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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Lee

Characteristics of Christ | LEADER

A 40 Day Journey to Becoming Like the One We Follow

Day 18: Leader (John 13:12-15)

The model of leadership that best encapsulates Jesus is the model of a Shepherd. We don't tend to have a lot of shepherds around here in the Midwestern United States. But here's what we know.

Sheep are dumb. They are not cut out for survival on their own in the wild. Sheep need a flock, and the flock needs a shepherd. But sheep are really good at a couple of things: 1) Recognizing their shepherds voice, and 2) following. But the shepherd will often lead from behind, calling out commands to the flock as they walk along. The shepherd knows what his sheep need more than the sheep know what they need. A good shepherd will be with his sheep night and day, laying himself down in the entry way to the sheep pin so that no one wanders off and nothing gets in to cause harm.

We are God's sheep (Psalm 100). And we are dumb. We need a community, and a community need a leader. Jesus, as the Good Shepherd, leads us where we need to be, never forcing us to go. He watches over us so we don't wander off. He protects, serves, and even lays his own life on the line for the sake of his people.

The greatest example of this is John 13, when he stoops down to wash his disciples' filthy, crusty feet. But then he calls us to do the same. Maybe not literally, but to humble ourselves and become each others' servants.

The term "servant leadership" is never mentioned in the Bible, but the assumption is that leaders are meant to serve. That's the literal definition of a minister - someone who serves others. Jesus was never bossy or authoritarian. He never forced his will on anyone. While having literally all the authority in the world, he never "lorded it over" anyone. Jesus only ever leads us where he himself has already been. He only calls us to do what he has already done. His call is not "serve me" or "work for me." It's "follow me."

And he is a leader worth following.

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