John 13:11-15
John 13:11 (KJB)
For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.
John records the fact that even though the other disciples did not know that Judas was going to betray Jesus, He knew it and that is why He stated that not all the disciples were clean. Judas was Satan’s emissary within the disciples. Just as the laver in the Temple showed the need for washing before entering God’s presence, Jesus had taught this truth when He washed their feet. Actually, Judas was the only one among the disciples who needed a whole bath, that is, salvation.
John 13:12 (KJB)
So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
Now Jesus begins to teach verbally what He had done for them. He continued with the foot washing until He was done and took His garments again and then rejoined the disciples at the table. He then asks a question which really they couldn’t answer because it was the introduction to the lesson they were about to learn.
John 13:13 (KJB)
Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
Master - Teacher
Well - Correctly or commendably
In the Greek, there are definite articles before Master and Lord which means the Apostles had seen Jesus not as just a teacher like the others in Jerusalem. Jesus came with the message of salvation and He came from Heaven. This would have put Him in a different category than the earthly teachers. His disciples saw Him as unique among all the teachers because there was no teacher of the law who could raise the dead, turn water into wine, or feed large crowds. The disciples recognized the uniqueness of Jesus and He compliments them by saying, “ye say well” because I am the teacher and the Lord. All would have had this understanding except Judas. If he would have understood this, then he would not have betrayed Jesus.
John 13:14 (KJB)
If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
Ought - To be indebted morally or owe
Jesus establishes His authority as the Lord and Master of these disciples and He confirms their understanding of Him in this capacity. He then goes on to say that since He is the Lord and Master and has willingly washed their feet, then they need to follow the pattern and wash the feet of each other. Now Jesus is not instituting a church ordinance here. There have been some churches down through church history which have adopted this practice such as the foot washing Baptists. By doing this they are not sinning unless they make it a prerequisite for salvation and then they would be adding works to grace. Jesus is presenting a principle of service. Christians are to be of service to other Christians and even to unbelievers. It is also a principle of humility that no job or ministry should ever be thought of as below the talents or gifts that any Christian possesses. If the Lord of the universe washed the feet of His disciples, then we must never think that the lowest jobs in society are beneath us. When we think like that, it means we are filtering our usefulness through pride and not true service to the Lord. It also shows a principle of bearing the burden of another Christian. (Gal 6:1 KJV) Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Remember the Lord stated that if a Christian has been cleansed, then all they need to have washed is their feet. If a brother or sister is caught up in a sin, then we need to bear their burden and bring them up from the miry clay of sin and we may get dirty helping them but it is worth it. Jesus also does not want His disciples to dig up their past argument of who is the greater disciple. He wants them to know they are all equal in His sight and He wants them to remain in a state of humility. Those in the world compete for position but that should never happen in the kingdom of God.
John 13:15 (KJB)
For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
The Lord gave them a powerful example that what He has done for them that they should do for others. Jesus did this voluntarily and this is the attitude the disciples must take and that includes all Christians. We must look for opportunities to serve and there are opportunities to serve. We must never sit on our couch, with the remote in our hands, and cry the blues that “there ain’t no opportunities to serve.” Serving others keeps our outlook correct. Once we start dividing our lives up into “Things I want to do” and “Things which are below my potential,” we get into trouble and that is when God must correct our attitude and normally it will be something below our potential until the pride is worked out of us.