John 13:1
It was now just before the Passover Feast, and Jesus knew that His hour had come to leave this world and return to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the very end.
Christ's Constancy of LoveJ.R. Thomson John 13:1
Jesus Loving to the EndB. Thomas John 13:1
A Clear View of Life's MysteriesJohn 13:1-19
A Great and Solemn HourG. F. Pentecost.John 13:1-19
A Three-Fold MarvelT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 13:1-19
All Light GoodBishop Temple.John 13:1-19
At Best Our Knowledge of God's Designs is FragmentaryT. Adams.John 13:1-19
Christ a MasterW. Anderson, LL. D.John 13:1-19
Christ an All-Round ExampleC. H. Spurgeon.John 13:1-19
Christ Our ExampleC. Hodge, D. D.John 13:1-19
Christ Our ExampleJ. Trapp.John 13:1-19
Christ Our Example not Our ModelF. W. Robertson, M. A.John 13:1-19
Christ Our Master and LordW. Jay.John 13:1-19
Christ the Supreme ExampleW. Baxendale.John 13:1-19
Christ Washing the Feet of His DisciplesD. Thomas, D. D.John 13:1-19
Christian PurityE. L. Hull, B. A.John 13:1-19
Christian Service Should be Rendered ConstantlyH. C. Trumbull, D. D.John 13:1-19
Christian Service Should be Rendered LovinglyJohn 13:1-19
Christ's an Unchanging LoveT. Guthrie, D. D.John 13:1-19
Christ's DeathD. Thomas, D. D.John 13:1-19
Christ's Example Gradually ImitatedW. Baxendale.John 13:1-19
Christ's HourT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 13:1-19
Christ's KnowledgeT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 13:1-19
Christ's Love for His OwnW. Bengo Collyer, D. D.John 13:1-19
Christ's Love of His OwnJ. Jackson Wray.John 13:1-19
Christ's Love to His OwnA. Raleigh, D. D.John 13:1-19
Christ's Love unto the EndW. Braden.John 13:1-19
Christ's MissionJ. W. Burn., Bp. Ryle.John 13:1-19
Christ's Transcendent LoveH. W. Beecher.John 13:1-19
Clean Every WhitJohn Milne.John 13:1-19
Communion with the Saviour Inseparable from HolinessW. Jay., T. Whitelaw, D. D.John 13:1-19
Existing Ignorance and Approaching KnowledgeHomilistJohn 13:1-19
Extremes in Christ's LifeJ. W. Burn.John 13:1-19
God's Work in Our BehalfGeorge Elliot.John 13:1-19
Great Principles and Small DutiesJ. Martineau, LL. D.John 13:1-19
Hereafter, not NowDean Vaughan.John 13:1-19
Humility IllustratedJohn 13:1-19
Ignorance and KnowledgeH. H. Dobney.John 13:1-19
Imitation of Christ in SacrificeH. W. Beecher.John 13:1-19
Influence of ExampleT. De Witt Talmage, D. D.John 13:1-19
Jesus Loving His Own that Were in the WorldC. Ross.John 13:1-19
Jesus Teaching HumilityT. D. Witherspoon, D. D.John 13:1-19
Jesus Teaching HumilityJ. Pulsford.John 13:1-19
Jesus Washing His Disciples' FeetC. H. Spurgeon.John 13:1-19
Knowing and DoingW. M. Punshon, LL. D.John 13:1-19
Knowing and DoingJohn 13:1-19
Knowing and DoingS. S. TimesJohn 13:1-19
Knowledge and ObedienceT. Kidd.John 13:1-19
Knowledge and Practice Necessary in ReligionAbp. Tillotson.John 13:1-19
Love in the Face of DiscouragementD. L. Moody.John 13:1-19
Parody of the Foot WashingC. Stanford, D. D.John 13:1-19
Present Ignorance and Future IlluminationJ. Parsons.John 13:1-19
Present Mysteries, Future SolutionsHomiletic MonthlyJohn 13:1-19
Reasons for SubmissionFamily ChurchmanJohn 13:1-19
Rectified Knowledge in the Future StateH. Melvill, B. D.John 13:1-19
Religion Essentially PracticalMatthew Arnold.John 13:1-19
Reminiscences of the Foot WashingC. Stanford, D. D.John 13:1-19
Sceptical Testimony to Christ's ExampleJ. S. Mill.John 13:1-19
Self-Propagating Power of ExampleH. Melvill.John 13:1-19
Spiritual BathingHomiletic MonthlyJohn 13:1-19
Spiritual WashingS. S. TimesJohn 13:1-19
Spiritual WashingsS. S. TimesJohn 13:1-19
The Blessedness of DutyJ. G. Jones, D. D.John 13:1-19
The Changeless FriendGotthold.John 13:1-19
The Changeless Love of ChristH. W. Beecher.John 13:1-19
The Christian a ServantJohn 13:1-19
The Comfort of DutyD. G. Watt, M. A.John 13:1-19
The Connection Between a Sinner Having a Part with Christ and Being Washed by HimT. Boston, D. D.John 13:1-19
The Constancy of Christ's LovePercy.John 13:1-19
The Divine LoveH. W. Beecher.John 13:1-19
The Divine Love Does not Fail When Man FailsJohn 13:1-19
The Example of ChristH. Kollock, D. D.John 13:1-19
The Faithfulness of JesusC. H. Spurgeon., Archdeacon Watkins.John 13:1-19
The Family LikenessNew Testament AnecdotesJohn 13:1-19
The Good PractitionerJohn 13:1-19
The Great GiftS. S. Times., S. S. TimesJohn 13:1-19
The Great Love of Christ for His OwnJ. A. Seiss, D. D.John 13:1-19
The Helpfulness of Christ as MasterJ. M. Randall.John 13:1-19
The Imitation of ChristJohn 13:1-19
The Importance of HumilityT. D. Witherspoon, D. D.John 13:1-19
The Inscrutable Character of the Divine DispensationsThe EvangelistJohn 13:1-19
The Love of the Departing ChristA. Maclaren, D. D.John 13:1-19
The Method by Which We Become Christ's OwnJ. Culross, D. D.John 13:1-19
The Next Life an Interpreter of ThisH. W. Beecher.John 13:1-19
The Night-Flowering CereusJohn 13:1-19
The Patient Waiting and Obedience of FaithA. Bell, B. A.John 13:1-19
The Perfection of Christ's ExampleA. Maclaren, D. D.John 13:1-19
The Perfection of Christ's LoveW. Baxendale.John 13:1-19
The Present Obscure Because UnfinishedW. Hamma, D. D.John 13:1-19
The Reciprocal Relations and Blessedness of Knowing and DoingJohn Smith, M. A.John 13:1-19
The Secret of a Happy LifeJ. Vaughan, M. A.John 13:1-19
The Sign of the Feet WashingW. B. Pope, D. D.John 13:1-19
The Sine Qua NonC. H. Spurgeon.John 13:1-19
The Strangeness of Our Lord's ProcedureJ. L. Nye.John 13:1-19
The Teaching of the Foot WashingC. H. Spurgeon.John 13:1-19
The Union in Christ of Precept and ExampleG. Chandler, LL. D.John 13:1-19
The Universality of Christ's MastershipJohn Burton.John 13:1-19
The Unknown Ways of LoveC. H. Spurgeon.John 13:1-19
The Washing of Peter's FeetHomilistJohn 13:1-19
Uncertain FriendshipJohn 13:1-19
Washing the Disciples' FeetNehemiah Boynton.John 13:1-19
Washing the Disciples' FeetBoston HomiliesJohn 13:1-19
WhatS. S. TimesJohn 13:1-19
What Christ Requires of His DisciplesD. Thomas, D. D.John 13:1-19
What I DoJ. Jackson Wray.John 13:1-19

If there is any time when a man's attention is presumed to be necessarily and properly directed to himself, that time is the time when danger is present and when death approaches. But when our Savior's hour was come, when the shadow of the cross fell athwart his path, he seems to have been signally unselfish in all his actions, and disinterested in his very thoughts. Humiliation, suffering, and death were immediately before him; but it is beautiful, instructive, encouraging to see how warmly his heart beat for his friends, and how anxious he was to use the closing days of his ministry for their spiritual profit. These words reveal to us Christ's constancy of love.

I. ITS OBJECTS. Whom did he love, and love unto the end?

1. They were "his own," i.e. those who were called and chosen by him, who were loved and purchased by him. His own possession and property, his own spiritual kin, these friends of Jesus were attached and devoted to him, conformed to his character, participators in his spirit.

2. They were "in the world." This expression is significant, as implying that Christ's disciples were the objects of his affection, notwithstanding that they were encompassed by life's difficulties and temptations, notwithstanding that in their character they bore traces of this world's influences and assaults.

3. The language used is applicable to others beside the immediate disciples of our Lord. He felt towards others and prayed for others (John 17.) as he felt towards the twelve and prayed for them. All are "his own" who truly trust and love and obey him; and all his own have an interest in his purposes of pity and of grace.

II. ITS WONDER. Marvelous indeed is it that the affection of Jesus should outlast the many trials to which it was put by his disciples, to which it has been put by all of us. There was very much in his followers which was fitted to check, to kill, the love of Jesus.

"Could we bear from one another
What he daily bears from us?
Yet this glorious Friend and Brother
Loves us, though we treat him thus!
Though for good- we render ill,
He accounts us brethren still." His own were:

1. Slow to understand his teaching.

2. Slow to appreciate his nature and his mission.

3. Unworthy in their character of his fellowship and his Name.

4. Inconstant, as was shown by their afterwards forsaking him in the depth of his distress and humiliation.

Amazing was the love which endured when so tried! Amazing is the love which we and all Christ's people have experienced from him, notwithstanding our unfaithfulness and coldness!


1. The constancy of our Savior's affection is not attributable to any qualities in his disciples, which could deserve and retain his interest and attachment. So far as we are concerned, our need, our dependence upon him, are all that have to be taken into account. If Jesus were not faithful to us, where would be our strength, our safety, our hope?

2. For the explanation of this marvelous constancy we must look to Christ's own character, to his faithful, unchanging nature, free from every caprice, from every unkindness. It is his nature to love, and to love without fickleness or weariness.


1. In the lessons he taught. Christ's was a love that first and chiefly contemplated the highest good of its objects. His aim has ever been the spiritual welfare of those whom he befriends, he teaches

(1) by words;

(2) by symbols,

as in the context, where, first by washing the disciples' feet, and then by instituting the Lord's Supper, he evinces his affectionate interest in his disciples' well-being by imparting to them pictorial and sacramental lessons which were intended to perpetuate to all generations the memory and the blessing of his unchanging love.

2. In the sufferings and death to which he was about to submit. Only constant, unchanging friendship could account for our Lord's willingness to lay down his life for his own. And no one who studies this record can doubt that the sacrifice was willing and cheerful; that our Lord, the good Shepherd, "laid down his life for the sheep."

V. ITS DURATION. "To the end," says John the evangelist, who had good reason to know the Master well. To the approaching end of his own earthly ministry and life, and to the end of his disciples' period of probation and of education. Christ's love is "faithful, free, and knows no end." It is not only mighty; it is immortal. T.

Now before the feast of the Passover.
I. A MARVELLOUS LOVE: that of Christ for His own. Marvellous in respect of —

1. Its time.(1) Before the feast of the Passover, when His thoughts might have been occupied with its memories.(2) Before His departure, when He might have been absorbed in the contemplation of death or the heaven beyond.(3) Before His exaltation, when the vision of the coming glory might have fixed His Spirit's eye.

2. Its intensity — "unto the end."(1) To the uttermost, or in the highest degree, with a love passing knowledge (Ephesians 3:19), which many waters (of affliction) could not quench, nor floods (of sorrow) drown (Song of Solomon 8:9).(2) To the latest moment of His life, with a love which, as it had been without beginning, so also would it be without end (Jeremiah 31:8).(3) At the last, surpassing every previous demonstration and stooping even unto death for its objects (John 15:13; 1 John 3:16; Romans 5:8).

3. Its reason. While He was departing from, they were remaining in the world, exposed to the enmity and evil He was escaping. The thought of their feebleness and defencelessness, and their sufferings and imperfections, added fuel to the fire of His affection (Hebrews 4:15).

II. A MARVELLOUS DEED (ver. 5). An act of —

1. Amazing condescension, considering —(1) Its nature — the work of a slave (1 Samuel 25:41).(2) His dignity — the Incarnate Son, conscious of His heavenly origin and destiny (ver. 3), on the eve of grasping the sceptre of the universe (Matthew 28:18).(3) The objects — frail and erring men and one of them a traitor. Had Christ been only man He would have spurned Judas: being God, He loved him and even washed his feet.

2. Sublime significance. Symbolic —(1) Of Christ's self-abasement who, in order to effect the spiritual cleansing of His people, laid aside the form of God, assumed the garment of humanity, and poured His purifying blood from the cross (Philippians 2:7, 8; 1 John 1:7).(2) Of the working of regeneration through which sin's defilement is removed (Ephesians 5:26; Titus 3:5).(3) Of the daily cleansing which the renewed need (Psalm 51:7; 1 John 1:9).

