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How Was Jesus an Example of a Perfect Leader?

Reformed Eve is a daughter of God, which makes her royalty - no matter what the world throws at her. She straightens her crown quite often.

Leadership in the New Testament

Jesus, in the realm of numerous leadership styles, represented, modeled, and encouraged true leadership through his humility, patience, and manner in which he corrected and disciplined others throughout his time on Earth. If one wants to be a true leader in today’s world, Jesus Christ is the authority on the subject matter.

There are many beautiful, inspiring examples of leadership in the New Testament. The three qualities of leadership that will be focused on with this paper are humility, patience, and correction through discipline. The New Testament has various examples of what it is to be a good leader. A good leader's goal is to motivate others in order to obtain the goals and missions of the organization. For those who believe in Jesus, leadership ends up focusing on more than what is popular at the time. Leadership, with Christ, has its roots in the Scriptures and this provides a solid, concrete foundational support where leadership can grow in a healthy way. While the Scriptures themselves are not considered a manual on how to be a good leader, the interactions of Jesus and other New Testament personages are examples of how individuals should, and should not, lead others in a kind, effective way.

In contrast to the New Testament, the focus of the New Testament is Jesus Christ, the Church He was here to establish, and the followers of Jesus, who were directed to help Jesus raise this Church. Matthew 28: 19 mentions that the followers of Christ were to use the Holy Spirit as not only a guide, but a source of empowerment.[1] A leader is a shepherd or a coach that serves as a true lighthouse when there is spiritual and mental darkness. This kind of leadership is in complete contrast with the kind of leadership that is observed in nations today. There is much domination, manipulation, utilizing, brainwashing, and abusing of the people that fall under that leader. Plays of power occur in order to create any kind of desired effect within that organization. Fear is the motivating factor, not respect, though brainwashing can occur which can cause fear to be an acceptable substitute for respect. [2] This is incorrect, and inhumane, especially when compared to Biblical standards of leadership. Leadership must start with those who are willing to follow. Leadership must have its foundation that is derived from a heartfelt feeling of service, and leadership can only occur, successfully and in its more beautiful form, through working together as a team.

What is humility? "Humility is a foundational virtue that counters selfish inclinations such as entitlement, arrogance, and narcissism."[3] Colossians 3:12 mentions that as God's chosen people, compassion should be the clothing worn, while one is also to be clothed in humility.[4] Ephesians mentions that one must be gentle, humble, patient, and bear others with love. [5] James reminds readers that God feels opposition to those who are proud but expresses favor towards those who are humble. [6] 1 Peter 5:5 mentions that individuals, especially those who are younger, should have humility towards one another.[7] Humility is an important concept regarding leadership. Without humility, a leader may become caught in an ego trap where their greatness must be convincing to others. However, this can cause followers to disassociate with the leader, and they will begin to cut their connections with that leader and the followings. Philippians 2: 6-7 mentions that Jesus, "being in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men."[8] Being a servant equates to being humble. Washing the feet of others, instead of insisting that others wash his feet, is a sign of pure humility. Jesus's privilege and divine status could have overcome him, but instead, he emptied himself by becoming human. He emptied by adding humanity, not by removing his divinity.

Imagine the sight of Jesus Christ gently pouring water into a bowl, kneeling on the ground, and taking the towel and cleaning the feet of this disciple. (John 13: 12-15) Jesus mentioned that in the very same way that He performed the kind, selfless act of washing the feet of a friend, He became the example, the pattern, of what the disciples, and others, should do and be like. While this is the instance that most people remember as Jesus act of humility, there are several examples. At one time, the apostles became involved in a quite immature testosterone driven match regarding who was the best man among them. Jesus showed true humility, as a leader, when he presented a youth and mentioned that those who accept this child, accept Him. The foundation of this was that those that consider themselves as ‘less’ are actually the great ones. (Luke 9: 46-48)

While Jesus did show humility while he was on Earth, he displayed humility in a way that was not conducted on Earth. Jesus had a humble heart when it came to learning from his Father, God.

