Yohanan Jewish New Testament and comments of David H. Stern
1. It was just before the festival of Pesach, and Yeshua knew that the time had come for him to pass from this world to the Father. Having loved his own people in the world, he loved them to the end.
Loved them to the end. Or: "loved them into the goal/consummation." See Ro 10:4N.
2. They were at supper, and the Adversary had already put the desire to betray him into the heart of Y’hudah Ben-Shim‘on from K’riot.
3. Yeshua was aware that the Father had put everything in his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God.
4. So he rose from the table, removed his outer garments and wrapped a towel around his waist.
5. Then he poured some water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the talmidim and wipe them off with the towel wrapped around him.
He began to wash the feet of the talmidim. Footwashing was a courtesy shown to L'ucsis in a home, usually performed by a servant or the host's wife when the guests entered the house or while they were reclining at table (see Lk 7:44, Mk 1:7). Here Yeshua acts out his teaching of Mk 10:43-44 that the greatest must be a servant.
6. He came to Shim‘on Kefa, who said to him, “Lord! You are washing my feet?”
7. Yeshua answered him, “You don’t understand yet what I am doing, but in time you will understand.”
8. “No!” said Kefa, “You will never wash my feet!” Yeshua answered him, “If I don’t wash you, you have no share with me.”
9. “Lord,” Shim‘on Kefa replied, “not only my feet, but my hands and head too!”
10. Yeshua said to him, “A man who has had a bath doesn’t need to wash, except his feet — his body is already clean. And you people are clean, but not all of you.”
Compare Exodus 30:20: "Aaron and his sons are to wash their hands and feet.. .when they come near the altar to minister..., so that they will not die." The cohanim were already cleansed from impurity, but even so they had to wash their hands and feet.
Once sins of the past have been forgiven we need not have them forgiven again; the initial confession and immersion that washes away past sin need not be repeated. But there is continual need to repent of newly committed sins, make reparation for them and seek forgiveness for them. Compare these verses with the more explicit teaching on this subject at 1 Yn 1:5-2:2.
11. (He knew who was betraying him; this is why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”)
12. After he had washed their feet, taken back his clothes and returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you?
13. You call me ‘Rabbi’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because I am.
14. Now if I, the Lord and Rabbi, have washed your feet, you also should wash each other’s feet.
15. For I have set you an example, so that you may do as I have done to you.
16. Yes, indeed! I tell you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is an emissary greater than the one who sent him.
An emissary. Greek apostolos ("one sent"); see Mt 10:2-4N.
17. If you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
If, as is the case, you know these things (vv. 13-16), you will be blessed if you do them, or: "you will find happiness/joy in behaving accordingly."
A talmid is not above his rabbi but can become like his rabbi. This pattern was standard in both first-century and later Judaism. See the JNT glossary entry on "lalmid" Mt 5: IN and the midrash extract cited in I9:17N.
18. “I’m not talking to all of you — I know which ones I have chosen. But the words of the Tanakh must be fulfilled that say, 'The one eating my bread has turned against me' (Psalm 41:10(9)).
19. I’m telling you now, before it happens; so that when it does happen, you may believe that I AM [who I say I am].
Another "I AM" statement; see 4:26N.
20. Yes, indeed! I tell you that a person who receives someone I send receives me, and that anyone who receives me receives the One who sent me.”
Compare Lk 10:16, Mt 10:40.
21. After saying this, Yeshua, in deep anguish of spirit, declared, “Yes, indeed! I tell you that one of you will betray me.”
22. The talmidim stared at one another, totally mystified — whom could he mean?
23. One of his talmidim, the one Yeshua particularly loved, was reclining close beside him.
One of his laliniilim, the one Yeshua particularly loved. This is Yochanan, the author of the Gospel. See 19:26-27&N. 21:20.
24. So Shim‘on Kefa motioned to him and said, “Ask which one he’s talking about.”
25. Leaning against Yeshua’s chest, he asked Yeshua, “Lord, who is it?”
26. Yeshua answered, “It’s the one to whom I give this piece of matzah after I dip it in the dish.” So he dipped the piece of matzah and gave it to Y’hudah Ben-Shim‘on from K’riot.
