Summary: GRACE

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John 13:1-17 PP1

look like taking state, he presently balances it with this act of abasement. But why would Christ do this? If the disciples’ feet needed washing, they could wash them themselves; a wise man will not do a thing that looks odd and unusual, but for very good causes and considerations. We are sure that it was not in a humour or a frolic that this was done; no, the transaction was very solemn, and carried on with a great deal of seriousness; and four reasons are here intimated why Christ did this:--

1. That he might testify his love to his disciples, v. 1, 2.

2. That he might give an instance of his own voluntary humility and condescension, v. 3-5.

3. That he might signify to them spiritual washing, which is referred to in his discourse with Peter, v. 6-11.

4. That he might set them an example, v. 12-17. And the opening of these four reasons will take in the exposition of the whole story.

(from Matthew Henry’s Commentary)

John 13:1-17 PP11

2. Christ manifested his love to them by washing their feet, as that good woman showed her love to Christ by washing his feet and wiping them. Thus he would show that as his love to them was constant so it was condescending,-- that in prosecution of the designs of it he was willing to humble himself,-- and that the glories of his exalted state, which he was now entering upon, should be no obstruction at all to the favour he bore to his chosen; and thus he would confirm the promise he had made to all the saints that he would make them sit down to meat, and would come forth and serve them , would put honour upon them as great and surprising as for a lord to serve his servants. The disciples had just now betrayed the weakness of their love to him, in grudging the ointment that was poured upon his head , yet he presently gives this proof of his love to them. Our infirmities are foils to Christ’s kindnesses, and set them off.

(from Matthew Henry’s Commentary)

John 13:1-17 PP32

advancements. Now that which Christ humbled himself to was to wash his disciples’ feet.

(1.) the action itself was mean and servile, and that which servants of the lowest rank were employed in. Let thine handmaid (saith Abigail) be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord; let me be in the meanest employment, <1 Sam. 25:41>. If he had washed their hands or faces, it had been great condescension (Elisha poured water on the hands of Elijah, <2 Kin. 3:11>); but

(from Matthew Henry’s Commentary)

John 13:1-17 PP32

(2.) the condescension was so much the greater that he did this for his own disciples, who in themselves were of a low and despicable condition, not curious about their bodies; their feet, it is likely, were seldom washed, and therefore very dirty. In relation to him, they were his scholars, his servants, and such as should have washed his feet, whose dependence was upon him, and their expectations from him. Many of great spirits otherwise will do a mean thing to curry favour with their superiors; they rise by stooping, and climb by cringing; but for Christ to do this to his disciples could be no act of policy nor complaisance, but pure humility.

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