14“If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
15“For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.
16“Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.
Jesus asks a question, “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher…” He draws His audience into this most important teaching. He lures their hearts and minds to take into consideration what He has to say. “If…”. Then He uses the incredible combination of THE LORD and THE TEACHER. Identifying Himself as the absolute most powerful being ever AND the teacher above all teachers.
So Jesus lays out His credentials on this question… not sure He does it like this again. He really means what He’s getting ready to say. Jesus explains that what He had just done, washing the disciples feet, was an example that they should follow.
THEN He lays down the “truly, truly”… this ain’t the “I ain’t lying”, this is “listen to me I ain’t jokin’.” And He does this on top of the THE LORD and THE TEACHER thing.
He says, “a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.” He drew them in then laid out a teaching that mandated their obedience.
God himself just washed feet. God HIMSELF just humbled Himself and washed people’s feet. In other words, He says, I just did this powerful act of humility and if you think you shouldn’t serve like this, then you must think your better than me, and we ALL know that isn’t true.
The disciples who heard it first and everyone since is stuck with the fact that we ARE called to humbly serve one another, there is no way around it. God humbled himself beyond our recognition, we are also called to humble ourselves to serve.
No way around it. It’s beyond comprehension. But I get it.