So, who is Jesus?
Is he a leader? A teacher? A savior? A chosen one? A servant?
I believe, based on my reading of the gospels and my personal experience of Jesus working in my life, that Jesus is a leader. He is a leader of many things, but most of all he is a leader of the heavenly kingdom here on earth and unlike the expectations of the people at that time when he lived on the earth, he is not a positional leader. While here on earth he did not have a formal position as a leader or priest or king, but he held tremendous influence among the people at that time. Jesus had that influence as a leader because he cared for people, he taught them, and he sacrificed himself for them.
Jesus is a leader because he cares for others.
One of the things that encourages people to follow a leader is when he shows a sincere and genuine care for others. When people know you care about them, they will trust you and follow you. An example of this comes to mind when we read John 4 about Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus reached out to someone who never would have expected to even be spoken to, and he went beyond that by speaking into her life about her sin and teaching her about the kingdom of God and what it means to worship. He showed her kindness and love at a time when it was uncommon to even speak to a woman, and even more uncommon to speak to a Samaritan woman.
A leader stretches, grows, and brings along the people he leads by teaching them.
Who can forget the teachings of Jesus which have marked the gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John? And in Jesus’ case, he taught them as much by what he did as by what he said. Two examples that stick out in my mind are the miracle he did to contrast the Sabbath in Luke 13 and his teachings from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. The Sermon on the Mount was one of many examples of teachings and stories he gave that taught people then (and now) how to think differently, look at our world differently, and begin to see heaven differently.
Ultimately, leadership is sacrifice.
If we look at leadership through the lens of sacrifice, Jesus was the ultimate leader. He sacrificed himself and everything that he was and did for the people whom he led. He loved you and I so much that he gave himself for us. Even though he might not have understood everything that was going on and why he died, he still sacrificed himself because it was God’s plan. Jesus sacrificed himself so that we, who are not perfect, could join him. He died on the cross for your sins and my sins so that one day we could be joined with him in heaven. That is the ultimate testimony of what it means for a leader to sacrifice for the people he loves and leads.
Jesus is a leader who cares for the people he leads with love and kindness, he teaches them through his actions and his words, and he sacrificed himself for the betterment of the people he leads by dying on the cross for our sins. If there was ever an example of what a Christian leader should look like, Jesus is that example because while he was here on earth, he led an effective ministry which spurred on a church planting movement that still takes place with new people committing their lives to Jesus every single day. Today, over 2,000 years later, his love, teachings, and sacrifice still impact people and that is the true testament that Jesus is a leader.
Question: Now that we know Jesus is a leader who cares for you, teaches you, and sacrificed for you, what do you do with that? What can you do because of what Jesus has done for you?