John also emphasizes the role of Judas in the beginning of this scene ( 13: 2 ) , framing the scene immediately preceding the Farewell Discourse with the report of Jesus betrayal ( 13: 21–30 ) as well as Satans activity ( 13: 2, 27; see comment on 13: 27 ) . 8052 Finally, John prefaces the scene by emphasizing Jesus authority, source, and destination, which heightens the significance of his service to the disciples that immediately follows ( 13: 3 ) . 8053 The connection between 13and 13may suggest that Jesus takes his position as Lord of all things 8054 ( 13: 3; see comment on 3: 35 ) only after enduring the death of the cross ( 13: 1 ) . In this light it appears all the more striking that the all-powerful Word became flesh and served disciples who consistently misunderstood and sometimes failed him. This perspective, more widespread in early Christianity ( see Phil 2: 6–11 ) , 8055 seems distinctive of early Christianity.
The Gospel of John, The ultimate model for love and service. 13:1-38 ...
Who might be present at the banquet? Unless they met in a home of inordinate size, and especially if they met in an upper room as in the tradition ( Mark 14: 15; Luke 22: 12; Acts 1: 13 ) , probably only a small number of disciples could be present (though cf. Acts 1: 15, if it assumes the same location as 1: 13) . It is reasonable to identify these roughly with the Twelve ( 6: 71 ) . In much of the Hellenistic world, women typically attended drinking parties only if they were courtesans or part of the entertainment.
That Jesus and his disciples «reclined» ( 13: 12, 23 ) indicates the nature of their seating. From the East, Greeks had adopted the practice of reclining on a couch during the main meal; because one propped oneself up by the left elbow, diners had only one free hand, so attendants cut up the food in advance and diners ate most often with their hands. 8059 Thus a later Jewish report suggests that guests gathered on benches or chairs; when all the guests had arrived, they would each wash one hand, have appetizers, recline, and wash both hands before the main mea1. 8060 Tables were placed beside couches so that diners could readily reach their food. 8061 Although Jewish people in Palestine usually sat on chairs when available, 8062 they had adopted the Hellenistic custom of reclining for banquets, 8063 including the Passover, 8064 a setting that the Fourth Gospel and its first audience might assume from the Gospel tradition despite the Fourth Gospels symbolic shift of the Passover to one day later. 8065 It probably implies that John has, after all, revised an earlier Passover tradition. (One would not expect John to harmonize all his traditions, 8066 though his narrative may be more consistent in its portrayal of Jesus than that of Matthew or Luke is.) Authenticity and Significance of the Foot Washing Although we will offer brief comment on specific verses below, many of the critical issues surround the passage as a whole.
1. The Question of Historical Authenticity Against the tendency to suppose that whatever event is reported only in John is likely fictitious, it should be remembered that Matthew and Luke felt free to supplement Marks outline with other material, much of which they share in common but much of which they do not. Given the small quantity of extant data to work with, multiple attestation works as a much more valid criterion when applied positively than when applied negatively. Man-son thinks that Jesus may have washed the disciples feet at the Last Supper, citing Luke 22: 27. 8067 Certainly Jesus there uses himself as an example of one who serves ( Luke 22: 27 ) , while exhorting his disciples to serve one another ( Luke 22: 26 ) . 8068 Normally foot washing would precede a meal ( cf. Luke 7: 44 ) , but the foot washing here follows most of the meal ( 13: 2–4 ) ; the logic of the narrative prevents any further eating, for Jesus soon departs. 8069 Given Johns different date for Passover, 8070 however, he may deliberately omit discussion of the meal to keep the emphasis on the cross itself.
2. The Message of the Foot Washing The theology of the foot washing is, however, of greater importance to us here.