Jesus said to him, He that is washed needs not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and you are clean, but not all.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet.—Better, He who has bathed . . . St. Peter’s words have implied that he was wholly unclean, and needed for feet, and head, and hands, for the whole man, a moral cleansing. Christ answers that this was not so. The man who has been bathed is clean, but his feet coming in contact with the dust of the road need to be washed. It was so morally. They had been cleansed; their whole moral life had been changed, but they were liable to the corruption of every-day life through which they walked, and needed to be cleansed from the pollution of it. That day had furnished an example; their pride and self-seeking was of the spirit of the world, and not of the spirit of Christ; His act was a cleansing from that, but it did not imply that they were not clean. The lesson is that all, from Apostles downwards, need the daily renewing of the grace of God; and that none should find in failure, or even in the evil which clings to his daily path, reason for questioning the reality of the moral change which has made him the child of God.
And ye are clean, but not all.—This is the moral application, accompanied by the mournful thought that it was not true of all. One there was among those who had been bathed who had allowed evil to enter into his heart and pollute it. For him cleansing had been neglected, and the daily corruption of the world had remained; evil thoughts had been harboured, until at length they had made corrupt the whole man. (Comp. Note on John 15:4.)John 15:3; that they were qualified to partake of the ordinances of religion, and needed only to be purified from occasional blemishes and impurities (Grotius). Others say that there is not evidence that the Jews bathed before partaking of the Paschal Supper, but that reference is made to the custom of washing their hands and their face. It is known that this was practiced. See the Matthew 15:2 note; Mark 7:3-4 notes. Peter had requested him to wash his hands and his head. Jesus told him that as that had been done, it was unnecessary to repeat it; but to wash the feet was an act of hospitality, the office of a servant, and that all that was needed now was for him to show this condescension and humility. Probably reference is had here to internal purity, as Jesus was fond of drawing illustrations from every quarter to teach them spiritual doctrine; as if he had said, "You are clean by my word and ministry John 15:3; you are my followers, and are prepared for the scene before you. But one thing remains. And as, when we come to this rite, having washed, there remains no need of washing except to wash the feet, so there is now nothing remaining but for me to show you an example that you will always remember, and that shall complete my public instructions to you."
Is clean - This word may apply to the body or the soul.
Every whit - Altogether, wholly.
Ye are clean - Here the word has doubtless reference to the mind and heart.
needeth not—to be so washed any more.
save to wash his feet—needeth to do no more than wash his feet (and here the former word is resumed, meaning to wash the hands or feet).
but is clean every whit—as a whole. This sentence is singularly instructive. Of the two cleansings, the one points to that which takes place at the commencement of the Christian life, embracing complete absolution from sin as a guilty state, and entire deliverance from it as a polluted life (Re 1:5; 1Co 6:11)—or, in the language of theology, Justification and Regeneration. This cleansing is effected once for all, and is never repeated. The other cleansing, described as that of "the feet," is such as one walking from a bath quite cleansed still needs, in consequence of his contact with the earth. (Compare Ex 30:18, 19). It is the daily cleansing which we are taught to seek, when in the spirit of adoption we say, "Our Father which art in heaven … forgive us our debts" (Mt 6:9, 12); and, when burdened with the sense of manifold shortcomings—as what tender spirit of a Christian is not?—is it not a relief to be permitted thus to wash our feet after a day's contact with the earth? This is not to call in question the completeness of our past justification. Our Lord, while graciously insisting on washing Peter's feet, refuses to extend the cleansing farther, that the symbolical instruction intended to be conveyed might not be marred.
and ye are clean—in the first and whole sense.
but not all—important, as showing that Judas, instead of being as true-hearted a disciple as the rest at first, and merely falling away afterwards—as many represent it—never experienced that cleansing at all which made the others what they were.1 Corinthians 6:11), their state is not to be renewed; they need not be justified a second time; but they will have need to have their feet washed, in regard of their remainder of sin and lust that is in them, and will be so while they are in the world, and the temptations which every where he in the world, as snares for their feet; they will have need of a daily washing by repentance, and fresh applications of their souls to my blood, by the repeated exercises of faith, according to their renewed and repeated acts of sin.
Ye are clean; you, who are my apostles, are clean; you are washed, you are justified, I have forgiven your sins, accepted your persons.
But not all; the most of you are so, but not all.
needeth not, save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit; the feet of his life and conversation, which are continually gathering dirt, and need daily washing in the blood of Christ; and therefore recourse must be constantly had to that fountain to wash in, for sin and for uncleanness. The allusion is either to persons washed all over in a bath, who have no need to wash again, unless their feet, which may contract some soil in coming out of it; or to travellers, who have often need to wash their feet, though no other part, and such is the case of the children of God in this life; or rather to the priests, who having bathed themselves in the morning, needed not to wash again all the day, except their hands and feet, on certain occasions (x).