III. A MARVELLOUS OBLIGATION (vers. 14, 15). Christ's example calls His disciples to —

1. Personal humility. If the Lord and Master could stoop and wash the feet of a Judas, it ill became them to be puffed up with thoughts of their own greatness (Romans 12:3; Luke 22:27; Matthew 9:29; 1 Peter 5:5).

2. Loving service. Not that Christ instituted a new religious service. The Pope is Christ's ape rather than His imitator. Christ's example is to be followed spiritually in ministering to necessity and practising Christian kindness (John 15:17; Matthew 25:34-40; Romans 12:9, 10; Romans 13:8; Galatians 5:13, 14, 22; Galatians 6:2; Ephesians 5:2; 1 Timothy 5:10).

3. Brotherly forgiveness. Christ had washed and therefore forgiven them; they were to practise the charity which covers a multitude of sins (Matthew 6:12; Mark 11:28; Luke 17:3, 4; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13).Learn —

1. The supreme Divinity of Christ.

2. The diabolical depravity of the fallen heart.

3. The imperfections of even Christ's followers.

4. The absolute necessity of Christ as a Saviour.

5. Christ's perfect knowledge of men.

6. The duty of taking Christ as our example.

7. Obedience the royal road to happiness.

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

Jesus knew that His hour was come.



(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)




(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

I. HE HAD A DIVINE PRESENTIMENT OF THE EXACT TIME OF HIS DEATH. "When Jesus knew" etc. All men know that they must die sooner or later. This throws a shade v on the whole path of life, but the exact time is in mercy hidden from us. But Christ knew His hour from the first, and instead of endeavouring to avoid it comes forth to meet it. What mere man would have done this? And with such heroic calmness!


1. It was a departure from this world. With the exception of the beauties and blessings of the earth, everything in the world must have been repugnant to Him. It was a world of rebels against the government of His Father, of enemies against Himself. To Him it must have been what the cell is to the prisoner or the lazaretto to the healthy. To leave such a scene could not have been a matter for regret, but rather of desire. May not every good man look on death thus? What is there in the human world to interest him?

2. It was a going to the Father, where —

(1)He would get the highest approbation of His work.

(2)He would enjoy the sublimest fellowship. So with the Christian.

III. HE HAD A SUBLIME MOTIVE FOR MEETING WITH HIS DEATH. Love for His own, i.e., all who in every land and age consecrate themselves to God, whose they are. This love continues —

1. To the end of every man's existence.

2. To the end of the mediatorial system. Nay, will it ever have an end? Never in essence, but in achievement.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

1. It was the hour of His departure. "Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto His Father." Such was His death, even though it was the death of the Cross, "a departure."

2. It was the hour of His love. If He rejoiced in the thought of departing to be with the Father, there was also a strain upon His heart at the thought of leaving His disciples, whom, "having loved as His own in the world, He loved to the end," that is, "to the uttermost."

3. It was the hour of His betrayal. What a frightful contrast is here l In this hour, when His Divine heart was swelling nigh unto bursting with the intensity and vehemence of His love, there was one of their number whose heart was filled with a devilish purpose of betrayal.

4. It was the hour of His supreme and sublime self-consciousness — "Knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He came forth from God, and was going back to God."

5. The hour of His lowly service to His disciples.

(G. F. Pentecost.)

That He should depart out of this world unto the Father. — He came from God, and yet not leaving Him, and He goeth to God not leaving us.

( St. Bernard.)

Having loved His own which were in the world.

1. It is not strange that the hour of departure should be the hour of quickened affection. When the child leaves home, father and mother seem more dear than before. And had this been the Saviour's home, and those around Him His relations, it would not have been strange that He should have felt more strongly for them than at any previous time.

2. On the other hand, when for purposes of health, business, or pleasure one has long been an exile, and the day comes for return, although he has made pleasant acquaintances, yet the thought of home swallows up every other. Applying this, who can imagine the vision that arose before Jesus at this hour? The infinitude of His power was to be restored, and the companionships He had known from eternity. Yet at this hour it is said that "having loved," etc.

3. This is wonderful. For consider what the disciples were. If Christ had dwelt in the accomplishments of the heavenly land, what must they have seemed to Him? Not one had any extraordinary endowment except John, and none save he and Peter and James have left any record except their names. Had Christ selected heroes like Luther, Melanchthon, Hampden, Sidney, Washington, or geniuses like Dante, Shakespeare, or Goethe, we can imagine how, surrounded by the greatest natures, He should have suffered at parting from them. But these were men with not only no royalty of endowment, but selfish, prejudiced, ambitious, and mean. And yet taking them with all their imperfections which the glory to which He was departing threw into bolder relief, having loved them He loved them unto the end.

4. It is plain that Divine love includes other elements than those usually imagined. It is not strange that God loves loveliness. We do that. But who of us loves that which is unlovely? This is what God does. But it does not follow that this love is not more qualified with growing excellency than without it. It is that kind of love which a parent feels toward children who are not in themselves attractive. Parental love, however it may grow, is what we feel by reason of what is in us, not of what is in our children. The newborn babe has neither thought, love, nor power of expression; and yet there is in the mother that which loves it with an intensity which is like life itself. So there is in the Divine nature a power of sympathizing with things at the lowest and poorest.

5. In this simple thought we find the world's hope and comfort. You may dismiss from your minds, if you can, all who are not your near relations; but I cannot. It is a burden on my soul what becomes of the vast multitudes of Africa, Asia, and of our great cities who crawl like vermin in and out of dens of vice and poverty. The only light on this problem comes from the fact that there is a God who loves things that are not lovable.

6. This universality of the Divine sympathy interprets the declaration, "God so loved the world," etc. His affection for a world lying in brutality and wickedness was such that He gave what was most precious to Him to redeem it. Men think that this obliterates the motives to right. Not so. Is there any feeling in the parent's mind stronger than this: that the beloved child shall grow out of nothingness into largeness and beauty? And God aims to purify and exalt and enrich human nature. He loves men without reason in them, but with infinite reason in Himself. His love is not simply good nature. It is intensely earnest and just, and suffering flows from it. There is nothing lovable in us at first, but under the fructifying influence of the Divine soul working on ours, germ after germ begins to develop into something lovable; and the Divine complacency takes hold of us as we rise to higher love and perfection.

7. What a consolation this representation presents to those who are battling with their imperfections.

(H. W. Beecher.)


1. This personal love is not to be contrasted with, although it is to be distinguished from, His love of the whole world. Without supposing the universal love that pities misery everywhere, we cannot make our way to a personal love. You cannot be sure of a love that passes by great multitudes.

2. This personal love is just the application of the general love to the person. It is not merely that the individual believes in that general love and appropriates just so much to himself as he needs, but that in that very appropriation he practically increases the love of Christ to himself. His love to Christ makes Christ's love to him a love of complacency and friendship.

3. The belief of this is the turning point of life. When a man can say, "He loved me and gave Himself for me," he has passed or is passing from darkness into light. His destiny is solved. Not to believe that assurance so solemnly and affectingly given, is to be without the comfort of the blessed gospel, to abide under wrath.

4. It is either wrath or love. There is no explaining it away or shading it off. Come to Christ, believe the gospel, you are in love. Stay away from Him, distrust His gospel, leave it lying there unopened, untouched, as you would some printed circular you don't care to be troubled with, and the whole world is full of wrath. It darkens and embitters your whole life. Just say this and believe it, for it is true, "He loved me," etc.; and then you are out of wrath into love, you leave the ranks of His enemies, you enter among "His own."

II. CHRIST LOVES HIS OWN UNTO THE END, i.e., to the end of His own life. In proof of which, here at the very end is a most thoughtful, touching instance of His intense desire to do them a good that would last long after He was away.

1. He was going into great suffering. No agitation, no depression, no entering into the sorrow before the time; but this calm, beautiful action of feet washing which they might recall forever as an overwhelming proof of the endurance of His love to His own.

2. He was going into great glory. Work all done. Suffering nearly finished. Home now to God! What then? A great elation of spirit and a corresponding forgetfulness of these common persons and these inferior things? No; but the washing of the disciples' feet! A yearning, enfolding love of "His own" unto the end. No trial of love could be more searching, more complete, than is furnished by those two great things, both so near — the suffering and the glory.Application —

1. You who are "His own," it concerns you much to believe that He will "love you unto the end." Why should He not?(1) Even His own great suffering could not cast a shade between the loving Master and the trembling disciple when He was here. And now there is no suffering to come between you and Him.(2) And as to the glory of His heavenly life, even now when throned and crowned and worshipped by ten thousand times ten thousand, the joy that is dearer to Him than all this is that which He wins yet down here when He seeks and finds the sheep that was lost. We think poorly of Him if we suffer ourselves to think of Him as enjoying heaven yonder while we suffer and die.(3) And as for your unworthiness, you were unworthy when He began to deal with you, and you have been unworthy every day since, and you are now, and He knows all this. Having loved His own with an unbought, uncaused love from the beginning, and thus far along their individual histories, He will love them so, and no otherwise, unto the end.

(A. Raleigh, D. D.)

I. THE RELATION — "His own." This relation is formed by Himself. "To them gave He power to become the sons of God." It is not, therefore, from a mere profession of religion. "Ye are clean; but not all." There were persons endued with miraculous powers who nevertheless were not "His own," and to whom Christ will say, "I never knew you."

II. THE POSITION "in the world." It is one of —

1. Trial. You are exposed to a position of sorrow, and struggling, and conflict. Here is something that will try you. What influence has the world had on your spirit and conduct? If you are called on to suffer, is there the language of Eli: "It is the Lord; let Him do what seemeth good unto Him"? or obstinacy and rebellion?

2. Danger. You are exposed —(1) To innumerable adversaries. "Your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about," etc.(2) To great temptations. How many run well for a time and afterwards fall short!

III. THE AFFECTION — "having loved." If your position is to be a test of your affection for Christ, what a proof it will be of His affection for you! What evidence of love will you ask at His hands? What can He do more than He has done? "Greater love hath no man than this," etc.

IV. THE ADHESION — "unto the end." Can you say this of any human affection? Can the child calculate on the affection of the parent, the most durable of all, to the end? "Can a woman forget her sucking child?...Yea, she may forget; yet will I not forget." There is no unchangeable love but His because there is no unchangeable being but God. "I have loved thee with an everlasting love," etc.

(W. Bengo Collyer, D. D.)

The Saviour has a treasure of immortal spirits who are not in the world. Angels and spirits of the just made perfect are all His own — a multitude which no man can number. This verse, however, shows the relationship of Jesus to His faithful followers who "are in the world." The disciples were no monopolists of Christ's love. The lapse of time may change the tense, but it does not change the sense of this gracious text.

I. THE DISCIPLES OF JESUS ARE CALLED BY A PECULIARLY ENDEARING NAME — ''His own." All things are His own. "All souls are Mine," even the rebellious and unthankful. Here, however, the words imply a relationship of the dearest and closest kind. A true mother has a sympathy for all children; but there is a singular depth in her words, as she looks into the eyes of the darling of her heart, and says, "My own!" The gift in the hand of a child is enhanced when it is understood to be his "very own." With such intense affection and delight does Christ regard His people. He constantly challenges them as "My brethren," "My sheep," "My friends," and emphatically, "Mine." They are His own —

1. As the purchase of His blood. They had sold themselves for nought, were sold under sin. Christ was their Redeemer. He gave His life a ransom for them, and they are become His purchased possession. "He justly claims us for 'His own,'" etc.

2. By willing personal surrender. This is an all-essential endorsement of His claim. The price of his freedom may be proffered to the slave, but if he will not accept it he is still in bonds. Christ hath purchased all souls. Yet it needs the assent of their understanding, and the consent of their will, in order to bind them to Him by the special tie and to make them peculiarly His own.

3. They bear the name, seal, and image of the Saviour.

4. As the gift of the Father, the reward of His mediatorial work. In chap. John 17, we see how the Saviour gathered strength and comfort from the thought of their prospective possession. "Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me."

II. THE TEMPORARY POSITION OF CHRIST'S OWN! "In the world." When a sinner is converted and all is safe for heaven, how desirable it seems that he should be removed out of the world. Let him be taken away from the evil to come that he may never run the hazard of losing so rich a prize. Amid the troubles of life the Christian pilgrim is often tempted to say, "Oh that I had the wings of a dove," etc. But the Lord keeps "His own" in the world —

1. For their own sake. Eternal life is the gift of God unmerited and free; yet the Christian's future will be largely influenced by the tone and character of his life on earth. According to his spiritual growth, his moral victories, his love and sacrifice and service, will be the fulness of the glory which shall be revealed.

2. For the Saviour's sake. The world holds Him in dishonour, and gives His glory to another. Christians are in the world to represent the Saviour! "The glory which Thou hast given Me! have given them, that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me."

3. For the world's sake. The world cannot spare them. Its only hope lies in the element of godliness which is slowly leavening it more and more. "Ye are the salt of the earth."

