World Wide Study Bible


a Bible passage

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12 After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

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12-15. Know ye what I have done?—that is, its intent. The question, however, was put merely to summon their attention to His own answer.

13. Ye call me Master—Teacher.

and Lordlearning of Him in the one capacity, obeying Him in the other.

and ye say well, for so I am—The conscious dignity with which this claim is made is remarkable, following immediately on His laying aside the towel of service. Yet what is this whole history but a succession of such astonishing contrast from first to last?

14. If I then—the Lord.

have washed your feet—the servants'.

ye—but fellow servants.

ought to wash one another's feet—not in the narrow sense of a literal washing, profanely caricatured by popes and emperors, but by the very humblest real services one to another.

16, 17. The servant is not greater than his lord, &c.—an oft-repeated saying (Mt 10:24, &c.).

If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them—a hint that even among real Christians the doing of such things would come lamentably short of the knowing.