What is patience? Patience is being able to accept trouble or suffering in such a way that one does not experience anger or feelings of being upset. The word patience comes from the Latin word patientia. This word translates to suffering. [9]“To solve the problems of the community and to cultivate productive members require a long-term perspective, patience and a capacity for endurance.”[10] "Patience is a multifaceted phenomenon consisting of acceptance of inner and outer reality, absence of resentment, retention of hope, and capacity to wait for better times without restlessness and haste."[11] Many times, the bible used the word patience as longsuffering, and depending on the circumstances, the word has been used interchangeably in the Bible and in different versions of the Bible.

An example of patience in the New Testament is Peter. Peter was called a stumbling block, but he was also called a rock by Jesus. With these descriptions of his personality at separate times, he was blessed, but he also experienced disappointment by Jesus. Even through all this, Peter understood patience. [12]2 Peter 1:6 says: "Patience is a product of self-control and is part of Godliness. [13] Even Timothy mentioned in 1 Timothy 1: 13, 16 that he understood patience, even as a sinner: "Formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent…But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life."[14]

Jesus knew who would betray him, and who would stand by his side, until the very end. When Peter said that he promised to stay with Jesus, regardless of what happened, Jesus quickly reminded him that before the rooster crows, Peter will have denied Jesus thrice. (Matthew 26:75) This shows patience at a level that is hard to understand as mere humans. Can one be forgiving or another soul, even loving, if it was known that this individual will cause chaos, betrayal, and death? How a mortal’s judgement could be clouded with a future revelation such as this – someone that is considered beloved today will betray tomorrow, but today, unconditional love is still shown regardless of what the future holds. This is why Peter mentioned that some people may consider the ways of Jesus too slow, however, with the slowed pace of life comes pure patience. Peter reminded everyone that Jesus does not want anyone to perish, rather, Jesus wants everyone to come at the feet of the cross in repentance. The patience of Jesus is to be counted as salvation, and salvation as patience. (2 Peter 3:9, 15)

Jesus Christ has patience when it came to time. He knew the hour of his death, and the exact circumstances that would happen around that time, and yet, he was still, calm, and full of love instead of being riddled with worry of what the future bring. In fact, with patience, he knew how to be present in the moment. While he did talk about salvation, and what was to come, he knew how to appreciate the moments that were presented in front of him, with patience. Patience is not a true virtue in the modern society. People want things immediately: food, Wi-Fi, promotions, etc. Everything must be instant, and everything about the future has to be perfectly planned. Even with technology and advances that are experienced, people have not learned to be patient. Jesus Christ offered the gem of patience; in that He is completely patient with sinners. Even in the very midst and meat of sin, Jesus loves everyone. Jesus has hope for everyone. Jesus shows pure grace and patience.

It's important to note that Jesus was patient with his friends, even when they said something foolish or strange. Philip asked Jesus to, in a way, display proof of God, the Father. Philip wanted to see this evidence with his eyes, and he said it would be enough for him. (John 14:8) Jesus could have shown anger, impatience, or even retribution, but instead, he chose patience. He mentioned to Philip that with all the time they have spent together, Philip didn’t see Jesus in his heart. Did he really not know him? Jesus reminded him that those who look upon Jesus have seen God. (John 14:9) This event, patience with friends, occurred again after the resurrection of Jesus. Thomas didn’t want to believe that Jesus really did emerge from the grave and was living and breathing once again. Thomas wanted to see the evidence, too. He wanted to see the scars in the hands of Jesus Christ. Jesus showed pure patience and accommodated the proof of evidence that Thomas so desired, without judging Thomas or belittling him.

Interestingly, the patience of Jesus reflected the patience of the Father so that others may see the glory, beauty, and grace of God. God was patient with Adam and Eve. Instead of destroying them, He covered them, sent them away but with the promise that someday someone special would come to undo all the damage. God also showed patience when He waited on Noah to finish the ark. (1 Peter 3:20) Jesus, through His patience here on earth, showed the patience of God, and Jesus showed that He is more patient than humans are sinful, and the endless patience is experienced as grace, love, and forgiveness. Humans are so flawed, but He loves us regardless or our pasts, mistakes, decisions and numerous stumbling. Paul mentioned that the love of God could be felt through the steadfastness (patient endurance) of Jesus. (Thessalonians 3:5)