III. THE SAVIOUR'S UNCHANGING LOVE FOR HIS OWN. "He loved them to the end." These disciples of His, from the day He called them, had been the objects of tenderest regard. They were full of faults and failings, were sadly slow of heart to receive the truth; yet in and through all He loved them. Now that the time is at hand when the bitter cup shall be lifted to His lips, His anxiety for their well. being is the foremost feeling of His heart. He pours into their ears the richest strains of comfort and consolation. "Let not your hearts be troubled," etc. He promises them a Comforter, and bids them "be of good cheer." In the garden, His gentle forbearance to the unwatchful three reveals the fixity and depth of His love. When the officers came, He wards His trembling disciples from the threatening crowd. Their desertion was a sharper pang than any made by jailer's scourge or soldier's spear. And yet it was quenchless love that "looked" on Peter. When He left the tomb, He gave the angel watchers a kindly message for His flock, and mentioned the penitent denier by name. And when at last they gathered round Him on the hill of Bethany, His latest movement was to lift His hands and bless them; His latest word a promise to be with them even to the end of the world; when a cloud received Him out of their sight, two angels stood before them to tell them that as they had seen Him ascend, so should He again descend, that He might receive them unto Himself! Afterwards, when seated at the right hand of God, Stephen's cry for help brought Him to His feet! Do you wonder that when the aged apostle called up each look, tone, deed, and word that marked his Saviour's later days, that with a gush of unrestrained devotion he should write, "Having loved His own," etc.? Conclusion:

1. Believer, you are in the holy and the privileged succession.(1) Christ loves you with an abiding love. Your memory bears grateful witness. Many an Ebenezer stands out and tells how His love came in the hour of your sorest need. Your backslidings have been many; your imperfections more, but His love hath endured through all. Be of good cheer. He will love you to the end, and draw closer and nearer as the end draws nigh.(2) Seek a closer, more perfect union with your Saviour. Be "His own" entirely.

2. Sinner! you are not in this saving sense "His own." Then whose are you? You are a servant of the devil, whose wages is death! Yet the Saviour loves you! Give Him your heart, then you shall be "His own."

(J. Jackson Wray.)

For the inspired Evangelist not only specifies the precise date — "Before the feast of the Passover" — but he also mentions a particular fact of a moral nature, of the utmost importance, as giving us an insight into the Saviour's mind: "When Jesus knew" — or Jesus knowing — "that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father," etc. The idea plainly is, that just because He knew — not merely although, but just because He knew — that His hour was come, that He should leave this world, and that, consequently, His disciples would be left alone in it — as He had always previously loved them, so He now manifested His love in a very peculiar manner, corresponding to their necessities; and this, too, under the most affecting circumstances, and to the utmost extent.

I. The OBJECTS of this love are described, in the first instance, more generally as being "His own." It is true, indeed, that, in one sense, all things are His own, as being their Creator and Preserver — all things, from the highest archangel to the meanest insect that crawls upon the ground. But His people are His own in a sense peculiar to themselves. But the objects of this love are described not only as His own, but more particularly as His own that were in the world. Jesus had many of "His own" that were now in glory; and doubtless these were objects of peculiar complacency and delight. Oh! see them in their white robes, as they shine so bright! But still the precious truth for us is, that it was His own that were in the world that He is here said to have loved. And why were they singled out from the rest? Why, but because of the peculiar difficulties and dangers to which they were exposed. Ask that tender-hearted mother, which of her many children recurs oftenest to her memory — those of them who are safe at home under the parental roof, or the one that is far away at sea? Jesus was now to depart out of the world, but they were to be left in it; and therefore His heart turned in love towards them. But without dwelling further on this idea here, is it not a most delightful and encouraging truth, that, though Jesus is now in glory, yet He still regards His own that are in the world with peculiar care suited to their circumstances and necessities? But methinks I hear someone say, "Alas! I feel that I am in the world, not only because of the sins of others, but because I sin myself; because I have 'a body of death' within me, and often it breaks out in word and action." Yes, indeed, but Jesus loves His own that are in the world still; He sees and knows all the sin and imperfection, that you have to contend against, and yet He loves His own notwithstanding. "But, oh!" says someone, "my case is of a different kind still: I have come hither today, burdened with a heavy heart." It may be that it is some dear relative that is sick, and apparently near to death. All this proves that you are still in a world of sorrow. But then Jesus loves His own still, and looks down upon them with ever watchful eye.


1. See, for example, how having once chosen them in His love, He ever afterwards proved His love by continual companionship with them.

2. See, too, how tenderly, how graciously He instructed them. His instructions were always very simple, because He loved them so well. His love was stronger than their unbelief and ignorance.

3. See, moreover, how ready He was to sympathize with them, and to render them every kind of assistance. Whenever they were in trouble, He was their willing and able Friend.

4. And, oh, with what patience did He bear with them in all their weakness and infirmities!

III. But what I wish you specially to notice now is THE STEADFASTNESS OF THIS LOVE — ITS UNFAILING AND UNFLINCHING FAITHFULNESS, AS IN LIFE SO ALSO IN DEATH. "He loved them unto the end" — not only to the end of life, but to the utmost extent, and under the most affecting circumstances. And if He thus loved them, in the view of the agonies of Gethsemane and the death of Calvary, think you does He now forget them — now that He has passed within the veil? Ah! no, it is impossible. But I must also add, if Jesus Christ loved His own unto the end, then surely they ought to persevere in their love to Him. But I have this also to say in closing, what misery must it be to be without such a Saviour!

(C. Ross.)

I. THERE WAS NOT MUCH IN THEM TO LOVE — YET HE LOVED THEM. I have no wish to disparage these early disciples. Everything betokens that most of them were what the narrative tells us — unlearned Galilean fishermen, who had been nurtured in the flee, clear air of Nature, and so they had to the end a sort of frankness about them which was very enjoyable. I think that was something in them which Jesus Christ appreciated. It must not be forgotten that there was also in them an unselfish readiness to endure sacrifice in the cause of Him who had charmed their hearts and excited the questioning wonder of their minds. Yet in spite of all this, what was there particularly in these men that one like Christ should find to love? I think of the sensitiveness of His nature, the gentleness of His disposition, the purity of His thought, the utter unselfishness of His purposes, the grandeur and sweep of His ideas, His conceptions of nature, of man, of God. What was there that Christ could perceive in these rude, uncultured, somewhat coarse men, men most limited in their thoughts, who had little of what we call spirituality in them to attract Him towards them? Yet He gave them His very heart; He loved them with a love that is simply matchless and astounding. Ah! doubtless He saw more in them to love than common eyes could possibly see. For the greatest natures always do discover beauties of character in the humblest which escape the observation of ordinary people. But look at the Divine side. See Him as the Incarnate Son of God, the Holy One, the Perfect, the Divine One, and how the wonder grows that He should have humbled Himself to associate on terms of generous love with the disciples! Why has Christ loved you — your heart, mind, soul? It is a fact; that you know. Why is it? Ah! that you cannot answer, I cannot answer, except we say, It is the nature of God to love, and the more weak, feeble, helpless, unworthy we are, the more compassionately does He bend to pour the fulness of His heart into our sinning lives.

II. THERE WAS MUCH IN THEM THAT TESTED HIS LOVE — YET HE LOVED THEM. It is not necessary to speak much of the trial that Christ's first disciples were to Him over and over again. Quarrelling, petulance, scepticism, blindness of thought, cowardliness, treachery have no power to destroy that supreme love. How often we have stumbled at the revelations He has made, and, through a doubting spirit which we have encouraged, have asked foolish sceptical questions simply for the sake of asking them! How we have prayed for more light and clearer visions of God, when close at our side, all around us, have been manifestations of the Father! How, when asked to watch with and for Christ, we have pleaded weariness and slept!

III. THERE WAS A CONTINUOUS NEED OF HIS LOVE AND HE LOVED THEM UNTO THE END. Thus His life was a discipline of love to them, His death a sacrifice of love for them.

(W. Braden.)

as shown —


1. The consciousness that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world. And knowing the fact, He also knew all the particulars of the tragic exode. The actual endurance could not be much worse than such a distinct anticipation of it as He had. And yet the tremendous pressure of this foresight did not divert Him from the most tender and considerate attention to those whom He was about to leave.

2. The consciousness that He was about to return to God. There was a joy set before Him for which He endured the cross, despising the shame. Yet such was His affection for His disciples, that not all the glories of heaven in the act of opening to receive Him, could for a moment disturb His warm and compassionate attentions to them.

II. IN THE REPULSIONS IT SURMOUNTED. There was much unworthiness and carnal crudeness in these men to repel the Saviour's affection. They did not so love Him. A few hours and they all had deserted Him. That same night, one of the most devoted of them denied Him. Another of them was harbouring at the time the Satanic instigation to betray Him. And in the hearts of all of them worked a most unseemly jealousy and contention (Luke 22:24). The Saviour had given them lesson after lesson on this point, and yet their miserable pride and selfishness had not been cured. How painful the contemplation I How disheartening and repellant to Him who had so loved them. And yet, the more unworthy they were of His love, the more intensely did it flame forth.

III. IS THE CONDESCENSION IT INDUCED. He into whose hands the Father had given all things, stooped to employ those hands in washing a traitor's feet! Nor did He only take the menial's attire and work, but, when Peter objected, Jesus set Himself to new efforts to meet new manifestations of disease. And even Judas, with all His known treachery, was not relinquished without the most faithful and tender endeavours to bring him to himself. And when the washing was finished, the Lord preached still another sermon on humility and the true Christian spirit.

IV. IN THE SACRAMENT IT ORDAINED. Though not given in the text, the other Evangelists have stated it in full (Matthew 26:26-28). Herein is the great love of Christ manifest toward His own, that, on the very eve of His great passion, He appointed and left to them and us this perpetual legacy and memorial of His affection, in which He continually administers to all believing celebrants of this holy sacrament the very manna and bread of heaven, and incorporates His living Self with us as our salvation and our eternal life.

(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)

His redemption is not a mere breaking of bonds in which we were enthralled. It is not as when one comes upon a wild animal caught in a snare, and undoes the snare, and lets the panting, struggling thing return to its wild liberty again; it is rather as if one not only delivered it from the snare, but likewise attached it to himself, and tamed it to His will, so that it becomes his own.

(J. Culross, D. D.)

The experiences of love are such sometimes, even in this life. as to be an earnest, a blessed interpretation, of something more glorious yet to come. There is one thing which the New Testament is always in labour with, and which is never born, and that is, the conception of the greatness of the love of Christ to our souls. When all language is exhausted, when every one of its variations of figures and illustrations has been employed to set it forth, still it is never finished. Like music that transcends the scale of the instrument, it leaves the strain always unexpressed. The apostle, first in one key and then in another, tries all the melodies and harmonies of this Divine theme; but, after all, the love of Christ has never been told. The apostle declares that it is past understanding, and so it is; but there are elements of experience that teach us something of it; and there are moments in which we put these elements together, and get some sense of it.

(H. W. Beecher.)

The text should perhaps read "to the uttermost" — expressing the depth and degree rather than the permanence of our Lord's love. It is much to know that the emotions of these last moments did not interrupt Christ's love. It is even more to know that in some sense they perfected it. So understood, the words explain for us the foot washing, the marvellous discourses, and the climax of all that High-Priestly prayer.


1. "He knew that His hour was come." All His life was passed under the consciousness of a Divine necessity laid upon Him, to which He cheerfully yielded Himself. On His lips there are no words more significant, and few more frequent, than "I must!" And all through His life He declares Himself conscious of the hours which mark the several crises of His mission. No external power can coerce Him to any act till the hour come, or hinder Him from the act when it comes. And thus, at the last and supreme moment, to Him it dawned unquestionable and irrevocable. How did He meet it? "Father! save Me from this hour Yet for this cause came I unto this hour." There is a strange, triumphant joy that blends with the shrinking that the decisive hour is at last come.

2. Mark, too, the form which the consciousness took. The agony, the shame, the mysterious burden of a world's sins that were to be laid upon Him; all these elements are submerged in the one thought of leaving behind all the limitations, humiliations, and compelled association with evil which, like a burning brand laid upon a tender skin, was an hourly agony to Him, and soaring above them all, unto His own calm home, His habitation from eternity with the Father.

3. This marvellous consciousness is set forth here as the basis and the reason for a special tenderness, as He thought of the impending separation.(1) Does this not help us to realize how truly flesh of our flesh, and bearing a heart thrilling with all innocent human emotions that Divine Saviour was? We, too, have known what it is to feel, because of approaching separation from dear ones, the need for a tenderer tenderness. At such moments the masks of use and wont drop away, and we are eager to find some word, to put our whole souls into some look, our whole strength into one clinging embrace that may express all our love, and may be a joy to two hearts forever after to remember. The Master knew that longing, and felt the pain of separation; and He, too, yielded to the human impulse which makes the thought of parting the key to unlock the hidden chambers of the most jealously-guarded heart, and let the shyest of its emotions come out for once into the daylight. So, "knowing that His hour was come, He loved them then unto the uttermost."(2) But amidst all the parting scenes that the world's literature has enshrined, there are none that can be set by the side of this supreme and unique instance of self-oblivion. This Man who was susceptible of all human affections, and loved us with a love like our own human affection, had also more than a man's heart to give, and gave us more, when, that He might comfort and sustain, He crushed down Himself and went to the Cross with words of tenderness and consolation and encouragement for others upon His lips.(3) And if the prospect only sharpened and perfected His love, the reality has no power to do aught else. In the glory, when He reached it, He poured out the same loving heart; and today He looks down upon us with the same face that bent over that table, and the same love flows to us. "Knowing that He goes to the Father, He loves to the uttermost," and being with the A LOVE WHICH IS FAITHFUL TO THE OBLIGATIONS OF ITS OWN PAST Father, He still so loves.

