Carson, D. A. The Gospel According to John. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1991.
“IV. Jesus’ Self-Disclosure in His Cross and Exaltation (13:1-20:31)” “A. The Last Supper (13:1-30)” pp. 455-476.
Carson observes a shift in order of events starting in John 13. In the earlier chapters, Jesus would do a sign, then explain the sign. Now, Jesus’ teaching points forward to his final sign of death and resurrection (Carson 1991, 455).
Before digging into the events of the passage, Carson weighs different views of the date of the passion. The Synoptics point clearly to the meal being a Passover, placing Jesus’ death on Friday, 15 Nisan. John seems to point to one day earlier, with Jesus’ death at the same time as the slaughter of Passover lambs (Carson 1991, 455). Carson’s resolution is that the chronology of the Synoptics is not directly contradicted by John. He cites several verses which he will consider in his running commentary. The verses are 13:1, 27; 18:28; 19:14, 31, 36, 42b (Carson 1991, 457).
Carson also considers why John did not give an explicit teaching about the Eucharist, though this passage clearly provides opportunity (Carson 1991, 458). Carson thinks John is pointing away from the Eucharist itself to the sacrifice of Christ, both here and in John 6.
John 13:1-17 describes Jesus’ washing of his disciples’ feet (Carson 1991, 458). Dinner is about to begin. Verse 2 says that the plan to betray Jesus was already conceived. Carson does note that the text is slightly oblique. Was it Judas’ plan? Was it the devil’s plan? Regardless, Jesus will be betrayed (Carson 1991, 462). Jesus prepares himself and circles the disciples, washing their feet. Carson notes the embarrassment the disciples would have (Carson 1991, 463). Yet Jesus persists. Carson emphasizes that all our relatioship with Jesus is tied to assent to his cleansing (Carson 1991, 464). Yet Jesus does not wash all of Peter “Individuals who have been cleansed by Christ’s atoning work will doubtless need to have subsequent sins washed away, but the fundamental cleansing can never be repeated” (Carson 1991, 465). Carson insists that baptism as an effective and salvific event can’t be maintained (Carson 1991, 466) But he does allow for the washing to be a very strong symbol of God’s self-sacrifice (Carson 1991, 467). Carson does note that footwashing lacks the command and promise most would require of a sacrament. It is, however, a sign of care and service (Carson 1991, 468).
In John 13:18-30 Jesus predicts his betrayal. Jesus still speaks of Judas as one of his Twelve. Carson says, “the argument assumes that not all election is to salvation” (Carson 1991, 470). He views Jesus as actively choosing Judas for destruction. The text in John 13:18 does say that Judas is responsible for his betrayal. Yet the betrayal does lead to Jesus’ redemption of the world (Carson 1991, 471). Carson does comment on Jesus’ reactions here. Jesus was troubled. He was really going to be betrayed by one of his Twelve chosen ones (Carson 1991, 472).
Carson discusses the custom of reclining at table in brief. He thinks the Passover by this time was almost always elebrated reclining, as a contrast to the haste of the first Passover (Carson 1991, 473). In verses 24-26 Jesus reveals to John who would betray him. He gives him a gesture of affection before sending him out (Carson 1991, 475). Carson dismisses the difficulty of the Eleven thinking Judas was sent to make a purchase for Passover. He considers that some shops would remain open, on a credit only basis, even on the Sabbath. Further, Judas may have been sent to give to the poor, a common event on Passover (Carson 1991, 475). Judas went out on his grim errand, and the narrative closes.