14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
14 If I [emphatic] then, your [the] Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet,
Jesus reversed the terms to “Lord and Teacher.” He viewed Himself as on a divine mission as the Word first and foremost. Washing of feet in view of who He was is the point. The word “Lord” is a term of authority and “Teacher” conveys the idea of a recognized instructor.
Jesus pointed to the incongruity of calling Him “Lord and Teacher” and not following His example in exercising humility. This was especially important if His disciples were going to do ministry after His return to heaven.
The point of Jesus’ footwashing was to show His disciples that He had to suffer humiliation on the cross. The idea of the Lord washing feet was a shocking idea, but the thought of the Lord Messiah dying on the cross was an utter shock. He gave Himself for our benefit.
The argument of Jesus is from the greater to the lesser. By reversing the titles to “Lord and Teacher,” He placed the emphasis on His role as “Lord.” He had the authority to expect obedience from His disciples.
you also ought
Jesus taught mutual obligation when His disciples claimed relationship to Him. If the Lord served others, so must His disciples.
to wash one another’s feet.
The thought that the disciples should wash each other’s feet never occurred to them. Humble service to each other was a clear principle in Jesus’ economy. If Jesus gave Himself for others, then His disciples should do likewise. Thinking of others rather than self is at the heart of serving others in humility.
The disciples’ service of humility was nowhere near the humiliation that Jesus went through in serving them. He stepped foot on earth in a human body and then chose to serve His disciples by washing their feet. That is double humility. His condescension was far beyond any service they might do.
There is a sacred commitment that comes from who and what Jesus is. If having the titles of “Lord” and “Teacher” meant that Jesus did what He did as a person of authority, we ought to do what He did. That obligation is to follow Him in His humility (1 Pe 5:5). Humility means that the servant of Christ is not high minded.
Believers have a mutual obligation to each other.
Christians cannot serve each other in absentia or at arm’s length. We love theory but fall short of application. Do we truly give ourselves for the benefit of fellow Christians?
The idea that Jesus wants us to receive is that we must have humble relationships with each other. Out of that humility comes service to each other.