Look at the leaders in the Earth–state, church, work bosses, national leaders & in your own life– what do they look like? Are they perfect leaders that you’d follow anywhere? Do they lay down their lives for you or are they kind and consider how they talk to you? Do they value your life more than their own? The bad news is: most leaders aren’t any of those things. The good news is: Jesus is.
That’s good news because He IS the perfect leader. Why? Not only because of His infinite wisdom, kindness and authority; but because He was the greatest servant of all of history… Wait a second… He’s a good leader because He served people? That’s the measure of leadership? According to Him, that’s exactly it. Look at what He said:
But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them,
“You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
What made Jesus an incredible leader was that He was willing to serve anyone and everyone in the world, and give His life for those below Him. To us that’s insanity. Being a good leader means you’re good at getting people to do what you say and you know what you’re talking about, right? Well, Jesus said that the first shall be last and the last shall be first. He not only talked about it, but Jesus LIVED the opposite way of the world’s standards and lowered Himself as low as possible. In that is the key to all the power that came as a result of His life. Philippians 2 says it this way
“being in the form of God, Jesus did not consider it robbery to be equal with God but stripped Himself of all privileges and rightful dignity so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave) in that He became like men and was born a human being… Therefore God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name.”
Jesus took the position of a slave even though He was the One who created the Universe. Therefore God gave Him the highest name (authority) in all the Earth and will continue to do so.
Wow. He lived as if He was below people, even though He wasn’t. He’s GOD! Look at any CEO or rockstar or celebrity–do they get coffee for the people below them? Do they look out for the needs of others more than their own? Would the President die for one of his secretaries or body guards? No–it’s the other way around because “they’re more important.” It makes sense for servants to serve their masters, that’s what defines a servant- one who serves, and a master is one who gets served. But that’s just it. Jesus died for His servants–He set the standard for all other leadership. He led the way of the Kingdom, not of the world and showed us how it ought to be.
Imagine what that looked like practically. He did everything He could to serve and take care of His disciples and the people around Him. He probably chose the short end of the straw, let the disciples eat the last breadstick & have the most comfy bed. He would go hungry/thirsty so they didn’t have to. All the way down to Jesus words–He would never yell at them to demand them to serve Him. Not once. He took care of those God entrusted to Him and served them as if they were more important! The One through Whom the world was created lowered Himself to provide for the ones He created.
He even washed the disciples feet right before He died, which is something only the lowest of servants and slaves would do. They didn’t have fancy paved roads and good shoes, so it was dusty and hot and everyone’s feet were gross-so the lowest slave got the feet-washing job. From one of His disciple’s views, he knew Jesus served them because He loved them. John said, “As He had loved those who were His, He loved them to the last and highest degree.” Jesus didn’t just talk about serving or do the easy stuff. He really did it. And He’d do it for us in a heartbeat–He’d carry your groceries, do the dishes, get you coffee, do the boring task at work no one wants to do, pick up your dog poop, give you the last cookie, and everything else He could to serve you.
Most of us want that position of authority: for the fame, people serving us, being important and telling people what to do, right? How amazing would it be to be someone like Jesus–thousands of people flocked to Him and so many knew His name. He was well-known, had authority & now is the most influential figure in human history, even to unbelievers. But here’s my challenge: If you want to lead like Jesus did, you have to serve and give like Jesus did. He served because He loves us–He didn’t lead so He could get people to serve Him or because He’s more important (even though He is). He lowered Himself far beyond what was reasonably expected of Him and showed His love for all mankind.
On top of that, Jesus died for us, took our penalty that we should have paid, and made it possible for us to be redeemed. He didn’t die for people who deserved it. He died for us, betrayers, dirty sinners who hated Him, for those who are below Him. He’s not asking us to do anything more than He’s already done for those we lead in our own lives. We can love and serve those around us that we consider “below” us; He’s entrusting people’s lives into our hands to love and serve them like He did. Because they matter to Him. Can you imagine what the world would look like, if the way all authorities (including us) lived would look like the leadership of Jesus?
Let it start with you. Love and serve the “least of these” in your life just like Jesus did for you.