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end,” and demonstrated his love by that condescending act of washing the disciples' feet. This he did, not when supper was ended, as our translation would lead us to suppose, but“ at supper time,” when they were just going to eat, at the commencement of the day of preparation preceding the Passover. For the Jews began their day, as they still do, in the evening. Such washing of the feet may have been no unusual service; therefore Jesus said to the Pharisee, who had invited him to eat with him, “ I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet +.” Jesus did it under a perfect consciousness of his own dignity,“ knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God.” The zealous character of St. Peter is strongly pourtrayed by his first refusing to let his Lord perform so servile an office to him; and afterwards, when Jesus had observed to him, “ If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me;" Simon Peter, with a mixed emotion of humility and love, saith unto him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands, and my head.” Jesus told him that he knew not then the meaning of this action, but he should understand it afterwards. Accordingly he explains it a few verses after, teaching them that it was not a mere cleansing of the body, but an example of condescension and benevolence, which if he, their Master and Lord, exhibited towards them, much more ought they to exhibit towards each other ; and such charity would purify their hearts from all iniquity. But it is not enough to know these things, unless we do them also.
* The word yiyvouai signifying “to happen," it follows that the participle will properly be rendered “having taken place ;” not expressing thereby either the beginning, or the end of supper, but that they were together upon the occasion of supper. This likewise explains a passage of St. Matthew's Gospel (chap. xxiv. 34.) éwç av havra tauta yevntal, which means not, “ till all these things be fulfilled,” but,“ till the period of the gospel dispensation, including all these things, be entered upon.” So Rev. i. 1. å del γενεσθαι εν ταχει. Therefore Μatt. XXvi. 6. του δε Ιησου γεvouevov ev Bndavıq, is rightly translated, “when Jesus was in Bethany."
Luke vii. 44. See also 1 Tim. v. 10.
Ver. 18. In the verses which follow, Jesus specifies more particularly, than he had done before, that one of those, who were at table with him, would betray him; and he warns his apostles of it before-hand, that, instead of discouraging them, this event, which he had foretold, might be an additional proof of his divine knowledge, and a confirmation of their belief in him as their Messiah, the “I Am” of the Old Testament. He then anticipates the time when he should be removed from them, and comforts them by assuring them with great earnestness, “ Verily, verily, I say unto you,” that whoever received those his apostles, should be considered as receiving him; and by receiving him, they would in effect receive God the Father who sent him.
Ver. 21. Again we hear of Jesus being “ troubled in spirit.” As the Son of man he may be supposed not to have been unaffected with the prospect of his approaching crucifixion ; but his anxiety ought more especially to be attributed to the distress and difficulties which he foresaw awaited his apostles in the execution of the great work
upon which they were to be sent. And being of so gentle a nature, he must surely have felt also the cruelty of being betrayed by one of his chosen disciples; for “ it is not an open enemy that hath done this, for then I could have born it; but it was even thou, my companion, and mine own familiar friend.” Judas, no doubt, dissembled, while the other apostles understood not of whom he spake, and, as the evangelist most naturally relates it, “ looked one on another.” Now John happened to be situated next to Jesus. To
him therefore Peter beckoned to ask softly who it was that Jesus meant. The manner of reclining at meals has already been explained ; so that by “leaning on * Jesus' bosom” will readily be understood the occupying the seat next below him on the same couch, whereby his head came opposite the breast of Jesus, and afforded an opportunity for such secret inquiry. Nobody has hesitated to admit that John was himself the person, who is called “ one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.” But I apprehend it is a mistake to suppose that he intended by this expression to arrogate to himself any superiority as one who enjoyed the partial favor of his Lord. Such a sense is hardly compatible with the dignified character of our + Saviour, and is quite inconsistent with the singular modesty of the apostle, who studiously withholds all mention of his own | name, even in
* So Plinius Ep. iv. 22. Cænabat Nerva cum paucis, Veiento proximus, atque etiam in sinu recumbebat.
† God maketh no arbitrary or groundless discriminations. He neither loveth and favoreth, nor loatheth and discountenanceth any person unaccountably. Impartiality is a divine attribute and perfection of God. (Barrow, fol. vol. iii. Serm. 38.)
In the 15th and 16th verses of the eighteenth chapter we find St. John concealing his own name under the general expression of “ another disciple,” without any further addition.
his Epistles. The same feeling may probably have influenced him to suppress also the mention of his mother among the women who attended at the crucifixion, though we know from the other evangelists that she was there *. The more probable interpretation of St. John's words appears to me to be," a disciple, to whom, unworthy as he was, his Saviour had deigned to extend his regard t." John's question, and the answer of Jesus, must be supposed to have been made privately. Besides the probability of the thing, we find that in fact the others who were present, did not understand with what intent Jesus presently afterwards said to Judas, “ That thou doest, do quickly.” These words, which might have convinced Judas that his Lord was privy to his designs, ought to have produced contrition and repentance on a mind less obstinate in wickedness. But Judas seems only to have been provoked thereby to accelerate his purpose; and he immediately went out, and offered himself a guide to the enemies of Jesus, that they might waylay him on his return from Jerusalem across the
* Matt. xxvii. 56. Mark xvi. 1.