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Dec 25

The Leadership of Jesus

When your BEALEADER post occurs on the 25th of each month, there is a chance it will occur on Memorial Day, or at least close to it.  The same holds true for Thanksgiving.  However, when it comes to your December posting, there’s no avoiding the fact that your post will be on Christmas Day.

I’ve been thinking about this post for a while, and wanted to try to find some way to incorporate the holiday as best as possible.  There are a few ways I could have gone with this, including a rather light-hearted Santa Claus as a leader at the North Pole thejesus-christ-11vme.  However, I decided to take a leap of faith and approach this month’s post from a spiritual perspective.  I know some people think you should avoid religion and politics in discussion, but for today, it just seems fitting to explore this further, and I’m willing to take that chance.

I will openly acknowledge now that I am not well versed in this, and used the writing of this post as an opportunity to read some more, reflect some more, and try to capture some takeaways from that exercise.  In our end-of-year hustle and bustle, caught up in last minute gifts and parties, I didn’t want to lose sight of the foundation of today’s holiday – the celebration of the birth of Jesus.  During my reading, I didn’t have to dig too far to embrace the fact that later in his life Jesus possessed many critical leadership traits. I came across a number of articles and books on this topic, including The Training of the Twelve, by A. B. Bruce, which examines in great detail, the leadership of Jesus and his relationship with the disciples.  In fact, considering the breadth and longevity of his preaching to this day, it could be argued that Jesus is one of the most enduring leaders in recorded history.

Man of Conviction

We always discuss how strong leaders must have a passion and strong interest to achieve something.  Furthermore, leaders not only need to motivate themselves, but energize others in the process.  Can anyone argue that Jesus fell short in this area?  He is in fact a model of conviction and passion that many look to emulate.  His conviction was so strong, that it has motivated generations for centuries, and continues to do so today.

Leading by Example

While the words of Jesus reached thousands during his lifetime, he paid particular attention to his interactions with the twelve disciples.  In the training of the twelve for the work of the apostleship, hearing and seeing the words and works of Jesus occupied an important place.  From the time the twelve were chosen, they entered on a regular apprenticeship, in the course of which they were to study in the intimate daily fellowship with Jesus.  Through his example they learned what they should be, believe, and teach, as His witnesses and eventual ambassadors to the world.

Empowerment of Followers to be Leaders Themselves

In an earlier period of his life, Jesus labored single-handed, as His miraculous deeds were confined for the most part to a limited area, and were simpler in nature.  But by the time the twelve disciples were chosen, the work of the kingdom had grown in size to require organization and division of labor.  The teaching of Jesus was beginning to be of a deeper and more elaborate nature, and His activities were taking on an ever-widening range.  The disciples, however, became more than just traveling companions or servants of Jesus.  They became students of Christian doctrine, occasional fellow-laborers in the work of the kingdom, and eventually the chosen trained agents to propagate the faith on behalf of Jesus after His time on earth.  Jesus bestowed upon the twelve unlimited powers of healing, as they were instructed to “heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out devils.”  As apostles, they took on an even greater leadership role, preaching the gospel, not only to Jews, but to all nations.  Had Jesus not empowered the twelve in the way He had, His message would have faded away within a generation or two.

Man of Courage and Character

How often did Jesus demonstrate a willingness to engage when others would not?  How often did He enter a situation that was risky, or challenging, or unpopular with others?  Jesus exemplified the traits of courage and character as someone who showed the willingness to go first, be fully committed, and at times “go it alone”, because He believed it was the right thing to do.  His actions were the ultimate examples of courage and character, as many look to Him for courage and strength within themselves.

So thank you for sharing a few minutes of your busy holiday with me.  It was refreshing for me to author this post, in that while many consider themselves followers of Jesus, it was interesting to reflect upon His inherent leadership traits as well.  I hope at a minimum I was able to reinforce some common themes from our ongoing leadership discussions.  Ideally, however, I hope I was able to do more than that, and helped to reflect a bit on the foundation of today’s holiday.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.

The following originally appeared in December 2014 as a post on BEALEADER – a widely recognized blog that focuses on aspects and attributes of great leadership.  The original post can be found here.