II. HAVING LOVED, HE LOVES. That is an argument that implies Divinity. About nothing human can we say because it has been therefore it shall be. Alas! we have to say the converse, because it has been, therefore it will cease to be. They tell us that the great sun itself, pouring out its rays exhausts its warmth, and were it not continually replenished must gradually, and even though continually replenished, will one day be a dead, cold mass of ashes. But this heart of Christ, which is the Sun of the World, shall endure after the sun is cold. He pours it out and there is none the less to give. "Thy mercy endureth forever."

III. A LOVE WHICH HAS SPECIAL TENDERNESS TOWARDS ITS OWN. These poor men, who, with all their errors, did cleave to Him; who, in some dim way, understood somewhat of His greatness and His sweetness — and do you and I do more? — were they to have no special place in His heart because in that heart the whole world lay? Surely, because the sun shines down upon dunghills and all impurities, that is no reason why it should not lie with special brightness on the polished mirror that reflects its lustre. Surely, because Christ loves the outcasts and the sinners, that is no reason why He should not bend with special tenderness over those who, loving Him, try to serve Him, and have set their whole hopes upon Him. The rainbow strides across the sky, but there is a rainbow in every little dew drop that hangs glistening on the blades of grass. And there is nothing sectional, narrow in the proclamation of a special tenderness of Christ towards His own, when you accompany with that truth this other, that all men are besought by Him to come into that circle of "His own," and that only they themselves shut any men out therefrom. The whole world dwells in His love. But there is an inner chamber in which He discovers all His heart to those who find in that heart their heaven and their all. "He came to His own," in the wider sense of the word, and "His own received Him not;" but also, "having loved His own He loved them unto the end." There are textures and lines which can only absorb some of the rays of light in the spectrum; some that are only capable of taking, so to speak, the violet rays of judgment and of wrath, and some who open their hearts for the ruddy brightness at the other end of the line.

IV. A LOVE MADE SPECIALLY TENDER BY THE NECESSITIES AND THE DANGERS OF ITS FRIENDS. "Which were in the world." We have, running through the discourses which follow, many allusions to His leaving His followers in circumstances of peculiar peril. "I come unto Thee, and am no more in the world, but these are in the world. Keep them through Thine own name." The same contrast between the certain security of the Shepherd and the troubles of the flock seems to be in the text, and suggests a reason for the special tenderness with which He looked upon them. As a dying father on his deathbed may yearn over orphans that he is leaving defenceless, so Christ here is represented as conscious of an accession even to the tender longings of His heart when He thought of the loneliness and the dangers to which His followers were to be exposed. It seems a strange contrast between the emperor, sitting throned there between the purple curtains, and the poor athletes wrestling in the arena below. It seems strange to think that a loving Master has gone up into the mountain, and has left His disciples to toil in rowing on the stormy sea of life; but the contrast is only apparent. For you and I, if we love and trust Him, are with Him in the heavenly places even whilst we toil here, and He is with us, working with us even whilst He sitteth at the right hand of God. We may be sure of this, that that love ever increases its manifestations according to our deepening necessities. The darker the night the more lustrous the stars. The deeper, the narrower, the savager, the Alpine gorge, usually the fuller and the swifter the stream that runs through it. And the mere enemies and fears gather round about us the sweeter will be the accents of our Comforter's voice, and the fuller will be the gifts of tenderness and grace with which He draws near to us. Our sorrows, dangers, necessities, are doors through which His love can come nigh.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

A short time previous to the death of the Marchioness of Tavistock, and when she was preparing to go to Lisbon for the recovery of her health, a consultation of physicians was held at Bedford House; and one of the gentlemen present requested, while he felt her pulse, that she would open her hand. Her frequent refusals occasioned him to take the liberty of gently forcing the fingers asunder; when he perceived that she had kept her hand closed to conceal the miniature picture of the marquis. "Oh madam!" observed the physician, "my prescriptions must be useless, if your ladyship is determined to keep before your eyes an object which, although deservedly dear to you, serves only to confirm the violence of your illness." The marchioness replied, "I have kept the picture, either in my bosom or my hand, ever since the death of my lamented lord; and thus I am determined to preserve it till I fortunately drop after him into the grave."


The mother, wan and pale with incessant vigils by the bedside of a sick child; the fireman, maimed for life in bravely rescuing the inmates of a blazing house; the three hundred Spartans at Thermopylae; Howard, dying of fever caught in dungeons where he was fulfilling his noble purpose of succouring the oppressed and remembering the forgotten; the Moravian missionaries, who voluntarily incarcerated themselves in an African leper house (from which regress into the healthy world was impossible, and escape only to be effected through the gates of death) in order that they might preach the glad tidings to the lepers, — all these, and many other glorious instances of self-devotion, do but faintly shadow forth the love of Him who laid aside divine glory, and humbled himself to the death of the cross.

(W. Baxendale.)

A noble rolling river has been flowing on for six thousand years watering the fields and slaking the thirst of a hundred generations, yet shows no signs of waste. The sun has melted the snows of so many winters, renewed the verdure of so many springs, painted the flowers of so many summers, and ripened the golden harvests of so many autumns, yet shines as brilliant as ever, his floods of light none the less full for centuries of boundless profusion. Yet these are but faint images of Christ's love. For when the judgment flames have licked up that flowing stream and the light of that glorious sun shall be quenched in darkness, His love shall flow on throughout eternity.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

I know a mother who has an idiot child. For it she gave up all society, almost everything, and devoted her whole life to it. "And now," said she, "for fourteen years I have tended it and loved it and it does not even know me." Amid all discouragements Christ's love is patient and unwearying.

(D. L. Moody.)

Earthly love is a brief and penurious stream, which only flows in spring, with a long summer drought. The change from a burning desert, treeless, springless, drear, to green fields and blooming orchards in June, is slight in comparison with that from the desert of this world's affection to the garden of God, where there is perpetual, tropical luxuriance of blessed love.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Henry the Eighth used to come up the Thames to Chelsea to Sir Thomas More's house, drop in to dinner, and walk afterwards in the garden, his arms about More's neck. More's son-in-law, Roper, records it with delight. But More knew just what all this was worth, and that his head would count with the king for nothing against a French city or citadel, say. It is not so with Christ. "Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them to the end."

Mr. Slosh said: "A father teaching his child about the unchanging piety and love of God, said: 'I knew a little boy who received a canary from a friend as a present. The bird seemed to fill that boy's heart. He was intensely fond of it, and every morning he was delighted to listen to its singing. One morning no note proceeded from the cage. The bird was standing panting upon its perch, its feathers all ruffled. The little boy sat upon his chair and sobbed as if his heart would break.' The lesson taught the little child was this — Do you think he loved the bird any less that morning when he could not sing? No, he loved it when it was joyfully singing on its perch, but he loved it that morning when it could not sing. When it sang it filled him with joy and delight, but when it was ill he loved it all the more though its condition caused him pain." So, too, God loved us at all times.

So long as there is blossom on the trees, and boney in the blossom, the bees will frequent them in crowds, and fill the place with music; but when the blossom is over, and the honey is gone, the bees too will disappear. The same happens in the world with men. In the abode of fortune and pleasure friends will be found in plenty; but when fortune flies, they fly along with it. For this reason, let good men be advised to fly to Christ crucified, who never forsakes, in their distress, those who truly seek Him.


Consider these words —

I. IN THEIR RELATION TO THE APOSTLES. The words "having loved His own," are a brief but complete summary of the Saviour's conduct. He loved them with a love of pity when He saw their lost estate, and He called them out of it to be His disciples; touched with a feeling of their infirmities He loved them with a tender and prudent affection, and sought to train and educate them, that they might be good soldiers of His cross; He loved them with a love of complacency as He walked and talked with them and found solace in their company. Even when He rebuked them He loved. On Tabor or in Gethsemane He loved His own; alone or in the crowd, in life and in death. Our Saviour's faithfulness was —

1. Most remarkable. He had selected persons who must have been but poor companions for one of so gigantic a mind and so large a heart.(1) He must have been greatly shocked at their worldliness. He was thinking of the baptism wherewith He was to be baptized, but they were disputing which should be the greatest. When He warned them of an evil leaven, they thought of the loaves. Earthworms are miserable company for angels, moles but unhappy company for eagles, yet love made our great Master endure the society of His ignorant and carnal followers.(2) Worse was the apparent impossibility of lifting them out of that low condition; for though never man spake as He spake, how little did they understand! "Have I been so long time with you," etc. No teacher here could have had patience with such heavy intellects, but our Lord's love remained, notwithstanding.(3) When we love a person, we expect him to have some little sympathy in the great design and aim of our life; yet our Lord loved disciples who could not be brought to enter at all into the spirit which governed Him. Had they dared, they would rather have thwarted than assisted Him in His self-sacrificing mission. Still, this could not prevent Him from loving them unto the end.(4) On one or two occasions certain of them were even guilty of impertinence. Peter took Him and began to rebuke Him. But after rebuking a temptation which was evidently Satanic, His affection to Peter remained unabated.(3) That was a stern trial, too, when at a later period "all the disciples forsook Him and fled." Carrying the text beyond its original position, Christ, who had loved His own, loved them to the end.

2. Christ proved His love —(1) By His continual companionship. You would not expect a master to find rest in the society of his scholars; and yet herein was love, that Jesus, passing by angels, and kings, and sages, chose for His companions unlettered men and women.(2) By being always ready to instruct them, and His love is shown as clearly in what He kept back from them as in what He revealed. How loving to dwell so often upon the simpler truths, and the more practical precepts; it was as though a senior wrangler should sit down in the family and teach boys and girls their alphabet day after day.(3) By rendering every kind of assistance. Whensoever they were in trouble, He was their willing and able friend — when the sea roared; when Peter's wife's mother was sick; when one of His dearest friends was dead and buried.(4) By comforting them when He foresaw that they would be cast down; especially was this true at the period before His passion — when one would have thought He might have sought for comfort, He was busy distributing it.(5) By constantly pleading for them. Ere the poison was injected by the old serpent, the antidote was at hand. "Satan hath desired," etc.(6) By washing their feet.

II. IN THEIR RELATION TO ALL HIS SAINTS. We read that our Lord "Came unto His own," etc. — the word is neuter — his own things; but in this instance it is masculine — his own persons. A man may part with his own things; sell his own house, cattle, merchandise; but a man cannot part with his own when it relates to persons, his own child, wife, father. Our own relatives are real property, perpetual possession. Jesus has just such a property in His own people — they are forever near of kin to Him. These He "loved to the end." The text opens three windows.

1. As to the past. He has loved His own people from of old; eternally. This everlasting love has a speciality about it. Our Lord has a general love of benevolence towards all His creatures; but He has a special place in His heart for His own peculiar ones.(1) Jesus loved His people with a foresight of what they would be. He knew that "His own" would fall in Adam; that they would be hard to reclaim and difficult to retain; and yet He loved His own over the head of all their sins. On their highest Tabors He loves them, but equally as well in their Gethsemanes; when they wander, and when they come back.(2) This love is more than a passion, it is a settled principle, not subject to changes like terrestrial things.(3) This love has been attested by many deeds. By the fact that He stood surety for us when the covenant was made, and entered into stipulations on our behalf that He would fulfil the broken law, and offer satisfaction to the justice of God. In the fulness of time he took upon Himself our nature, lived a life of blameless service, died a death into which all the weight of Divine vengeance for sin was compressed. Now that He lives exalted in the highest heaven, He is still His people's servant, interceding for them, representing them, preparing a place for them, and by His Spirit fetching them out from mankind, and preparing them for the place which He has prepared.

2. The second window looks out upon the present. "Which were in the world." It does not seem an extraordinary thing that Jesus should love His own who are in heaven. Well may Jesus love them, for there is much beauty in them. But Jesus loves you working men that have to work with so many bad fellows, you tradesmen who have to go in among many who shock you, you good work girls, who meet with so many tempters. He sees your imperfection, He knows what you have to struggle with, and He loves you notwithstanding all. Again, as the sparks fly upwards, so were we born to trouble. But Jesus loves His own which are in this dolorous world: this is the balm of our griefs.

