John 13.10-11 cont.
10 Jesus said to him: “The person who has had a bath does not have a need to wash (except his feet], but is clean all over; and you are clean, though not all of you.”
11 For He knew the one who was going to betray Him; this is why He said that you are not all clean.
When we are going to some special event, be it a meal or some kind of special gathering we may well prepare ourselves by having a bath, instead of just having a wash.
We live in days when people regularly have a bath, sometimes more than once in a day. However, many of us are old enough to remember that people only had a bath once a week, and there was a designated night for bath night.
As we have seen, taking a bath was a regularly occurrence in Jewish society, and there were some special occasions when a bath was required.
There are some who suggest that it was necessary to have a bath before celebrating the Passover Meal. Those who suggest this say that the disciples and Jesus had already taken their bath before the Passover Meal. They would then walk across the dirty floor to their place at the Meal table. This would have made their feet dirty again, meaning that they would need washing.
The thought is that this is the reason that Jesus began to wash the feet of His disciples.
However, there is no evidence that having a bath was a requirement before the Passover Meal. Also in verse one John infers that the Meal had already started when Jesus got up and wrapped a towel around Himself. It would seem strange they would have already commenced the meal before the washing of the feet took place.
It is more likely that Jesus started to do this because He came to serve and not to be served, and to use the incident as a teaching aid.
W Barclay suggests that it was customary for those going to a Meal to have a bath before they left home. Therefore, when they arrived at the venue where they were to eat they would only need their feet washing. This would normally be done as they entered the house.
This seems to fit in better with what happened in the Upper Room.
Bathing and washing were a necessary preparation for being clean. We also need to be washed by Jesus so that we are prepared to follow Him and do the work which He has chosen for us.