Intro: I have always appreciated great leaders and have enjoyed many times serving under their leadership, as well as serving along side them. John Maxwell, author, motivational speaker, and pastor, has taught on leadership for many years. His thoughts about leadership have always resonated with me. Here’s one of my favorite quotes: “True leadership requires serving others full time; potential leaders are ready and willing to do so” (John Maxwell; Maximum Impact).
Christian leaders have a huge responsibility to model and lead others into a deeper dependance upon God. This requires humility in serving: 1) submitting to Christ’s authority, 2) integrity by consistently adhering to Biblical principles, and 3) denying of personal will and yielding to God’s will. Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me” (Mat 16:24). If we proclaim Christ, we must all follow our Leader. The beauty of Christ’s Body—the Church—is found in the power of the followers as we each position ourselves under our genuinely holy Leader—King Jesus.
In this world, not everyone who says they are a leader is a godly one. Verbal confession is not enough; taking action, meeting needs, and modeling righteousness is the role of a leader. A leader is a servant of others and is willing to make sure everyone under his or her charge is empowered to do what God has created them to do. Therefore, humility is the other side of the leadership coin, because some ministry tasks the Lord places before a leader is a test to reveal what motivates him or her. If the motive is wrong, the focus will be corrupt, and everyone will wind up in the “proverbial ditch” (Mat 15:13-14). When the motive is love for God and neighbor, we can all get on that page and serve in ways that brings glory to God.
In our passage today, Jesus is the faithful servant who does the will of the Father despite what he must suffer. Jesus has just healed the man with a withered hand on the Sabbath and you would think the religious leaders would be filled with praise for the work of God in their midst. However, that is not the case. These self-proclaimed “leaders” are focused on dogmatic minutia instead of the wholeness of people and their restoration with the Lord God. Gentle, meek, and lowly is the Way…
Matthew 12:15-21 NLT Jesus, God’s Chosen Servant
15 But Jesus knew what they were planning. So he left that area, and many people followed him. He healed all the sick among them, 16 but he warned them not to reveal who he was. 17 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.”
Prayer: Lord, you have model for us the heart of a suffering Servant. You have been willing to lead us onto the narrow path of your Kingdom. Thank you for helping us understand that true leadership is marked by our willingness to be humble servants who obediently yield to Kingdom work knowing you will give the direction and power we need to fulfill it. In Jesus’ name. Amen.