3. The third window looks out to the future. "Unto the end."(1) To the utmost end of their unloveliness. Their sinfulness cannot travel so far but His love will travel beyond it; their unbelief even shall not be extended to so great a length but His faithfulness shall still be wider and broader than their unfaithfulness.(2) To the end of all their needs. They may need more than this world can hold, and all that heaven can give, but Jesus will go to the end of all their necessities, and even beyond them, for He is "able to save to the uttermost."(3) To the end of their lives.(4) To the end of His own life. Until the eternal God shall die, His love shall never depart from any one of His beloved. Conclusion: If Jesus Christ thus loves to the end —

1. How ought we to persevere in our love to Him.

2. Let us not indulge the wicked thought that He will forsake us.

3. What a misery it must be to be without such a Saviour!

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

And supper being ended. — The translation should probably be, "And it now becoming supper time." As a matter of fact the supper was not ended (vers. 12, 26); but they had already reclined, and were, as we say, ready for supper.

(Archdeacon Watkins.)

Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands.

S. S. Times., S. S. Times.
A gift —




(S. S. Times.)




(S. S. Times.)

And that He was come from God and went to God
This sublime declaration is but the preface to what follows, and nothing more startling at first sight can be found in all literature.

I. CHRIST POSSESSED ALL THINGS, and yet He washed His disciples' feet. What has the possession of boundless wealth to do with such menial service? We could imagine a Rothschild sweeping His own room, but would it occur to us to connect with that act, as a reason, the fact of his immense riches? The explanation lies in what this feet washing meant — the pardon and sanctification of Christ's disciples through His atonement. To this "all things" were necessary, and the absence of one Divine prerogative would have marred the work. Christ required all wisdom, all justice, all power, all love, and all influence over the widest reach of human souls.

II. CHRIST CAME FROM GOD, and yet He washed His disciples' feet — as wonderful a conjunction as the previous one. We could imagine an ambassador of the highest rank relieving his lacquey of some humble duty and discharging it himself — but we should hardly refer to his office for a reason. But Christ's mission was expressly to do what the feet washing meant. His one motive for visiting this world was to cleanse and sanctify His disciples' souls.

III. CHRIST WAS GOING TO GOD, and yet He washed His disciples' feet — an equally strange conjunction. We can imagine a sovereign, just before his return from some distant province, rendering some humble but kindly service to a peasant, but we should never dream of saying that he did this because he was going to his capital. But Christ went to heaven because He had done that which was symbolized by the feet washing. He came for that purpose; that purpose being accomplished, there was no further reason for Him to stay. And in going He went to His rest and His reward. Lessons:

1. Christ's work is an individual work, and shows the value of individual souls. Christ had all things, He came, He went for every man's cleansing — for mine.

2. What is true of Christ is in a sense true of every disciple. God has given us all we have, time, talents, money, influence, etc.; we have come from God; we shall go to God — what for? The salvation of men. God has endowed us with ability for it, has sent us to do it, will hold us accountable for it at the great day.

3. The "knowledge" of all this should beget a due sense of the blessedness, dignity, and responsibility of Christian discipleship.

(J. W. Burn.)

I. ITS ORIGIN — "from God."

II. ITS QUALIFICATIONS — "all things."

III. ITS DESTINY — "to God."

(J. W. Burn.)

He riseth from supper. — The minuteness with which every action of our Lord is related here is very Striking. No less than seven distinct things are named — rising, laying aside garments, taking a towel, girding Himself, pouring water into a bason, washing and wiping. This very particularity stamps the whole transaction with reality, and is the natural language of an astonished and admiring eyewitness. St. John saw the whole transaction.

(Bp. Ryle.)

He poureth water into a bason and began to wash the disciples' feet.

Christ taught humility by precept — "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted;" by metaphor, as in the parable of the Pharisee and Publican; by illustration, as when he set a little child in the midst; and, as here, by his own most blessed example. Note —

I. HUMILITY IN ITS CHARACTERISTIC UNSELFISHNESS. Pride is essentially selfish; humility "seeketh not its own, but another's good." Where shall we find a more beautiful or touching example than that introduced by ver. 1?

II. THE DEEPEST HUMILITY IS CONSISTENT WITH THE HIGHEST STAGE OF CHRISTIAN ASSURANCE. Many Christians regard full assurance of salvation as having a tendency to spiritual pride. They are afraid to say "Jesus is mine, and I am His," lest it should savour of presumption. There is a false assurance which founds itself upon feeling, or imagined revelations, rather than upon the testimony of the word of God, and which by its blatant self-assertion has tended to bring assurance into contempt. But where assurance is the result of a simple faith in the promises, it produces in the soul the fruits of genuine humility. Just when Jesus was at the zenith of spiritual exaltation (ver. 3), He bowed Himself to His lowly task.

III. TRUE HUMILITY EXPRESSES ITSELF NOT IN WORDS, BUT IN DEEDS. Our Lord uses no words of self-abasement. In majestic silence He proceeds with His lowly but loving task. There is a form of so-called humility which expends itself in words of idle self-depreciation. This never becomes so clamorous as when any humble service is to be rendered or any modest testimony borne. They are not presumptuous enough to make a public confession of Christ, to teach a Sabbath school class, to visit a family in poverty, etc. It is easy to see that this is a thin veil for self-indulgence and pride. True humility expresses itself not in unfavourable comparisons of ourselves with others, but in whole-hearted devotion to the interests of others. This was the humility of Him who, "though He was in the form of God," etc.

IV. THE SERVICE WHICH TRUE HUMILITY RENDERS IS NOT SPECTACULAR AND SCENIC, BUT UNOBTRUSIVE AND HELPFUL. The simple rite of hospitality observed by our Lord became the occasion of many a splendid pageant in later days. But let him who would follow our Lord's example not imagine that he can do so by a literal observance of a rite that, through change of customs, has lost its utility and therefore its significance. He now truly "washes the disciples' feet" whose own feet are swift to bear to them messages of kindness, and whose hands are ready for any humble service.

V. THE PARTICULAR SERVICE RENDERED BY OUR LORD, THOUGH NOT SPECTACULAR, WAS SYMBOLIC of inward purification, and distinguishes between the first and radical purification which takes place once for all in regeneration, and that daily purging from the infirmities that cling to us as we pass through the world (ver. 10). As one coming up fresh from the bath needs only to wash off the dust" that clings to his feet and does not affect the purity of his person, so the believer by the bath of his first regeneration is kept pure till he enters his Father's house on high, whilst a daily application of the Spirit in sanctification is needed to remove the impurities that come from daily contact with earth and earthly things.

(T. D. Witherspoon, D. D.)

I. The DIRECT TEACHING contained in our Saviour's washing of the disciples' feet. That our relation to Christ is —

1. Personal, as is also His relation to us. There is no such fact as a general relationship to Christ. We are either His personal followers, or personally estranged. There is no religion but personal religion. Christ knelt before each of the twelve in turn.

2. Cleansing. Christ came to save the world from sin. But only those cleansed by the blood receive eternal life.

3. Needs to be continually renewed. It is a daily relation. He pointed to his daily cleansing, the washing of the basin, in distinction from the bathing in the fountain.

4. Practical. Our service is to be —(1) Personal. We have no general ministry, either of clergy or laity. It is the personal work we do which builds up the kingdom of God. The lost are found one by one. All organization that amounts to anything is association in some form for hand-to-hand work.(2) Lowly. Jesus took the form of a servant. Look upon Him as He kneels at thy feet. So humble thyself to serve.(3) With the basin and towel. We are to aid each other to be clean Christians.


1. That the first act of discipleship is self-surrender (vers. 8, 9). We must do just as the Saviour says, or we can have no part with Him. We must waive all objections. The objection of Peter arose from tenderness of conscience. We may feel unworthy of the grace of God. But some say, "We need no cleansing; we are satisfied with our way of life." There is nothing for these but self-surrender. How can you help it, looking upon Jesus, kneeling and waiting before you?

2. The value of one soul in God's sight. Jesus felt a personal love for each, even for Judas! What a tender touch He put upon those feet, which no mere washing could cleanse!

3. That bathing precedes washing (ver. 10); the atonement, the baptism of the Spirit; pardon, sanctification. As Peter, having been bathed, needed not save to wash his feet, so Judas, not having been bathed, needed the cleansing of you see that He was quite conscious of His dignity when He did it? He did not forget Himself; and that is put down there that you may know that the deepest act of humility is not inconsistent with dignity. He, knowing that He came from God, and that He was just about to go back to God, would do this, the humblest of all acts. He would show us before He went up to the throne of the universe what He is who is sitting on the throne; because if He had not done this who was with God from all eternity, dwelling with Him in unapproachable light, we should not have been able to think that there was such humility on the throne. But now we shall know forever and ever what He is that is sitting upon the throne. Let us learn another thing — what it is that goes to God. It is humility that goes to God as well as comes from God. We must be humble, then; we must go on humbling ourselves more and more to the very last, so that at the last, when we at last go, we shall go with nothing but humility — prepared to be just nothing before the throne. When we are nothing God gives us all, and God will not give us His all till we are nothing in our own estimation.There are two or three reflections, which shall close our subject.

1. The first is — let us write it upon our hearts — that our Christ in glory is as humble now, and will be as humble to all eternity, as He was in that supper room before His disciples. He changeth not.

2. Another reflection is, that as the devil and his angels lost their heaven through their self-importance, through pride, we may lose our heaven as they did through pride.

3. The next reflection is, that there is a spurious grandeur of humility which we must avoid. We are reminded of this by Peter. When Peter's turn came to be washed, he said, O no, never, never! My Lord wash my feet? Never! How humble that seems; and yet it was not humility, but a spurious, affected grandeur of humility, in which there is no humility at all. No; I will tell you what humility is. Humility before God is exactly that simple willingness to be served which the babe has to be waited on by its mother. The baby does not object to it. The baby does not say, "I am nothing but a poor little baby." No; but it takes it for granted. Now, we must allow God to do with us whatever He will in the same artless, simple spirit.

4. Another thought — that Satan put something into Judas's heart that put him off from Christ and heaven. That is in the connection too. Judas was among the twelve, but Satan was putting something into his heart. What was it? The love of this present evil world, and the love of the means by which this present evil world can be enjoyed — the love of what he had in the bag, and the love of putting something more into the bag and increasing it by any means. The devil was putting that into his heart.

(J. Pulsford.)


1. Taking our nature (John 1:14; Romans 1:3).

2. Assuming our infirmities (Matthew 8:17; Hebrews 4:15).

3. Born in lowliness (Luke 2:7, 12, 16).

4. Becoming a servant (Luke 22:27; Philippians 2:6, 7).

5. Associating with the lowly (Matthew 9:10; Luke 15:1, 2).

6. Submitting to toil (Mark 6:3; John 4:6).

7. Enduring poverty (Matthew 17:27; Luke 9:58).

8. Obeying the law (Matthew 3:13-15; Galatians 4:4).

9. Refusing honours (John 5:41; John 6:15).

10. Dying on the cross (Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 12:2).


1. Abraham before the Lord (Genesis 18:27, 30, 32).

2. Jacob before God (Genesis 32:9, 10).

3. Moses in Midian (Exodus 3:11; Exodus 4:1, 10).

4. Joshua before Ai (Joshua 7:6-9).

5. Gideon when appointed to save Israel (Judges 6:15).

6. David at the great offering (1 Chronicles 29:14).

7. John the Baptist (Matthew 3:14; John 3:29, 30).

8. The Roman centurion (Matthew 8:8).

9. Peter (Luke 5:8; John 13:6-8).

10. Paul (Acts 18:1-3; Acts 20:33, 34).Conclusion: Pauline commendation of humility (Philippians 2:5-11).

(S. S. Times.)

St. makes humility bear to religion the same essential relation which, according to Demosthenes, action bears to eloquence. "As the Athenian orator," says he, "being asked, What is the first precept in oratory? answered, Action; and What the second? answered, Action; and What the third? answered, Action; so, if you ask me in regard to the precepts of the Christian religion, I answer, first, second, third, Humility."

(T. D. Witherspoon, D. D.)

Christ appears here as a dramatical teacher. Every act is significant. The old prophets taught in this way. Jeremiah's potters vessel; Ezekiel's scales, knife, and razor, are amongst the numerous examples. Christ taught here —

I. THAT TRUE GREATNESS CONSISTS IN MINISTERING TO THE GOOD OF INFERIORS. We learn from Luke 22:24, that there was a dispute as to who should be greatest, and that Evangelist records what our Lord said. John records what Christ did. This idea of greatness —

1. Condemns the general conduct of mankind. The world regards men great who receive most service, and mix least with inferiors.

2. Agrees with the moral reason of mankind. The greatness of Christ, who made Himself of no reputation, and the greatness of Paul, is that which commends itself to the unsophisticated reason of the world. He who humbles himself to do good gets exalted in the estimation of universal conscience. Disinterestedness is the soul of true greatness.


1. That this is so appears from two facts.(1) Divine fellowship is essential to human happiness. In God's presence is fulness of joy, and nowhere else.(2) Spiritual purity is essential to Divine fellowship. "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." Hence God's command, "Wash you and make you clean;" and man's prayer, "Purge me with hyssop," etc.

