John 13:17
If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
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(17) If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.—The first clause of this verse assumes their knowledge of the things which He had been teaching them (John 13:13-17). They were, indeed, old lessons taught before in word, and now taught in act and word.

The second clause makes their blessedness depend upon their combining action with knowledge. They had known the truth before, but their knowledge had not profited them, and they needed on this very day to be taught them again.

13:1-17 Our Lord Jesus has a people in the world that are his own; he has purchased them, and paid dear for them, and he has set them apart for himself; they devote themselves to him as a peculiar people. Those whom Christ loves, he loves to the end. Nothing can separate a true believer from the love of Christ. We know not when our hour will come, therefore what we have to do in constant preparation for it, ought never to be undone. What way of access the devil has to men's hearts we cannot tell. But some sins are so exceedingly sinful, and there is so little temptation to them from the world and the flesh, that it is plain they are directly from Satan. Jesus washed his disciples' feet, that he might teach us to think nothing below us, wherein we may promote God's glory, and the good of our brethren. We must address ourselves to duty, and must lay aside every thing that would hinder us in what we have to do. Christ washed his disciples' feet, that he might signify to them the value of spiritual washing, and the cleansing of the soul from the pollutions of sin. Our Lord Jesus does many things of which even his own disciples do not for the present know the meaning, but they shall know afterward. We see in the end what was the kindness from events which seemed most cross. And it is not humility, but unbelief, to put away the offers of the gospel, as if too rich to be made to us, or too good news to be true. All those, and those only, who are spiritually washed by Christ, have a part in Christ. All whom Christ owns and saves, he justifies and sanctifies. Peter more than submits; he begs to be washed by Christ. How earnest he is for the purifying grace of the Lord Jesus, and the full effect of it, even upon his hands and head! Those who truly desire to be sanctified, desire to be sanctified throughout, to have the whole man, with all its parts and powers, made pure. The true believer is thus washed when he receives Christ for his salvation. See then what ought to be the daily care of those who through grace are in a justified state, and that is, to wash their feet; to cleanse themselves from daily guilt, and to watch against everything defiling. This should make us the more cautious. From yesterday's pardon, we should be strengthened against this day's temptation. And when hypocrites are discovered, it should be no surprise or cause of stumbling to us. Observe the lesson Christ here taught. Duties are mutual; we must both accept help from our brethren, and afford help to our brethren. When we see our Master serving, we cannot but see how ill it becomes us to domineer. And the same love which led Christ to ransom and reconcile his disciples when enemies, still influences him.The servant is not ... - This was universally true, and this they were to remember always, that they were to manifest the same spirit that he did, and that they were to expect the same treatment from the world. See the notes at Matthew 10:24-25. 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.

He tells them, that it is not the bare comprehension of these things in their notion that would do them any good, unless they brought their knowledge into practice; for to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, it is sin, Jam 4:17. Faith without works is dead, and the knowledge of our Master’s will, if we do it not, doth but expose us to many stripes.

If ye know these things,.... The duties they owed to him, and one another; those kind offices of love and respect to each other; the humility, condescension, and brotherly love, which ought to be in them, and of which he had given them an example:

happy are ye if ye do them; for the bare theory, or a mere speculative knowledge of these things, is not sufficient; not he that knows and does not, but he that knows and does his master's will, is blessed; he is blessed with communion with his Lord, and shall hereafter enter into his joy, with "well done good and faithful servant". There is an happiness "in" doing well, and which follows "on" it, though not "for" it, in a way of merit; on the other hand, persons who know and do not, are very unhappy; the Jews have a saying (a),

, "he that learns but not to do", it would have been better for him, if he had never been created; and says R. Jochanan, he that learns but not to do, it would have been better for him if his secundine had been turned upon his face, and he had never come into the world.''

(a) Hieros. Beracot, fol. 3. 2.

If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
John 13:17. These are obvious first principles in Christian discipleship, but the mere knowledge of them is not enough: εἰ ταῦτα οἴδατε, μακάριοί ἐστε ἐὰν ποιῆτε αὐτά. ταῦτα refers to what Jesus had just declared to be the significance of His action. εἰ οἴδατε, “if ye know,” as you do know; ἐὰν ποιῆτε, a supposition. “The knowing is objectively granted, the doing subjectively conditioned.” Meyer. On the double protasis see Burton, 268. μακάριοι is usually translated “blessed,” Matthew 5:3, John 20:29, and should be so here.

17. happy are ye if ye do them] Better, blessed are ye, &c. It is the same Greek word as is used in John 20:29 and in the Beatitudes both in S. Matthew and in S. Luke. Comp. Luke 11:28; Luke 12:43; Matthew 7:21; Revelation 1:3.

John 13:17. Ταῦτα) these things, which I have done.

Verse 17. - If ye know these things, blessed are ye if ye do them. Knowing and doing are often perilously divorced (cf. Matthew 7:21, etc.; Luke 6:46; Luke 12:47; and James 1:25). The sublime principle by itself may be something, but if it be never put into practice, the last great beatitude is forfeited. Mere admiration of an ethical or a Christian principle degenerating into a heartless and fruitless ceremony is hardening to the heart and deadening to the conscience. The same truths had been taught independently of parable and symbol, in Matthew 23:8-12; Matthew 20:28. John 13:17Happy (μακάριοι)

Better, as Rev., blessed. See on Matthew 5:3.

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