Correction through Discipline

What is correction through discipline? It has been noted that a discipline-like approach fosters "intrinsic motivation and positive relationships" within group settings.[15] The discipline itself has three core themes that describe what is known as 'kind discipline': "(1) proactively developing a positive school climate, (2) responding to conflict with empathy, accountability, and skill, and (3) supporting staff skills in understanding and sharing expectations."[16] Kind discipline has been found to surpass all other types of discipline models win environmental, community, individual, and relational levels.[17] Jesus corrected others in public, and he made sure that the strange, dangerous teachings of the Pharisees was exposed in the open air. He wanted the disciplines to be alert as to what to pay attention to when it came to false prophecy. If the Pharisees had an interpretation of old or new laws, Jesus came to the rescue by showing them who is the true and final authority. He would often say this: "You have heard it was said, but I say unto you..." [18]Jesus was direct, as a leader, when he confronted things that may lead followers astray. Many times, they Pharisees and Scribes tried to push Jesus in a corner by using Scripture, but Jesus used how authority and knowledge to counteract such attacks. Jesus showed the person behind the false facades, such as calling the Pharisees serpents, Herod a fox, and wayward teachers as wolves. Even certain, unbelieving and potentially harmful Gentiles were compared to dogs. Jesus used physical acts to correct, such as hurling the tables about in the Temple when people were using it as a money trading center. [19]

How did Jesus correct those that he loved, however? Jesus corrected disciplines when they showed Him that they did not believe in him. When the ocean was rocking the disciplines with Jesus to and fro, Jesus mentioned that these disciples had little faith. (Matthew 8:26) Jesus used psychology to compare and rebuke while doing so. An example is when Martha was being completely anxious, waiting on Jesus, while the sister was calmly listening to the important words he was sharing. He even turned to Martha and told her to be more like the sister. Ultimately, Jesus's correction was direct, honest, and forward thinking.

One should understand that being a disciple goes hand in hand with discipline. Both words, and not by coincidence, share the Latin root of the word “order”. Discipline involves instructing to someone who wants to learn. In several instances, the disciples were disciplined. Gentle discipline as shown by Jesus as the disciples acted a bit disgusted by the children who wanted to approach Jesus. Jesus did become indignant when he saw how the disciple were rebuking the children and mentioned that the Kingdom of God was for children, therefore, they should not be treated as such. He straightforwardly mentioned that those who do not emulate a child’s innocence and receive God’s kingdom will not enter it. After this, he hugged the children and prayed over them. While the disciples were trying to protect Jesus in a way, Jesus made himself vulnerable by showing his disciples another way to act towards people that Jesus loved. He gave a different point of view to consider, with carefully worded phrases that rebuked their actions and served as a warning at the same time. It can be sure that after this instruction, the disciples felt a bit embarrassed at their behavior. This also reflects God’s love for humanity through Jesus. Does a good father want their son to drown in disobedience? A father loves and redirects his child. (Hebrews 12:6) God shows humanity love through patience and obedience. Jesus used discipline to help fix areas in personalities that were defective in order for one to walk with Jesus, and for Jesus, in true obedience. (Leviticus 26:23)

It’s imperative to know that Jesus considered the act of disciplining as a vital part of the ministry of the church. Jesus gave his disciples the keys to Heaven (Matthew 16:19), and reminded them that if another is sinning, privately talk to that person, and perhaps a friendship or bond will form. However, if this person does not listen, church discipline is necessary. (Matthew 18; 15-18)

Ultimately, many people in the New Testament served as an example of what leadership should, and should not, look like. The Apostles were put in charge, by Christ, to guide others and organize the church on Earth. Many church leaders today may face the temptation to build church at an alarming rate, with a desire to gather as many people and tithings as possible. At this point, the growth that the church experiences are only for personal gain, and no longer God-centered. Therefore, it is imperative to practice humility, correction, and patience as a leader. Jesus mentioned in Matthew 7:13 that "the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it"[20] A leader needs to keep their priorities in line with Jesus and the Bible, using the Scriptures as the ultimate blueprint in this modern world where truth needs to be established in the ever-evolving sea of darkness.

Bibliography

Akhtar, Salman. “Patience.” The Psychoanalytic Review 102, no. 1 (February 2015): 93–122. https://doi.org/10.1521/prev.2015.102.1.93.

Hionides, Harry T, Niki Watts, and Helen George-Papageorgiou. The Collins Greek Pocket Dictionary: Greek-English, English Greek. London: Collins, 1988.

