For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Jesus commands the disciples to follow his example: “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (13:14-15).
Aside from the question about whether the church should actually wash feet in our gatherings in obedience to Jesus’ command (Michaels thinks so) Jesus sets down an ethic of death for his disciples. Jesus lays down his life for those he loves; he loves “to the end” or “to the ultimate” depending on how one understands the Greek of verse one (either quantitatively or qualitatively). So also, the disciples are to lay down their lives for each other.
Interspersed in this narrative are two pronouncements – one in verse 16 and another in verse 20.
Very truly I tell you, no servant is grater than his master, no is a messenger greater than the one who sent him (16)
Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me (20)
Michael’s puts it eloquently: “John’s Gospel has taken the notion of agency, intimated in Matthew and Luke, and made it the very foundation of both christology and ecclesiology” (745).
Jesus’ mission from the Father serves as NO mere model for the mission of the church; rather Jesus’ mission, as presented in John’s Gospel, IS the church’s mission.
“As the Father has sent me, I am sending you”.