2. This cleansing is preeminently the work of Christ. "If I wash thee not," etc. His blood cleanseth from all sin. "Unto Him that loved us," etc.

3. It extends to the whole life of man (ver. 10). Though regenerated, a man is not perfect. Every day brings its defilements and requires its purifications.Conclusion: At the table were three types of character.

1. The perfectly clean — Christ.

2. The partially clean — the disciples.

3. The entirely unclean — Judas.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

I. IT IS THE QUALITY OF AN UNFETTERED SPIRIT. The possession of an unfettered spirit is the gift of humility, a possession which can be yours and mine only as we rid ourselves of those fetters with which society and business and fashions of the day would bind us, and go out in the strength of a loyal affection to Jesus Christ to walk in the footsteps of the Master, bind up the broken-hearted, to visit those who are in prison, to wash the disciples' feet, and thus by our very humility illustrate a strength and power for the manifestation of which the world is longing today, as never before, with a great longing.

II. IN SUCH A CHRISTIAN HUMILITY THERE IS ALWAYS MAJESTIC POWER. There is a vast difference between muscular strength and moral strength. Atlas could carry the world upon his shoulders, but it required Christ to carry the world upon his heart. Go back into that valley of Elah in Old Testament times and see the difference between the strength of muscle and the strength of morals. Here comes the Philistine giant out from his camp. Behind him all are boasting of his power and of his prowess; in just a little Israel will be overthrown and the Philistine's god will be triumphant. And out from the camp of Israel comes that boy armed only with his sling and his five smooth stones. If you will follow the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, you will find that ever and always the strength of His life was a strength of moral purpose put over against the other strength that the world had to offer.

III. THE WASTE OF A LIFE WHICH IS UNPOSSESSED OF THIS SPIRIT OF HUMILITY. This is a corollary from those last words of the text: "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them;" because there is always great disaster which comes to an immortal soul when knowledge is not the spur which drives it. There is always something lost in a human life when that life knows more about Christ than it does for the sake of Christ. It is not that there may not be the manifestation of this lovely virtue or of that attractive trait apart from the spirit of humility; but there is a great waste in the life still, because it retains a possession which has not been transmuted into action, because it has not been entirely permeated by the spirit of love. You find a person, for example, who has been living far away among the hills, perhaps in a beautiful home, with everything that pertains to comfort and to luxury about him, but never having gone beyond the borders of the little town in which he has been dwelling. You have had the advantage of a larger acquaintance and of a larger fellowship, and as you speak with that circumscribed life you cannot help confessing to yourself that, although there is very much that is beautiful about it and within it, still there is a great lack there somewhere; there is a waste because that life has not gone out to see what there is to be seen in this world of ours. But just so soon as the Lord opened the eyes of Peter's impulsive soul, just so soon as He permitted him to look out upon vistas which he had never seen before, and upon a Divine landscape which had never before fallen beneath his ken, at that moment Peter called out in a great yearning and in a great soul-desire, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head."

(Nehemiah Boynton.)

Here is —

I. MATTER FOR INQUIRY. Is there anything in the conduct of Christ now analogous to His washing Peter's feet when on earth? Yes.

1. When He watches over the temporal affairs of His people. When Jesus looks to your family troubles, and bears your household cares, saying unto you, "Cast all your care on Me for I care for you," is He not in effect doing for you what He did for Peter, caring for your lowest part, and minding the poor dust-stained body?

2. When He puts away from us our daily infirmities and sins. It is a great act of love when Christ once for all absolves the sinner, and puts him into the family of God; but what long suffering there is when the Saviour bears the follies of the recipient of so much mercy hour by hour, putting away the constant sin of the erring but yet beloved child. To blot out the whole of sin like a thick cloud, this is a great and matchless power, as well as grace; but to remove the mist of every morning and the damps of every night — this is condescension well imaged in the washing of Peter's feet.

3. When He cleanses our prayers. They are the feet of our soul, since with them we climb to heaven and run after God. It is oftentimes easier to do a thing over at once anew than it is to patch up a work which has been badly done by others. There are His own prayers for me — I thank Him for them, but I cannot help also blessing Him that He should take my prayers, and put them into the censer, and offer them before His Father's face; for I am certain that before they can have been fit to offer they must have experienced a deal of washing.

4. When He makes our works acceptable. These may be compared to the soul's feet. It is by the feet that a man expresses his activity. We have heard of someone who made sugar out of old rags; but the manufacture cost more than the goods were worth; and this is something like our works. Jesus Christ makes sweetness out of the poor rags of our good works; they cost Him more in the manufacturing than ever the raw material could have been worth, or the finished works themselves are worth, except in His esteem.

5. When He is content to suffer in His people's sufferings. Not a pang shoots through you but Jesus knows and feels it.

II. MATTER FOR ADMIRATION. When we consider —

1. The freeness of the deed. "Lord, dost Thou wash my feet?" It is perfectly wonderful that He should, for we have scarcely desired the mercy. You do not find that Peter asked Christ to do it. No, it was unsolicited, unexpected. It is great goodness on Christ's part to hear our prayers when we really feel our need; but if Christ did no more for us than we ask Him to do, we should perish; for nine out of ten of the things which He gives us we never asked for, and three out of four of them we scarcely know that we want, Have there not been many nights on which you have gone to bed without any particular sense of guilt, and without any special intercession for cleansing? You have forgotten to ask, but He has never forgotten to give. You have risen in the morning; you were not aware that any special danger would come to you, and you did not pray for special protection, but yet He knew it; and unasked and unsought for He has kept you from danger.

2. The glory of the Person. Lord! Master! God! Dost thou wash my feet? He whom the angels worship takes a towel and girds Himself. What a stoop is here!

3. The lowliness of the office. "My feet." To wash my head, to purge my mind, to cleanse my hands and my heart, is very condescending; but He does a slave's work, takes the meanest part of me and washes that.

4. The unworthiness of the object of this washing. "My feet?"

5. The completeness of the washing. When things are washed by careless servants, they want washing again; but when they are washed by the loving hands of Jesus, they cannot be badly done.

III. MATTER FOR GRATITUDE, that having once washed head and hands and feet with blood, He still doth daily wash my feet with water.


(C. H. Spurgeon.)


1. Christ still acts as the host of His people. How much the life of Christ with His people lay in intense familiarity with them! He began His ministry at a feast, and again and again we find Him eating with His disciples; and the last thing He did was to sit at supper with them. He still saith to His Church, "If any man open to Me," etc.; and His own figure for the opening of the new dispensation is "the marriage supper of the Lamb." Now Jesus is the host of His Church, providing the gospel supper and entertaining us right royally. He prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies. "He satisfies our mouth with good things," etc. And the Lord is a host who leaves nothing incomplete, and entertains us, not as paupers but as guests, as friends, as distinguished persons who shall not sit among mean men, but shall have their portion among princes.

2. Christ cares for our minor matters with a personal interest. That He should ease their weary hearts, enlighten their clouded brains, I can understand; but that He should wash their feet is wonderful. A little soil on their ankles; He will attend to that, and personally, too. He might have left them to wash one another's feet. Surely He had but to suggest it and they would have cheerfully waited on each other. Take your little things to Christ, those trials of which your heart says, "They are too trifling for prayer." Not so; the Lord loves us to trust Him thoroughly.

3. Christ provides refreshment for His people. What an intense pleasure it is in extremely hot countries to have the feet washed upon coming in after a weary walk. Our Lord washed His disciples' feet, not only because cleansing was desirable, but also for their pleasure and solace. He takes great pleasure in giving joy to His followers. When doth the Lord give us these refreshments?(1) Often after a journey — after a severe trial.(2) Sometimes before the trial, for these disciples were now about to enter upon a very rough road.(3) When we are in the house of God, when the Word has been preached, some joyful hymn borne us to heaven; or, best of all, at the communion table.(4) In our own quiet chambers, and in the night watches.

4. Christ continues to guard the purity of His Church. From the occasion it is clear that He would have us seek the special purifying power of His presence during religious ordinances. We need our feet washed before we come to His table — "Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of this bread," while we are at His table, for there is sin in our holiest things. When we come away from worship we have need to get alone, and cry, "Cleanse Thou me from secret faults." This frequent washing is —(1) Absolutely necessary. Ye that follow in His footsteps, walk with clean feet. His ministers especially need this or the people will never cry, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings."(2) Spiritual: no external form will suffice. Christ washed the feet of Judas with water.(3) Very readily given.


1. That there will always be need of service in the Church, and always need of service in the particular direction of promoting purity. The apostles were twelve strong men, yet they could not do without a servant; and therefore their Lord supplied the vacant place. And now that the Lord is gone His Church still needs servants, and will never be so clean that it will have no need of foot washing.

2. That we are not to advocate the abrogation of such service. The Stoic would say, "What need of washing a man's feet? If he needs it, let him wash them himself. The first law of nature is self-love. Let him mind his own business." That is anti-Christianity: but Christianity says, "I am willing that others should help me to be holy, and I am also willing to help others to the same end." Sometimes it is more humbling to have your own feet washed than to wash other people's, and hence sometimes our naughty pride says, "Thou shalt never wash my feet." Yet it must be so, and pride must sit still like a child and be both washed and wiped.

3. That such service should be done very cheerfully. Nobody asked the Master to bring the basin: no one would have thought of such a thing: it was His own heart of love that made Him do it. Let us be also ready to perform any office for our brethren, however lowly. Covet humble work, and when you get it be content to continue in it.

4. That such service should be done thoroughly. How well our Lord took up the servant's place. Give your Lord zealous and earnest service; strip to your shirt sleeves, if need be. Do not attempt to play the fine gentleman; is it not far nobler to be a real Christian?

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

In the Epistles of Peter, written many years after this, we find subtle traces of the impression it left upon his mind. There still seemed to rise before him the form of the King taking off His upper garment, tying a towel round His waist, and then, with marvellous self-abasement, washing the disciples' feet. Hence the intensely picturesque expression of His charge — "Yea, all of you gird yourselves with humility, to serve one another, for God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble." Literally, "Tie on humility like a dress fastened with strings." It is plain that he understood the required imitation of what Christ did when washing the feet of His company, to consist not in copying the outward act, at the same time wearing an outward garment like that which He wore at the time, but in copying the spirit of the act and wearing humility itself.

(C. Stanford, D. D.)

A great authority declares that "Peter lives today in the person of the Pope." Then he has changed his conviction on the present subject, if we can accept the Rev. Newman Hall's account of the ceremonies of "Maundy Thursday." "Thirteen persons personated the apostles. They were dressed in white flannel, and were seated on an elevated platform in the south transept, which had been arranged for the ceremony, with galleries of ascending seats for lady spectators, who came in the prescribed costume. Descending from his throne after the benediction, the Pope was divested of his gorgeous outer vestments, and appeared as if in a very large flannel dressing gown, fastened with a cord round the waist; a towel of fine cloth, trimmed with lace, having been tied on him, he walked slowly to the nearest apostle, whose right foot, evidently well washed beforehand was already bare. The stocking had been previously cut so as, without any trouble or delay, to be removed sufficiently for the purpose at the precise moment. Everything was done to facilitate his Holiness in the arduous duty which now awaited him. The apostles were seated at such a convenient elevation that He was under no necessity of stooping. A sub-deacon on his right raised the apostle's foot, over the instep of which a second attendant poured a little water, which fell into a silver-gilt basin, held by a third; while a fourth, carrying thirteen towels in a silver basin, handed one of them to his Holiness, who passed it over the foot, which he then kissed. Another officer in waiting was a bearer of nosegays, one of which he then handed to the Pope, who presented it to the apostle, together with two medals from a purse of crimson velvet fringed with gold, borne by the Papal treasurer. The rest were then similarly served; and the whole was done so expeditiously, that in a very few minutes the immense crowd were rushing off to be present at the next ceremony. So does the Pope fulfil what has been called the proudest of titles, "Servus servorum Dei." Not only at Rome, however, has this act of our Lord been regarded as the institution of a religious rite rather than the display of an example to be followed spiritually. Many humble Christian societies have adopted this view, and still we find that some devout people are earnest for it. Such worthies, in making the mere sign a resting place of thought, remind us of the case feigned by an old British sage, of a belated and weary traveller, who, on coming up to an hostelry, ready to die for want of a night's lodging, took no notice of the inn, but "embraced the signpost."

(C. Stanford, D. D.)

To provide a guest with water to wash his feet is a common act of hospitality among the Hindoos. It is also considered a privilege and duty for disciples to wash the feet of any celebrated gooroo, or religious guide. But for a gooroo to wash the feet of his disciples would be diametrically opposed to a Hindoo's ideas of propriety. "Suppose," I said to my pundit, the other day, "a celebrated gooroo were to attempt to wash the feet of his disciples, would they allow it?" "Never," he replied; "if he were to make the attempt, they would refuse to allow him; would rush out of his presence; and would think he was gone mad. Such an idea is entirely opposed to the reverence which a disciple has for his teacher, and would not be tolerated for a moment. To permit it would bring reproach upon both teacher and disciple." With these ideas in his mind it is easy to understand how Peter should be startled and astonished when Jesus drew near to wash his feet. "Lord, dost Thou wash my feet?" Such an act had never been heard of; was contrary to the customs of the country; contrary to every idea of propriety; and calculated to bring reproach upon his teacher.