Kainuma, Mosaburo, Makoto Kikukawa, Masaharu Nagata, and Motofumi Yoshida. “Competencies Necessary for Becoming a Leader in the Field of Community Medicine: A Japanese Qualitative Interview Study.” BMJ Open 8, no. 4 (April 17, 2018). https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-020082.

Robbins, Thomas, and Dick Anthony. “Brainwashing and the Persecution of? Cults?” Journal of Religion & Health 19, no. 1 (1980): 66–69. https://doi.org/10.1007/bf00996781.

Stellar, Jennifer E., Amie Gordon, Craig L. Anderson, Paul K. Piff, Galen D. McNeil, and Dacher Keltner. “Awe and Humility.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 114, no. 2 (February 2018): 258–69. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000109.

Tyndale. Holy Bible: Inspire Bible Nlt. Tyndale House Publishers, 2016.

Winkler, Jennifer L., Michele E. Walsh, Madeleine de Blois, Jeannette Maré, and Scott C. Carvajal. “Kind Discipline: Developing a Conceptual Model of a Promising School Discipline Approach.” Evaluation and Program Planning 62 (June 2017): 15–24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2017.02.002.

Thomas Nelson Publishers. King James Study Bible: King James Version, Chestnut. Thomas Nelson, 2011.

Tyndale. Holy Bible: Inspire Bible Nlt. Tyndale House Publishers, 2016.


[1] Mosaburo Kainuma et al., “Competencies Necessary for Becoming a Leader in the Field of Community Medicine: A Japanese Qualitative Interview Study,” BMJ Open 8, no. 4 (April 17, 2018), https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-020082.

[2] Thomas Robbins and Dick Anthony, “Brainwashing and the Persecution of? Cults?” Journal of Religion & Health 19, no. 1 (1980): 66–69, https://doi.org/10.1007/bf00996781.

[3] Jennifer E. Stellar et al., “Awe and Humility.,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 114, no. 2 (February 2018): 258–69, https://doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000109.

[4] Tyndale, Holy Bible: Inspire Bible Nlt. (Tyndale House Publishers, 2016).

[5] Tyndale, Holy Bible: Inspire Bible Nlt. (Tyndale House Publishers, 2016).

[6] Tyndale, Holy Bible: Inspire Bible Nlt. (Tyndale House Publishers, 2016).

[7] Tyndale, Holy Bible: Inspire Bible Nlt. (Tyndale House Publishers, 2016).

[8] Tyndale, Holy Bible: Inspire Bible Nlt. (Tyndale House Publishers, 2016).

[9] Harry T Hionides, Niki Watts, and Helen George-Papageorgiou, The Collins Greek Pocket Dictionary: Greek-English, English Greek (London: Collins, 1988

[10] Mosaburo Kainuma et al., “Competencies Necessary for Becoming a Leader in the Field of Community Medicine: A Japanese Qualitative Interview Study,” BMJ Open 8, no. 4 (April 17, 2018), https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-020082.

[11] Salman Akhtar, “Patience,” The Psychoanalytic Review 102, no. 1 (February 2015): 93–122, https://doi.org/10.1521/prev.2015.102.1.93.

[12] Tyndale, Holy Bible: Inspire Bible Nlt. (Tyndale House Publishers, 2016).

[13] Tyndale, Holy Bible: Inspire Bible Nlt. (Tyndale House Publishers, 2016).

[14] Tyndale, Holy Bible: Inspire Bible Nlt. (Tyndale House Publishers, 2016).

[15] Jennifer L. Winkler et al., “Kind Discipline: Developing a Conceptual Model of a Promising School Discipline Approach,” Evaluation and Program Planning 62 (June 2017): 15–24, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2017.02.002.

[16] Jennifer L. Winkler et al., “Kind Discipline: Developing a Conceptual Model of a Promising School Discipline Approach,” Evaluation and Program Planning 62 (June 2017)

[17] Jennifer L. Winkler et al. Evaluation and Program Planning 62 (June 2017)

[18] Tyndale, Holy Bible: Inspire Bible Nlt. (Tyndale House Publishers, 2016).

[19] Tyndale, Holy Bible: Inspire Bible Nlt. (Tyndale House Publishers, 2016).

[20] Tyndale, Holy Bible: Inspire Bible Nlt. (Tyndale House Publishers, 2016).

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2021 Reformed Eve

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