August 23, 2019 Morning Verse Of The Day

13:13 Teacher and Lord. This double title gives special significance to the claim of Christ over the disciples’ lives. Later, they would call Him “Lord” in acknowledgement of His deity (20:28).[1]


13:13 Teacher Jesus leads by example; by affirming this title here, He instructs the disciples to follow His example as they have already committed to doing. He reminds them that even in difficult times or in situations they consider beneath them (see note on v. 5), they must follow Him. See note on 1:38.

I am Jesus is likely evoking God’s chosen way of identifying Himself in the ot—saying that He is Yahweh, the God of Israel and ruler of the universe. This parallels what John says about Jesus in 1:1–4 and what Jesus knows of His own identity, revealed in v. 3. See note on 4:26.[2]


Ver. 13.—Ye name me the Teacher and the Lord. “Rabbi and Mara,” the names of reverence which disciples of the Hebrew teachers were accustomed to offer to their masters. Φωνεῖν means to name, and the two nominatives are used appellatively, not as vocatives. Tholuck regards them as vocatives. Scholars dared not address their teachers without some marks of respect. Διδάσκαλος is John’s equivalent for דבי, my Master (see ch. 1:29; 20:16). And ye say well; for so I am. At this supreme moment he does not repudiate this high function, nor abate any of his lofty claims. He was most obviously the highest in his condescending love. He had given no more amazing proof of the originality and supremacy of his nature than this inversion of all ordinary relations. So I am—more, indeed, than “the Teacher,” “the Saviour,” more than “the Master,” as Peter said on a memorable occasion, “God was with him,” and be was Immanuel—“God with us,” and “Lord of all” (Acts 10:37, 38).[3]


13. Ye call me Master—Teacher.

and Lordlearning of Him in the one capacity, obeying Him in the other.

and ye say well, for so I am—The conscious dignity with which this claim is made is remarkable, following immediately on His laying aside the towel of service. Yet what is this whole history but a succession of such astonishing contrast from first to last?[4]


13 Jesus continues, “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you say well, for I am” (v. 13). The nouns are literally “the Teacher” and “the Lord,” but the clause cannot be translated “You call me the Teacher and the Lord” (indirect discourse), for this would require accusatives. Rather, the nouns are in the nominative case, which must therefore be understood as the nominative with the definite article used in place of a vocative for direct address.67 Yet it is a ceremonious, almost confessional, vocative, perhaps something closer to Thomas’s famous words of confession, “My Lord and my God!”69 (20:28). Almost from the Gospel’s beginning, Jesus’ disciples have in fact addressed him as “ ‘Rabbi’—which means teacher” (1:38), and as “Lord.”71 They also, on occasion, refer to him in the third person as “the Teacher” (11:28), and as “my Lord” (20:13) or “the Lord” (20:2, 13; 21:7, 12), to the point that even the Gospel writer within the narrative sometimes follows their example (see 6:23; 11:2).[5]


13 The basic premise of Jesus’ argument is that the disciples acknowledged him to be their Teacher and Lord. The order is significant. The disciples came to know Jesus first as Teacher (equivalent to Rabbi, the title normally used by Jewish students when addressing their master) and later as Lord. They had been with him in public ministry for almost two years before he asked, “Who do you say that I am?” and Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:15–16). While it is true that the day will come when every tongue will confess that “Jesus Christ is Lord” (Php 2:11), during his earthly ministry Jesus did not demand the obedience appropriate to lordship from those who had not come to know him first as Teacher. The disciples, however, were correct in acknowledging him as Teacher and Lord because, as Jesus said, “That is what I am.” He was not simply one who had taught them; more important, he was their Lord.[6]


[1] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1538). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[2] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Jn 13:13). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). St. John (Vol. 2, p. 189). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[4] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 154). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[5] Michaels, J. R. (2010). The Gospel of John (pp. 734–735). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[6] Mounce, R. H. (2007). John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, pp. 548–549). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

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