(J. L. Nye.)

What I do thou knowest not now.
The Evangelist.

1. It may be the result of necessity. The conduct of God will appear, on the least consideration, too vast and complicated ever to be comprehended by man. Not only is our knowledge limited in reference to nature, but in reference to many sublime truths of revelation. We know not what attainments the mind will make in its disembodied and exalted state, but we seem fully confident that in the present condition there is a limit to its discoveries.

2. It may be the result of design. That He could have stated the reason of chastisement when the rod was inflicted, that He could have made known His design when the suffering was felt, there can be no doubt. But it is intentionally concealed, that the discovery may add to our felicity in a world of greater purity and light and love.


1. The conduct of God may be partially disclosed in time. Time is necessary for the development of many things. The seed lies in the ground and seems to rot, but if we have patience to wait we shall see the germ, and at a subsequent period a tall and stately tree. Hence, that which once seemed useless and rotten becomes in process of time useful both in blossom and fruit — the one enchanting to the eye, and the other grateful to the palate. Now if it be requisite to wait that we may trace the opening beauties of nature, equally necessary is it to wait that we may trace the conduct of Providence. The singular and diversified history of Joseph may be cited as a proof of these observations. Permit me to observe, before I pass on, that we are not always required to wait so long for the developments of Divine Providence as in a moment of unbelief we are apt to imagine. Disclosures are sometimes speedily made and unexpectedly enjoyed. Peter had merely to wait the utterance of another sentence before he perceived the symbolical character of our Lord's conduct. But though, as an antidote to despondency and a stimulus to hope, the disclosure may be made, we are not warranted to look for it with unwavering certainty.

2. That it will be fully revealed in eternity.


1. The equity of the Divine government. In the administrations of His laws, and in the distribution of His favours, God appears in a two-fold character — as a benefactor and a judge. In the former character, favours unmerited and unsought are graciously bestowed, and it is this that endears Him to the Christian, and entitles Him to honour, homage, and praise. As a judge He never fails to do that which is right.

2. The parental character of the Divine discipline.

(The Evangelist.)

I. THE PROPOSITION. "What I do thou knowest not now."

1. As to the intent. God's people know the general end of His dealings with them — His own glory and their good; but the particulars they are not able to guess — as Joseph when his brethren sold him into Egypt (Genesis 50:20).

2. As to the extent and effect. We see things sometimes in their beginnings but not in their close; because of —(1) Their intricacy (Psalm 78:19; Romans 11:13; Isaiah 55:8-9; Job 5:9).(2) Our understandings, which at best are short-sighted, on account both of the dimness of natural reason and the imperfection of supernatural illumination.(3) A special Divine dispensation. God makes His ways dark to His servants —

(a)Because they are not capable of or fit to receive a revelation of them (John 16:12; Hebrews 5:12).

(b)That their faith may be thereby strengthened, and their dependence on God encouraged (John 20:19).

(c)That God's sovereignty and liberty may be preserved (Deuteronomy 29:29).

(d)For their discipline — to correct or prevent some miscarriage in them, whether pride, security, or carnal confidence (2 Corinthians 12:7).

II. THE QUALIFICATION. "Thou shall know," etc.

1. The discovery. He will make known —

(1)The justice of His ways, and show that He has done no more than equal (Jeremiah 12:1; Habakkuk 2:13; Ezekiel 18:29).

(2)Their truth, and manifest His faithfulness (Psalm 77:8; Joshua 23:14).

(3)Their efficacy, and so manifest His power (Psalm 78:19).

(4)Their unchangeableness, and so show His constancy (Job 23:13; James 1:17).

(5)Their wisdom, and so justify them to all (Job 12:6; 2 Corinthians 1:25).

(6)Their goodness, and so make known His kindness (Romans 8).

2. The manner of this discovery.

(1)By illumination, so that we may see.

(2)By experience, so that we may feel.

3. The time.

(1)Perhaps in this life. Many Christians have left the world justifying God's proceedings.

(2)Certainly in the life to come. "In Thy light we shall see light."

(T. Horten, D. D.)

That act of Christ's did seem strange, and Peter's bewilderment is not to be wondered at. Let us see how the Master dealt with it.

I. "WHAT I DO." What a wealth of meaning is stored in these three words. No angel mind can grasp them. He is the great Doer; always doing. "My Father worketh," etc. There is nothing anywhere, or at any time, that He does not perform, permit, or control, in mind or matter, heaven or earth.

II. "THOU KNOWEST NOT." Put the two pronouns side by side. "I" stands for the Deity, "thou" for the mortal. Oh, the folly and pride that criticises and objects to His providential rule! I could not worship a God whose work I could comprehend. How wicked to rebel because our poor capacity cannot gauge the Divine intention. If an architect were to ask you to explain the lines on which Chichester Cathedral is built as you were flashing by it in the express to Portsmouth, you would smile at his unreason, but you are moving across the field of God's matters more rapidly than that. You cannot pour the ocean into a pond, crowd the light of the sun into a lantern, compress the mind of an archangel into the brain of a schoolboy. Then, again, your affairs are mixed up with the rest of His matters, and what He does you know not, because you are only the smallest cog, and the scope of the machine is beyond your ken; because you are only one thread in the vast loom at which He is weaving, and the pattern and purpose cannot be scanned by mortal eyes. What, then, is the attitude we ought to take? One of implicit obedience and unflinching trust. Though we know not what He does we need never be at a loss to know what He would have us do. But if you set up a will of your own you must suffer. Loyally enter the train of His providence, make its movements yours, and you shall be carried safely to the terminus; but oppose it, and collision will come and eternal wreck — witness the cases of Pharaoh, Israel in the wilderness, Saul, Jerusalem.

III. "THOU SHALT KNOW HEREAFTER.'' In Peter's case the revelation followed close upon the mystery. It often does. It did to Joseph in Egypt, Esther in Persia, Luther in Wartburg. But whether here or not heaven will be the land of revelations. Amongst the many mansions there will be the Interpreter's house, where we shall look upon the picture of life as it was, and read the translations too. "There shall be no night there."

(J. Jackson Wray.)

What we do not know does not lessen or impair the value of what we do know.

(H. H. Dobney.)

I. THE EXISTING IGNORANCE OF THE GOOD. There is much that the best man does not know.

1. In nature. How little does the most scientific man know of the substances, lives, laws, operations, extent of the universe. How deeply did Newton feel his ignorance.

2. In moral government. The reasons for the introduction of sin, the suffering of innocence, the prosperity of the wicked, the tardy march of Christianity, are wrapt in obscurity.

3. The Divine revelation. What Peter said of Paul's epistles we feel to be true of the whole book — difficulties we cannot remove, doctrines that transcend our intelligence.

4. In his own experience. Why should he be dealt with as he is? Why such alternations of joy and sorrow, friendship and bereavement, health and sickness? Why such conflicting elements in his nature?

II. THE APPROACHING KNOWLEDGE OF THE GOOD. Christ's words imply that there is a hereafter, and that this hereafter will be a sphere of knowledge.

1. There will be sufficient time for knowing. What ages of study await us!

2. Sufficient facilities for knowing. All existing obstructions removed, and the immeasurable field of truth wide open under a never clouded or setting sun.


We view the text as containing —


1. To illustrate the fact of this present ignorance. God has been pleased to assist the human mind, by the gift of His own inspired word, and has imparted the influences of His Holy Spirit, by whose agency its meaning — which, to the carnal mind, is frequently obscure — is more fully unfolded. Yet, at the same time, there is a vast sphere over which, as yet, ignorance casts her shadow. "We know but in part," etc. For example:(1) The construction of your bodies; the constitution of your minds; the mode of their primeval union; of their present cooperation, and of their final separation — how much of mystery is here!(2) Angels. Their residence, occupations, enjoyments.(3) God, the trinity of persons in unity of essence, the perfections of His nature and the process by which He operates in the creation.(4) Providential dispensations.(5) The scheme of redemption.(6) Eternity.

2. To assign its reasons.(1) The limitation of our intellectual faculties, arising partly from their inherent constitution, and partly from their being now identified with material bodies.(2) The pollution of our moral nature.(3) The positive design of God, in order to continue our fitness for the ordinary associations and duties of life; to mature and to perfect the graces of the Christian character; to create and continue within us a vivid anticipation of the eventual possession of another and a better world.

II. A PROMISE OF FUTURE ILLUMINATION. Observe that the future state —

1. Is one of vast and expanded knowledge.(1) All obstructions will be removed.(2) Men are there to be brought into direct and immediate contact with objects, the very existence of which they now know only upon testimony and through faith.

2. The vast and expanded knowledge of the future state is identified with the highest interests of our being.(1) There is much of difficulty in studying, and oftentimes much of pain in acquisition, and its results. There is also much which directly tends to pollute. Ask the philosopher over his midnight lamp; the statesman amid the intricacies of his cabinet; the man of observation amid the buffeting and temptations of the world — one result will invariably be pronounced, "All is vanity and vexation of spirit."(2) Now against all this the knowledge of the celestial state is associated —(a) With our holiness. Not that the knowledge of heaven is an efficient cause of purity; but it will be an instrument for preserving it. Possessing such a knowledge, with such objects from such a source, and from such causes, it is impossible for the inhabitants of heaven to fall.(b) With our happiness; for holiness is inseparable from happiness. And what must be the result of those contemplations which the heavenly world fully and absolutely reveals to our view of providence and of redemption?Conclusion: Cherish —

1. Faith.

2. Desire.

3. Evangelical preparation.

(J. Parsons.)

It is very interesting to consider ourselves here as only in the childhood of our being, our full manhood being reserved for another and higher state of existence. When a man reviews the ideas, imaginations, and pursuits of his youth, he discovers a number of wild notions which he now would be ashamed to entertain, of false theories which a riper judgment has long ago exposed, and of worthless objects which have long ceased to attract his regards. He finds, moreover, that much which seemed inexplicable has become very plain, and that things at which he used to wonder present no longer any cause for surprise. Thus shalt it be with us hereafter. We shall look back upon riches, and honour, and property — things which now seem to us of great worth and importance — we shall look back upon them as so many toys with which it is wonderful we could ever have been pleased. Many of our present notions and opinions, though framed with care and maintained with pertinacity, will appear to us like the dreams and fancies of boyhood, which fade before the light of riper years; and the dispensations of Providence at which we now wonder, and beneath which we are too often impatient, will become as simple to us and as worthy of our gratitude as the discipline and correction we have received from earthly parents, which, whilst we were young, may have appeared to us harsh and unaccountable, but of which in later days we see all the reasons and feel all the worth.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

If we could know as much as we desire it would probably make us insane. We have seen gardeners pull down the awnings in their greenhouses. Plants may sometimes have too much sun, and so may we.

(T. Adams.)

A traveller, as he passed through a large and thick wood, saw a part of a huge oak which appeared misshapen, and seemed to spoil the scenery. "If," said he, "I was the owner I would cut down that tree." But when he had ascended the hill and taken a full view of the forest this same tree appeared the most beautiful part of the landscape. One day we are to have clearer vision of life's mysteries.

You go into the workshop of the artist who is framing a great structure. You see here a stone of a peculiar colour; there a stone of another colour; here one of this, and there one of that angle. You would not say to the artist, "You had better take this stone or that stone next;" you would submit to his superior wisdom. He sees the whole of the structure as it stands complete before his mind. What do you know of the whole plan? These few stones that you see can give you but the most imperfect conception of the cathedral in which they are to be placed. In God's providence I submit to the superior wisdom of the Great Architect. He takes from the earth one man and leaves another. We are amazed; we cannot understand it; we know not the plan that lies in God's mind.

(W. Hamma, D. D.)

Christ's "hereafter" has a large scope. In this case it might mean —

1. Presently — as soon as He had taken His garments and was set down again (vers. 12-15).

2. The later life of the apostle — when the Holy Spirit had led him into all truth, and he began to see in this act an epitome of all Christ's life, work, and teaching.

3. That haven of everlasting repose, where every mystery shall be read aright in the sunshine of the Saviour's presence. Let us now apply the text to —


1. Which of us has not asked himself, in taking part in the services of the Church, What is the meaning, hope, use of this entering a particular building, kneeling at certain rails, hearing and uttering of sounds, eating bread, drinking wine, sprinkling of a little child with water?

2. We can answer these questions most satisfactorily in these words of Christ. The operation of the Holy Spirit is observed not in the agency, but in the effect. It is mere impatience to say, Because I cannot see which way the Spirit came or went, I will not believe. Or, because I cannot see the connection between this word of God and my soul — because I cannot understand how my poor voice can make its way into the Eternal Presence, etc. — therefore I will forsake the assembling of Christians together, and trust that grace, the only real thing, will come to me all the same in solitude.

