The Berean Expositor
Volume 1 - Page 21 of 111
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Berean Expositor Volume 1
Clean every whit.
"He needeth not save to wash his feet" (John 13: 10).
pp. 35-37
The thirteenth chapter of John's Gospel marks an important division. The first twelve
chapters deal with the Lord's public witness, with its reception on the part of the few, and
its rejection on the part of the many. Chapter 1: 11 says, "He came unto His own, and His
own received Him not." Chapter 13: 1 says, ". . Having loved His own which were in
the world, He loved them unto the end." These "His own," differ from those in 1: 11, for
these had received Him, whilst His closing words in chapter 12: 48-50 are concerning
those had rejected Him.
The incident that occupies the opening verses of chapter 13: is well known to most of
us, and we particularly wish to draw attention to two of the impetuous remarks of Peter,
and the Lord's answers to them, for our own edification. The Lord, by girding Himself
with a towel, took the lowest place of all, that of the menial slave. Truly "He came not to
be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many." It will be
remembered that Luke 22: 24 records that at the supper "there was also a strife among
them, which of them should be accounted the greatest." Possibly the facts that upon
taking their places for the Passover some must necessarily have been found nearer, and
some further, from the Lord's person than others, may have caused this argument to have
arisen.  The Lord Jesus listened to their words, and in His marvellous love and
condescension gave them an impressive rebuke by His lowly action. Think for a moment
of the utter depths brought out by reading verses 3 and 4 together. Though--
"Jesus knew that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come
from God (the Apostle), and went to God (and Great High Priest of our profession), yet
He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments, and took a towel, and girded
"(He) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not a thing to be grasped at to be
equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a
servant, and made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, He
humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phil. 2:
It seems that no one had volunteered to do the lowly office of washing the feet, and so
the Lord Himself stoops down and girds Himself; what a picture of His wonderful grace
in our salvation. Not a sound is heard from any until the Lord reaches Peter. He could
not keep silent, "Lord, dost Thou wash my feet? . . . . Thou shalt never wash my feet."
The difference between the unworthy Peter and the gracious Lord was too much for him;
he felt if others said nothing, he must. The Lord Jesus, pausing in His lowly work,
looked at Peter and said, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part (no portion) with Me." All
Peter's qualms fled before the prospect of not having a part with his beloved Master, and
he more than undoes what he had previously said by exclaiming, "Lord, not my feet only,