Piece of matzah, Greek psomion. "small bit of bread." We know from Mt 26:17, 23; Mk 14:1, 12,20; and Lk 22:1, 7 that the "bit of bread" was unleavened. Dip it in the dish, perhaps of charosel and/or maror (see Mt 26:23N). Maror ("bitter herbs"), which in the Passover service recalls the bitterness of Israelite slavery in Egypt, is appropriate to the present occasion as well.
27. As soon as Y’hudah took the piece of matzah, the Adversary went into him. “What you are doing, do quickly!” Yeshua said to him.
28. But no one at the table understood why he had said this to him.
29. Some thought that since Y’hudah was in charge of the common purse, Yeshua was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival,” or telling him to give something to the poor.
As noted in 18:28N, some scholars believe Yochanan reports a different date for the Last Supper than the synoptic Gospels. Part of their reasoning is that if it were the Seder meal as the Synoptics say (but see the suggestion in Mt 26:2N that it was a se 'udat-siyum), no one would have thought that... Yeshua was telling Y'huduh, "Buy what we need for the festival." Following are three supporting arguments, along with points against them:
(1) Argument: Halakhah prohibits financial transactions on Shabbat and festivals. Against: The Oral Law as we know it today was not yet finalized in Yeshua's time.
(2) Argument: Therefore the stores would be closed, so there would be no place to buy anything. Against: If argument (1) does not hold, neither does (2). According to С. Н. Lenski's commentary, St. John's Gospel, stores were shut on Nisan 13 (the day before Pesach) but open all night on Nisan 14, as preparations were made for the chagigah the following morning (see I8:28N); he docs not give the source for this information.
(3) Argument: If it was already Erev-Pesach ("Passover eve"), it was too late to buy what was needed for it. Against: The directive may have been to buy for the rest of the seven-day festival, not for the Seder.
30. As soon as he had taken the piece of matzah, Y’hudah went out, and it was night.
And it was night. Words of heaviness, with symbolic as well as literal import. Compare 9:4-5, 12:46; Lk 22:53.
31. After Y’hudah had left, Yeshua said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.
32. If the Son has glorified God, God will himself glorify the Son, and will do so without delay.
33. Little children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and, as I said to the Judeans, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’ now I say it to you as well.
34. “I am giving you a new command: that you keep on loving each other. In the same way that I have loved you, you are also to keep on loving each other.
Why is this a new commandment? Doesn't Leviticus 19:18 already say, "Love your neighbor as yourself"? The difference is this: Leviticus says, "as yourself; Yeshua says, "In the same way that 1 have loved you," which presupposes that God's way of loving can be ours. Humanly this is impossible. But Yeshua gives us a new nature, a new spirit, in fulfillment of Tanakh promises (Bzekiel 36:26, 37:14; Jeremiah 31:32(33)), God's Spirit, the Holy Spirit. This is how we can love as God loves; God makes it possible.
35. Everyone will know that you are my talmidim by the fact that you have love for each other.”
Everyone will know that you are my talmidim by the fact that you have love for each other. I personally bear witness to the truth of this statement. I became willing to investigate the truth claims of the New Testament not because 1 was overwhelmed by irrefutable arguments but because I met believers whose love tor each other went beyond what I had experienced. It was not even their love toward me which impressed me (although they treated me well), but their self-sacrificing and cheerful willingness to give themselves fully for each other without any trace of self-serving motivation. This is what those who claim to be trusting Yeshua are called to do and can expect God's power to enable them to do. God can be counted on to fulfill his promise that the world will recognize such people as true disciples of Yeshua.
36. Shim‘on Kefa said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Yeshua answered, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow later.”
37. “Lord,” Kefa said to him, “why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you!”
Kefa, ebullient as always (e.g, vv. 8-9), makes a rash promise, also reported at Mt 26:33-34. Mk 14:29-30, Lk 22:33-34.
38. Yeshua answered, “You will lay down your life for me? Yes, indeed! I tell you, before the rooster crows you will disown me three times.
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