And ye are clean, but not all; which shows, that justifying and regenerating grace are common to all the true disciples of Christ; they are equally born again, alike justified, and are as clean one as an other in the sight of God; not only Peter, but all the apostles, were clean, excepting one; there was one of them, Judas, who was not clean; and therefore he says, but not all: whence it may be observed, that among the purest societies, there are some unclean persons; there was a Judas, an unclean person among the pure disciples of Christ; there are chaff and tares among his wheat, goats among his sheep, and foolish virgins along with the wise ones.Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 13:10-11. Jesus sets the disciple right, and that by proceeding to speak of the washing in question according to the spiritual sense of which it is to be taken as the symbol, in order thereby to lead the disciple, who had misunderstood Him, to the true comprehension of the matter. According to the mere verbal sense, He says: “He who has bathed needs nothing further than to wash his feet (which have been soiled again by the road); rather is he (except as to this necessary cleansing of the feet) clean in his entire body.” But this statement, derived from experience of the sensuous province of life, serves as a symbolical wrapping of the ethical thought which Jesus desires to set forth: “He who has already experienced moral purification in general and on the whole in fellowship with me, like him who has cleansed his whole body in the bath, requires only to be freed from the sinful defilement in individual things which has been again contracted in the intercourse of life; as one who has bathed only requires again the washing of his feet, but in other respects he is clean as to his whole moral personality.” This necessity of individual purification demanding daily penitence, which Jesus here sets forth in the λελουμένος by τοὺς πόδας νίψασθαι, how manifest it became in the very case of Peter! E.g., after he denied his Lord, and after the hypocrisy exhibited at Antioch, Galatians 2. To illustrate the entire spiritual purification by Ὁ ΛΕΛΟΥΜΈΝΟς, however, suggested itself so very naturally through the very feet-washing, which was just about to be undertaken as its correlate, that an allusion to baptism (Theodore of Mopsuestia, Augustine, Ruperti, Erasmus, Jansen, Zeger, Cornelius a Lapide, Schoettgen, Wetstein, and many others, including Olshausen, B. Crusius, Ewald, Hengstenberg, Godet), perhaps after 1 Corinthians 6:11, cannot be made good, while it is not even requisite to assume a reference to the by no means universal custom of bathing before meals. The word is to be thought of as the purifying element represented in ὁ λελουμένος; as also in the simile of the vine, which is analogous in regard to the matter of fact depicted, the ΚΑΘΑΡΟΊ ἘΣΤΕ, John 15:3, is referred back only to the word of Christ as the ground thereof. But the notion of ethical purification must, in the connection of the entire symbolism of the passage, be also strictly and firmly maintained in οὐ χρείαν … νίψασθαι; so that the latter is not, as Linder, in the Stud. u. Krit. 1867, p. 512 ff., thinks, intended to suggest that the clean man even may undergo the feet-washing,—not, however, for the object of purification, but as a token of love or humble subjection.
καὶ ὑμεῖς καθαραί ἐστε] Hereby Jesus now makes the application to Peter and his fellow-disciples of what was previously said in the form of a general proposition: “Ye also are clean,” as I, namely, have just expressed it of the λελουμένος; you also have attained in your living fellowship with me through my word to this moral purity of your entire personality; but—so He subjoins with deep grief, having Judas Iscariot in view—but not all! One there is amongst you who has frustrated in his own case the purifying influence of this union with me! Had Peter hitherto not yet seized the symbolical significance of the discourse of Jesus, yet now, on this application καὶ ὑμεῖς, κ.τ.λ., and on this tragical addition ἈΛΛʼ ΟὐΧῚ ΠΆΝΤΕς, its meaning must have dawned upon his understanding.
Ἤ] gives a comparative reference to the absolute expression ΟὐΚ ἜΧΕΙ ΧΡ.: has no need (further) than. Comp. Xen. Mem. iv. 3. 9; Herod. vi. 52: οὐ δυναμένους δὲ γνῶναι ἢ καὶ πρὸ τούτου (better than even formerly); Soph. Trach. 1016; Winer, p. 473 [E. T. p. 638].
τὸν παραδίδ. αὐτόν] His betrayer, Matthew 26:48; John 18:2.
Further, what has been said of an anti-Petrine aim in this passage, in spite of John 1:43, John 6:68-69 (Strauss, Schwegler, Baur, Hilgenfeld), by which the desire for an Ebionitic lavation of the whole body has actually been ascribed to Peter (Hilgenfeld), is altogether imaginary.
