man is glorified - Being fully entered into his glorious work of redemption. This evidently relates to the glory which belongs to his suffering in so holy and victorious a manner.
joh 13:33Ye cannot come - Not yet; being not yet ripe for it. Joh 7:34.
joh 13:34A new commandment - Not new in itself; but new in the school of Christ: for he had never before taught it them expressly. Likewise new, as to the degree of it, as I have loved you.
joh 13:36Peter saith, Lord, whither goest thou? - St. Peter seems to have thought, that Christ, being rejected by the Jews, would go to some other part of the earth to erect his throne, where he might reign without disturbance, according to the gross notions he had of Christ's kingdom. Thou canst not follow me now - But Peter would not believe him. And he did follow him, Joh 18:15. But it was afar off. And not without great loss.
joh 13:38The cock shall not have crowed - That is, cock crowing shall not be over, till thou hast denied me thrice - His three - fold denial was thrice foretold; first, at the time mentioned here; secondly, at that mentioned by St. Luke; lastly, at that recorded by St. Matthew and Mark.