A Servant Leader

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Living Stones Series: First Published in All Around Old Bridge Publication – April 2019

By Pastor Lloyd Pulley

Breaking News!! World leader relinquishes absolute power back to the people. Can you imagine that headline on a newspaper today?

As unlikely as it seems in today's political environment, that is exactly what George Washington did at the start of the newly formed United States of America.

This shocked many throughout the world for most leaders would have retained the absolute power granted to them. Instead, after the Revolutionary War, Washington stepped down and returned the wartime powers to congress. Had he retained that power he could have established another dictatorship.

He practiced what he preached and relinquished power to control in favor of being an example to serve instead. Small wonder he was selected as the nation's first president. Not many leaders would limit their own power for the good of others.

The idea of a servant leader is foreign in today's world. The last thing we think of regarding politicians today is "public service." We have become so used to narcissistic and self-obsessed leaders that we are not surprised when they break campaign promises in favor of lobbyists and special interests.

Jesus was the ultimate servant leader. He was the leader that came not to rule but to save. Washington gave away his power for the good of the many and for generations to come. Jesus gave away his power by dying for us on the cross so that we could be forgiven.

The Israelites were waiting for a hero; their promised Messiah. The Messiah was expected to be a strong, authoritative leader. Someone that would assume power, drive out the Romans through battle and save the Jewish people from the political environment of that time.

Jesus arrived and fulfilled what was promised in the scriptures. Every Old Testament prophecy pointed to Him. But the Messiah the Israelites got was not what they expected; born of a poor family, in a little town called Bethlehem and returning to Nazareth, a "nothing town." As Nathanael asks in the Book of John, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?".

He did not come as was expected. He came not to be served, but to serve, and he gave his life as a ransom for many. Although he came to serve, he was rejected and was despised by many.

As the Bible teaches, there was nothing about this man that shouted to the world that he was the conquering Messiah they were looking for. Rather, with humility, he came as a lamb for sacrifice, to meet our greatest need, giving up his life so that others could have eternal life.

Jesus could have stopped His own suffering and death, but he chose to fulfill the will of the Father and die so that sins could be forgiven. "Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth."

But the story doesn't end with Jesus' death. He rose again after three days and there is hope in the resurrection despite the hopelessness around us.

It's amazing to contemplate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior! He is the great hope and a solid foundation for our belief. Easter is more than tradition. Easter is history, prophecy and the life of Jesus unfolded before us.

Without the resurrection we would have no assurance that his death made atonement or payment for our sins. The resurrection declares that Jesus was indeed the son of God and was indeed the lamb that gave his life as a ransom, a payment for sin. The resurrection verifies everything Jesus said, including that he will come back and restore the world and reign on earth.

Easter is the ultimate celebration of the undeserved grace of God given to us by the sacrifice that Jesus, the ultimate servant leader made for us. And one of the most notable features among those who believe in him is the forming in them of the same genuine love and care and self-sacrificing He demonstrated.

He could have come with power and force and compelled all to bow and be forever lost in sin. But because he is love he chose to rescue us even though it cost him a horrific death.

I encourage you to celebrate the hope of the resurrection whether at your home church or, if you don't have a church to call home, at Calvary Old Bridge, where you are always welcome.

Marj Lancaster