3. We hope that the hereafter thus promised is the nearest of the three. If a man will earnestly set himself to use the ordinances of the gospel, we trust that he will be enabled very soon to know what Christ does in them. And certainly, if we never find any good from any of them, we have cause for anxiety and self-suspicion. Every service ought to send us home saying, Lord, it was good for us to be there; it has enabled me to hold converse with Thee, and to go on my way rejoicing.

II. That which is true of ordinances is no less true of DOCTRINES.

1. There are many things which Christ teaches, and which the teaching of Christ presupposes as already communicated that we know not. We receive them; they lie on the surface of the intellect — unharmonized particulars — but they do not enter into our thoughts and feelings as truths grasped and realized. When we re-examine them they are each time as difficult as before, and we despair of ever fitting them into our plan of truth. There are some which we could wish away; the doctrines, e.g., of grace and freewill, of the existence of evil, of the atonement, of the Spirit.

2. In regard to all this "hereafter" is nearer and a more distant.(1) The first sound of these difficulties is daunting, yet, when we look into them we see a ray of light soon. Few, if any, are created by the gospel. Most certainly the existence of evil had place before, and would have place without, the gospel. Each, when tried not by the intellect but by the heart, diminishes almost into nothing, and is qualified by such accompaniments, that practically its force is almost nothing, as regards piety and life. It may be a hard saying, "Whom He will He hardeneth;" but if along with that there stands the promise, "Ask, and ye shall have — If any man thirst, let Him come unto Me and drink," we see at once that the object of the doctrine is rather attraction than repulsion.(2) And what I know not now I shall know hereafter. Life is troubled and confused; its opportunities of Divine study are rare and brief, its distractions many, the illusions of its sight and thought powerful, the gaze of the intellect into God's heaven dim and unsteady. But eternity will be free from all these interruptions: and when God Himself, revealed in open vision, becomes the instructor, we shall advance apace in that science of sciences, which is "the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

III. The text is no less true of PROVIDENCES. There are many things in the conduct of this world, whether in the affairs of empires or individuals, which are difficult to make consistent with the truth of a Divine Ruler. We make, some of us, too free a use of the word mysterious in our judgments upon Providence. There is nothing mysterious in the removal of a good man to his paradise, even though it leave a neighbourhood sad and a family fatherless, nor in any event which instructs the living or makes heaven more real to us, reflection easier, or repentance more resolved. The mysterious thing is, when evil is allowed to spread unchecked; when souls are lost in sin for which Christ died; when unprepared men are hurried to judgment without a moment for thought; when the Gospel of Christ seems to make so little progress. It is concerning these things that we have to say, "What I do," etc. And though we must not call affliction in its commoner forms a mystery, yet there is a sense in which even to it may be applied these words, and the Christian mourner, or watcher, or wrestler, with indwelling corruption, may be bidden to look up, and say, The time is at hand, for my Master tells me so, when I shall know why I was so buffeted and tempted. Even in the near hereafter I may be able to say, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted; in the great boundless hereafter I shall certainly read all clearly, and be satisfied when I awake in His likeness."

(Dean Vaughan.)

Homiletic Monthly.
"God's providences," says the godly Flavel, "like the Hebrew letters, are often to be read backward."

1. Sense doubts, while faith trusts.

2. The one questions while the other obeys.

3. The one must reason out all mysteries, all God's ways, while the other can take them on trust. "Though no affliction for the present seemeth joyous, but grievous, nevertheless, afterwards," etc.

(Homiletic Monthly.)

The subject suggests —


1. Respecting the Divine procedure. Peter was over hasty in judging Christ's action, for he was ignorant. Had he waited Christ would have made it clear. We, too, are incompetent to comprehend the Divine procedure.(1) When we consider the Doer it is not surprising that there should be much that is mysterious in His varied action in the universe. A man may do and say many things confounding to the intellect of his child; much more the infinite God.(2) No wonder that in a system so vast and complex there should be many things that appear to our limited view to conflict with Divine goodness, wisdom, and power; but the wise man will not conclude that the conflict is real; He will rather wait. Ignorance should be modest in its judgments.

2. Respecting the difficulties of Divine revelation. Because you fancy you see some contradictions in the Bible, or something opposed to science, do not rush to the conclusion that therefore the Bible is false. Wait! There may be a mistake somewhere outside the Bible. That which contradicts it may be mere hypothesis, or that in it which contradicts may be your own mistaken interpretation. A little more light may remove the difficulty.

II. THAT WHATEVER DIFFICULTIES THERE MAY BE SURROUNDING OTHER THINGS, AND HOWEVER IGNORANT WE MAY BE RESPECTING THEM, THERE IS AT LEAST ONE THING PLAIN — THE PATH OF DUTY. Peter's duty was plain, it was to obey Christ. No matter whether he saw the reason or not. The Scriptures, if they do not resolve your difficulties, yet do light up the path in which you should walk. If they do not supply all desirable light for the head, they do supply all needful light for the feet.

III. THAT OBEDIENCE IS THE CONDITION OF KNOWLEDGE. Christ did not impart knowledge, and then tell Peter to submit. Do what Christ enjoins and you will the better learn of Him. "If any man will do His will," etc. Patient acquiescence and trustful submission are the best guarantee of our knowledge of Divine things. The light becomes clearer and fuller as we follow it. Turn your back on it, and you shall go deeper and deeper into gloom.

(A. Bell, B. A.)

Jesus, Judas, Peter, Simon
Clear, Depart, Extent, Feast, Full, Hour, Incident, Leave, Love, Loved, Passover, Remove, Showed
1. Jesus washes the disciples' feet, and exhorts them to humility and charity.
18. He foretells and discovers to John by a token, that Judas should betray him;
31. commands them to love one another;
36. and forewarns Peter of his denials.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
John 13:1

     1115   God, purpose of
     1412   foreknowledge
     2045   Christ, knowledge of
     2048   Christ, love of
     2057   Christ, obedience
     2060   Christ, patience of
     2411   cross, predictions
     2530   Christ, death of
     4903   time
     4971   seasons, of life
     5013   heart, divine
     5762   attitudes, God to people
     5844   emotions
     6708   predestination
     7933   Lord's Supper
     8106   assurance, nature of
     8122   friendship, with God

John 13:1-11

     6028   sin, deliverance from

John 13:1-17

     2327   Christ, as servant
     4293   water
     5699   guests
     7449   slavery, spiritual
     8475   self-denial

December 16 Morning
Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.--JOHN 13:1. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.--Greater
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

May 16 Morning
A servant of Jesus Christ.--ROM. 1:1. Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.--If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.--Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.--Being made free from sin, and become servants
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

July 10 Morning
The disciple is not above his master.--MATT. 10:24. Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord.--If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep your's also.--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. Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

July 4 Morning
Leaning on Jesus' bosom.--JOHN 13:23. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.--They brought young children to him, that he should touch them. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.--Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days and have nothing to eat; and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.--A high Priest . . . touched with the feeling
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

July 28 Morning
Walk in love.--EPH. 5:2. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.--Above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.--Love covereth all sins. When ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.--Love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again.--Rejoice not when thine enemy
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

September 4 Evening
What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.--JOHN 13:7. Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. When I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine.--Whom the Lord
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

October 21 Evening
The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.--JOHN 13:16,17. There was . . . a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief,
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

August 30. "Happy are Ye if Ye do Them" (John xiii. 17).
"Happy are ye if ye do them" (John xiii. 17). You little know the rest that comes from the yielded will, the surrendered choice, the abandoned world, the meek and lowly heart that lets the world go by, and knows that it shall inherit the earth which it has refused! You little know the relish that it gives to the blessing to hunger and thirst after righteousness, and to be filled with a satisfaction that worldly delight cannot afford, and then to rise to the higher blessedness of the merciful, the
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Love of the Departing Christ
'... 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.'--JOHN xiii. 1. The latter half of St. John's Gospel, which begins with these words, is the Holy of Holies of the New Testament. Nowhere else do the blended lights of our Lord's superhuman dignity and human tenderness shine with such lambent brightness. Nowhere else is His speech at once so simple and so deep. Nowhere else have
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

'Is it I?'
'And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto Him, Lord, is it I? 25. Then Judas, which betrayed Him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.'-MATT. xxvi. 22, 25. 'He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto Him, Lord, who is it?'--JOHN xiii. 25. The genius of many great painters has portrayed the Lord's Supper, but the reality of it was very different from their imaginings. We have to picture to ourselves some low table, probably a mere tray
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Dismissal of Judas
'... Then said Jesus unto Judas, That thou doest, do quickly.'--JOHN xiii. 27. When our Lord gave the morsel, dipped in the dish, to Judas, only John knew the significance of the act. But if we supplement the narrative here with that given by Matthew, we shall find that, accompanying the gift of the sop, was a brief dialogue in which the betrayer, with unabashed front, hypocritically said, 'Lord! Is it I?' and heard the solemn, sad answer, 'Thou sayest!' Two things, then, appealed to him at the moment:
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Cannot and Can
'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.'--JOHN xiii. 33. The preceding context shows how large and black the Cross loomed before Jesus now, and how radiant the glory beyond shone out to Him. But it was only for a moment that either of these two absorbed His thoughts; and with wonderful self-forgetfulness and self-command, He turned away at once from the consideration of how the near future
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Seeking Jesus
'... Ye shall seek Me.'--JOHN xiii. 33. In the former sermon on this verse I pointed out that it, in its fullness, applies only to the brief period between the crucifixion and the resurrection, but that, partly by contrast and partly by analogy, it suggests permanent relations between Christ and His disciples. These relations were mainly--as I pointed out then--two: there was that one expressed by the subsequent words of the verse, 'Whither I go, ye cannot come'--a brief 'cannot,' soon to be changed
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

A Rash Vow
'Jesus answered him, Wilt them lay down thy life for My sake? Verily, verily I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied Me thrice.'--JOHN xiii. 38. In the last sermon I partly considered the dialogue of which this is the concluding portion, and found that it consisted of an audacious question: 'Why cannot I follow Thee now?' which really meant a contradiction of our Lord; of a rash vow; 'I will lay down my life for Thy sake'--and of a sad forecast: 'The cock shall not crow till
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Servant-Master
'Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself. After that He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded.'--JOHN xiii. 3-5. It has been suggested that the dispute as to 'which was the greatest,' which broke the sanctities of the upper chamber, was connected with
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Glory of the Cross
'Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God he glorified in Him, God shall also glorify Him in Himself, and shall straightway glorify Him.'--JOHN xiii. 31, 32. There is something very weird and awful in the brief note of time with which the Evangelist sends Judas on his dark errand. 'He ... went immediately out, and it was night.' Into the darkness that dark soul went. That hour was 'the power of darkness,' the very keystone of
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

'As I have Loved'
'A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another: as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.'--JOHN xiii. 34, 35. Wishes from dying lips are sacred. They sink deep into memories and mould faithful lives. The sense of impending separation had added an unwonted tenderness to our Lord's address, and He had designated His disciples by the fond name of 'little children.' The same sense here gives
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Quo Vadis?
'Peter said unto Him, Lord, why cannot I follow Thee now! I will lay down my life for Thy sake. Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for My sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied Me thrice.'--JOHN xiii. 37, 38. Peter's main characteristics are all in operation here; his eagerness to be in the front, his habit of blurting out his thoughts and feelings, his passionate love for his Master, and withal his inability to understand Him, and his self-confident
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

October the Twentieth the Lord as the Servant
"Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He came forth from God, and goeth to God...." --JOHN xiii. 1-20. And how shall we expect the sentence to finish? What shall be the issue of so vast a consciousness? "He took a towel, and girded Himself ... and began to wash the disciples' feet." So a mighty consciousness expresses itself in lowly service. In our ignorance we should have assumed that divinity would have moved only in planetary orbits, and would have
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

25TH DAY. Heavenly Illumination.
"He is Faithful that Promised." "What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter."--JOHN xiii. 7. Heavenly Illumination. As the natural sun sometimes sinks in clouds, so, occasionally, the Christian who has a bright rising, and a brighter meridian, sets in gloom. It is not always "light" at his evening-time; but this we know, that when the day of immortality breaks, the last vestige of earth's shadows will for ever flee away. To the closing hour of time, Providence may be to him
John Ross Macduff—The Faithful Promiser

Love is the Touchstone by which the Reality of Truth is Perceived...
1. Love is the touchstone by which the reality of truth is perceived, and by it shall all men know that ye are My disciples (John xiii.35). I also make use of the sword of justice, so that at first sight some are inclined to think that, like Solomon, I intend to finish My work without mercy (1 Kings iii.16-28), but My object, like his, is to apply the touchstone of love which will bring out the truth, and show that you are the children of that God of Love who gave His life to save yours. You ought
Sadhu Sundar Singh—At The Master's Feet

The Paschal Meal. Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet.
(Thursday Evening of the Beginning of Friday.) ^D John XIII. 1-20. ^d 1 Now before the feast of the passover, Jesus knowing that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto his Father, having loved his own that were in the world, he loved them unto the end. [Since the second century a great dispute has been carried on as to the apparent discrepancy between John and the synoptists in their statements concerning the passover. The synoptists, as we have seen in the previous section,
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

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