Devotional Readings, M'Cheyne Bible Reading Notes

John 13 – A New Commandment

John 13:1  Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

I wrote a few days ago about Passover and Easter which are in a fairly rare correlation this year, 2018.

It is interesting that the details John writes about the supper where Jesus teaches about washing the feet and his giving the new commandment, which John will speak much more upon later when he writes 1 John are given here. Furthermore, when we get to chapter 17 we will see Jesus’ prayer to God for his people. here are a few samples of these words.

Before we get to the foot washing, briefly this is what Old John Gill says about the timing in verse 1:

Now before the feast of the passover,…. This feast was instituted as a memorial of the deliverance of the children of Israel out of Egypt, and was an eminent type of Christ; and this passover was what Christ had greatly desired, it being his last, and when he was to express his great love to his people, mentioned here, by dying for them. It was two days before this feast, so the Persic version reads this text, at Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, that the things recorded in this chapter were transacted; see Mat 26:2;

Joh 13:2  And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him;

Joh 13:3  Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;

Joh 13:4  He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.

Joh 13:5  After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

Joh 13:6  Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?

Joh 13:7  Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.

Joh 13:8  Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

Joh 13:9  Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.

Joh 13:10  Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.

Joh 13:11  For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.

Joh 13:12  So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?

Joh 13:13  Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.

Joh 13:14  If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.

Joh 13:15  For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

Joh 13:16  Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

Joh 13:17  If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

Joh 13:18  I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.

Joh 13:19  Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.

Joh 13:20  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

Here are a few more useful insight from Gill:

have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet: by which he does not mean barely, that they should perform this single action; but as this was an instance of humility and condescension, and doing a good office to strangers and travellers, and was afterwards an expression of love to the saints, see 1Ti 5:10, so he would teach them hereby, to behave in a spirit of humility and condescension to one another, to do every kind and good office, and by love to serve one another in all things.

1 Timothy 5:10   (KJV)

10  Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.

If she have washed the saints’ feet; which was usual in those hot countries, where they wore sandals only, partly for refreshment, and partly for the removal of dust and filth, contracted in walking; instances of this we have in several places of Scripture, Gen 18:4. It was such a common piece of civility, that our Lord complains of the neglect of it towards him, Luk 7:44. It was what he did to his own disciples, and in so doing set them an example of what they should do to one another, Joh 13:14 and being a mean and low office, and which very likely was done by the servants of the house; the sense may be, if she has condescended to do the meanest office for the saints.

I know whom I have chosen; not to apostleship, for they were all chosen to that, Judas as well as the rest, but to grace and glory, to everlasting salvation and happiness; of these he was well assured, that they were all clean, pure, and spotless, in the sight of God; were truly regenerated by the Spirit of God, and had an experimental and practical knowledge of the things he recommended by his example, and would be the happy persons he spake of;

We will see this board definition being applied later in this verse:

Joh 17:8  For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

Joh 17:9  I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

Joh 17:10  And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.

Joh 17:11  And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

Joh 17:12  While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

Joh 17:13  And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

Joh 17:14  I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Joh 17:15  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

Joh 17:16  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Joh 17:17  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Joh 17:18  As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.

Joh 17:19  And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

Joh 17:20  Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

Joh 17:21  That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

Joh 17:22  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

Again this may be interpreted as the reflected glory of the LORD spoken of earlier and back in Exodus 34, see my comment from yesterday. But this glory is also mentioned as Jesus gives us this new commandment, note that John will repeat this in 1 John. But John mentions it’s not really new at all when he says it since it was Jesus’ command from the beginning.

Joh 13:31  Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.

Joh 13:32  If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.

Joh 13:33  Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.

Joh 13:34  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

Joh 13:35  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

John 13:34 Gill

A new commandment I give unto you,…. As parents, when they take their leave of their children, in their dying moments, give them proper instructions and orders, and lay their dying injunctions on them, so Christ taking his leave of his disciples, gives them his; which were, that they

love one another: as brethren in the same family, children of the same Father, and fellow disciples with each other; by keeping and agreeing together, praying one for another, bearing one another’s burdens, forbearing and forgiving one another, admonishing each other, and building up one another in faith and holiness: and this he calls “a new commandment”; that is, a very excellent one; as a “new name”, and a “new song”, denote excellent ones; or it is so called, because it is set forth by Christ, in a new edition of it, and newly and more clearly explained, than before; and being enforced with a new argument and pattern, never used before,

as I have loved you; and to be observed in a new manner, not “in the oldness of the letter, but in the newness of the spirit”: besides, though this commandment, as to the matter of it, is the same with that of Moses, Lev 19:18; yet it takes in more, and “new” objects; since by “neighbour” there, seems to be meant “the children of their people”, the Jews; and so they understood it only of their countrymen, and of proselytes at furthest, whereas this reaches to any “other” person; see Rom 13:8; and as the measure, as well as the motive is new, for it is not now “as thy self”, but “as I have loved you”, the Jew has no reason to object as he does (m), to its being called a “new commandment”: and its being “new”, carries in it a reason or argument, why it should be observed, as does also the following clause;

as I have loved you, that ye also love one another; than which, nothing can, or should, more strongly engage to it: as Christ has loved his people freely, notwithstanding all their unworthiness and ungratefulness, so should they love one another, though there may be many things in them observable, which are disagreeable; as Christ loves all his children without any distinction, so should they love one another, whether poor or rich, weaker or stronger, lesser or greater believers; and as Christ loves them not in word only, but in deed and in truth, so should they love one another with a pure heart fervently, and by love serve one another.

(m) R. Isaac Chizzuk Emuna, l. 2. c. 54. p. 444.

1Jn 2:7  Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.

1Jn 2:8  Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.

1Jn 3:23  And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

1Jn 4:21  And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

1 John 2:7 Gill

Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you,…. Some understand this of faith, which this apostle calls a commandment, 1Jn 3:23; but it rather intends the commandment of love, especially to the brethren, of which the apostle says the same things as here in his second epistle, 1Jn 2:5; and this sense agrees both with what goes before and follows after, and is a considerable branch of the commandments of Christ to be kept, and of walking as he walked; and the word “brethren”, prefixed to this account, may direct to, and strengthen this sense, though the Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions read, “beloved”; and so the Alexandrian copy, and others: and this commandment is said to be not a new one,

but an old commandment, which ye had from the beginning; it being in its original a part of the eternal law of truth, founded upon the unalterable nature and eternal will of God, who is love itself, and requires it in all his creatures; being what was written on Adam’s heart in a state of innocence, and a branch of the divine image stamped upon him; and is what was delivered in the law of Moses, for love to God and men is the sum and substance of that; and was taught by Christ and his apostles from the beginning of the Gospel dispensation; and was what these saints had been acquainted with, and influentially instructed in from their first conversion, being taught of God in regeneration to love one another; so that this was no novel doctrine, no upstart notion, no new law, but of the greatest and most venerable antiquity, and therefore to be regarded in the most respectful manner.

The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning; or this ancient law of love is contained in, and enforced by that word or doctrine which was delivered from the beginning of time; and which these saints had heard of, concerning the seed of the woman’s bruising the serpent’s head, which includes the work of redemption and salvation by Christ, atonement by his sacrifice, forgiveness of sin through his blood, and justification by his righteousness, than which nothing can more powerfully engage to love God, and Christ, and one another; and which is also strongly encouraged by the word of God and Gospel of Christ, which they had heard, and had a spiritual and saving knowledge of, from the time they were effectually called by the grace of God: the phrase, “from the beginning”, is left out in the Alexandrian copy, and others, and in the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions; it is omitted in both clauses of the text in the latter.

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