 Calvin well remarks: “Non quod omni ex parte puri sint, ut nulla in illis macula amplius haereat, sed quoniam praecipua sui parte mundati sunt, dum scilicet ablatum est regnum peccato ut justitia Dei superior sit.”John 13:10. Ὁ λελουμένος … ὅλος. “He that has been in the bath has no need to wash save his feet, but is all clean.” His feet may be soiled by walking from the public bath to the supper chamber, and it is enough that they be washed. “Ad convivium vocati solebant prius in balneo lavari; in domo vero convivatoris nonnisi pedes, quibus in via pulvis aut sordes adhaeserant, a servis abluebantur, ne lecti, super quibus accumbebant, macularentur.” Wetstein. He supports the statement by many references. The added clause discloses that a spiritual sense underlies the symbol: ὑμεῖς καθαροί ἐστε, ἀλλʼ οὐχὶ πάντες, “ye are clean, but not all”. All had been washed: the feet of Judas were as clean as those of Peter. But Judas was not clean.10. He that is washed] Rather, He that is bathed (comp. Hebrews 10:22 and 2 Peter 2:22). In the Greek we have quite a different word from the one rendered ‘wash’ elsewhere in these verses: the latter means to wash part of the body, this to bathe the whole person. A man who has bathed does not need to bathe again when he reaches home, but only to wash the dust off his feet: then he is wholly clean. So also in the spiritual life, a man whose moral nature has once been thoroughly purified need not think that this has been all undone if in the walk through life he contracts some stains: these must be washed away, and then he is once more wholly clean. Peter, conscious of his own imperfections, in Luke 5:8, and possibly here, rushes to the conclusion that he is utterly unclean. But his meaning here perhaps rather is; ‘If having part in Thee depends on being washed by Thee, wash all Thou canst.’ S. Peter excellently illustrates Christ’s saying. His love for his Master proves that he had bathed; his boastfulness (John 13:37), his attack on Malchus (John 18:10), his denials (25, 27) his dissimulation at Antioch (Galatians 2), all shew how often he had need to wash his feet.
but not all] This is the second indication of the presence of a traitor among them (comp. John 6:70). Apparently it did not attract much attention: each, conscious of his own faults, thought the remark only too true. The disclosure is made gradually but rapidly now (John 13:18; John 13:21; John 13:26).John 13:10. Ὁ λελουμένος) λούω (whence comes λουτρόν) is said of the whole body; νίπτω of a part of it.—οὐ, not) Jesus brings back the feeling of Peter to due bounds.—πόδας, feet) which are the last in being washed, and the first in being soiled.—ὅλος, all over) when the feet have been washed.—καθαροί, clean) ch. John 15:3, “Now ye are clean through the word, which I have spoken unto you.”Verse 10. - Jesus saith to him. Christ's answer here undoubtedly shows that he is speaking of something far more important than the foot-washing. He goes back to the spiritual meaning which Peter attributed to his words. He that has been bathed (λελουμένος) is indeed washed from head to foot, hath no further need than to wash his feet, but is altogether clean. By personal communion with the Lord and belief in him, by the word which he had spoken to his disciples, they were (καθαροί) clean (John 15:3). They had been washed from the defilement of their old nature, they had undergone a thorough moral and spiritual change, by moral union with Christ. They were reconciled and cleansed; they therefore did not need a fundamental change to be wrought daily in head, hands, and life. Just as a man who had thoroughly bathed only requires the removal of the soil contracted in the daily walk; so a regenerated and forgiven man is clean, and, like Peter, should not need, being καθαρός, more than the foot-cleansing which Christ in Divine condescension had then granted. It was inevitable that some of the Fathers (Augustine, Theodore) and many modern expositors (Hengstenberg, Godet, and Wordsworth) should see here a reference to baptism, and speak of Peter's having overlooked the grace of his baptism. When it is remembered, however, that nothing but John's "baptism unto repentance" had been administered to the disciples, and that this cleansing is, in John 15:3, distinctly referred to the word of Christ, it is a very unnecessary trifling with the text to find in this λελουμένος baptism or any sacramental or symbolic act. Lampe and Cocceius, in rendering λελουμένος, substitute for baptism, the regeneration of the Spirit, and treat the washing of the feet as equivalent to the daily forgiveness of sins of infirmity. Archdeacon Farrar, 'Early Days of Christianity,' vol. 1. p. 126, suggests that this intensely interesting scene may account for Simon Peter's picturesque expression (1 Peter 5:5, ἐκομβώσασθε), wherein he enjoins on Christians to "tie on humility like a dress fastened with knots;" and also for the apostle's "insight into the true meaning of baptism, as being, not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God." And ye are clean; and therefore these words and this principle apply to you. Dr. Westcott finds in this phrase a reference to the purity of the visible Church, notwithstanding, i.e., the presence of Judas in the group; but the exception itself which follows shows that the Lord did not regard Judas as λελουμένος or καθαρός. The suggestion of the passage is precisely contrary to that so often drawn. But not all. This reference to Judas may have been one more warning to the man who was plotting against his Master's life.
The A.V. obliterates the distinction between λούω, to bathe, to apply water to the whole body, and νίπτω, to wash a part of the body. Thus, when Dorcas died (Acts 9:37) they bathed her body (λούσαντες). The proverb in 2 Peter 2:22, is about the sow that has been bathed all over (λουσαμένη). On the other hand, he who fasts must wash (νὶψαι) his face (Matthew 6:17). Both verbs are always used of living beings in the New Testament. The word for washing things, as nets, garments, etc., is πλύνω. See Luke 5:2. All three verbs occur in Leviticus 15:11 (Sept.).
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