People were drawn to Jesus. Where he was, they wanted to be. Even when Jesus sensed the need to get away, people followed after him. Not seeking his own way though, he did not leave people to their own devices—he met their needs and served them.
Jesus cast the mold for perfect leadership. It would be great if each of the gospels concluded with a sandwich list that we could follow; unfortunately, Jesus did not give a sermon on the subject, nor did the writers cull from their testimonies of Jesus’ life to make such a list. Of course, several of Jesus’ teachings referenced qualities found in great leaders, but we shall have to do the gleaning! Great study of the Bible always includes personal gleaning and application. As you read or listen to the passage from Matthew, think of what can be seen of Jesus’ leadership--
After Jesus’ healing of the man with the crippled hand on the Sabbath, Matthew continues his narrative: “But Jesus knew what they were planning. [Jesus knew the Pharisees were plotting to destroy him] So he left that area, and many people followed him. He healed all the sick among them, but he warned them not to reveal who he was. This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah concerning him:
“Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen.
He is my Beloved, who pleases me.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
He will not fight or shout
or raise his voice in public.
He will not crush the weakest reed
or put out a flickering candle.
Finally he will cause justice to be victorious.
And his name will be the hope
of all the world.” Matthew 12.
Years ago, I was a classroom teacher—first junior high and high school—and then, fourth grade. Honestly, I loved each of the ages and stages of the students, particularly when it came to drawing knowledge out of them. Oft times, they would think they did not know the answers to questions, and were timid about raising their hands, but when we started brainstorming together, I could draw them out, and they saw how much they really knew!
So, if you were my class, and I were to raise the question,
‘what have you learned from Jesus as the greatest Leader
who ever walked terra firma’,
how would you answer?
That is to say, what could you learn from Jesus’ ways that would help YOU be better leader? Think, think, think . . .
First and foremost, Jesus was a servant. Even though he was God, he served the basic needs of those who he influenced: case in point, when no servant was present to do it, Jesus washed the dusty, dirty feet of his disciples.1 …the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve.2 Jesus did not look at even the menial, lowly task of foot-washing as someone else’s responsibility, he showed his humility by doing it himself.
Second, Jesus was aware. Jesus saw what others did not see … O, how I love this aspect of Jesus. He looked beyond, he saw more because he cared to see, and then he was moved to compassionate action.3 Jesus looked into the eyes of people, not past them or over their heads because he was too busy or did not care about lesser folk.
Jesus was joyful! It is John chapter two that records Jesus’ first miracle. He was at a wedding feast—a party. He put himself out there for others, including women and children, entering into relationships and enjoying himself while doing so. Think of his friendships with Mary, Martha, and Zachaeus, just to name a few. It will be great to hear Jesus laugh in Heaven, won’t it?
Jesus was an encourager. As the verses from Isaiah indicate, Jesus did “not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle,” Jesus did not come to discourage, but to encourage. He did not come to treat the weak with contempt, but with understanding; he did not come to extinguish the weak flame, but to nurse it back to a clearer and a stronger light. The most precious thing about Jesus is the fact that he is not the great discourager, but the great encourager.4
Jesus made time alone with the Father a priority.5 It is how he gained wisdom, received direction, maintained connection and derived strength. Jesus got away from others, and went to a quiet place to pray; do you have a place, and do you meet God in that place?
Why talk about leadership? In one word, leadership is INFLUENCE, and all of us influence someone, whether we are corporate executives, sales people, stay-at home parents (or grandparents), Bible study leaders, cheerleading or soccer moms. These are just five aspects from Jesus’ life of what makes for a godly influencer . . . what can you take from them and apply?
Can you add to the list from Jesus’ exemplary life? Such as, Jesus was thankful. Did you know that scripture records that every time Jesus ate, he first thanked God for the food? Good leaders are thankful and it is part of their DNA. O, to lead like Jesus!
1 – John 13.12-17
2 – Matthew 20.28
3 – John 9.1
4 – William Barclay commentary
5 – Luke 5.16; Mark 1.35
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