Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Greatest Leader Who Ever Lived: You'll be Suprised

Who is the greatest leader in the world?

Let's consider some of the great leaders. The best leaders in the world, surely could be people like: Nelson Mandela, Aung Sung Su Chi or Mother Theresa. We could mention business heavyweights like Jack Welch or the political prowess of names like Abraham Lincoln. In the sporting fields we could mention Michael Jordan or in social activism the name Martin Luther King Jnr comes to mind.

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Though, let me say this: 

If the success or effectiveness of a leader relates to the transformative impact one has had on generations past and present, then Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the greatest leader to have ever walked the planet.

Let me start there. Let me iterate the credibility of the leadership capacity of Jesus Christ. Billions of people follow him today. Billions are impacted by the amazing bite-sized teachings that he communicated when he lived on earth. Many understand the extravagant grace he expressed to the poor and disadvantaged. No one has created so much controversy, and sparked the passionate response of movements the world over.

I must clarify, that Jesus did not walk through Samaria on his day off and speak about leadership. He didn't sit on the mount of olives and give us 21 Irrefutable Laws, speak about leadership influence, or articulate to his followers important aspects of teamwork in first century Palestine. He nonetheless sparked a religious revolution of his day, and had 200 million Christians or 'followers of the way' by the start of the fourth century.

So what is it about Jesus that makes him the greatest leader to have ever lived?

Servant Leadership

We could speak about his upside-down form of leadership. While Pharisees in his day and age held to power, authority and legalism, Jesus came and spoke about servanthood. While the religious leaders were straightening their beards, Jesus was washing people's feet. He spoke clearly about the first being last, and the last being first. He spoke about giving away a second coat if someone really needed it. Jesus served. He came not to be served, but to serve. He taught the world servant leadership.

Extravagant Grace

The story of the adulterous woman comes to mind:

John 8:1-11   but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Leadership was not expressed in bitter judgment to the sinful woman, but expressed in extravagant grace. The character of the leader was clearly evident in this story. Jesus was a man who loved, showed love and generously exhibited grace to the people around him, namely the adulterous woman.

What makes Jesus the greatest leader to have lived?

We have mentioned briefly his servant leadership, his extravagant grace, but there is more. I could write about the ability he had to draw a crowd or purposefully lose a crowd, or his team-building techniques, his dissatisfaction with institutionalism and how he dealt with that, and more. Though it would be remiss of me not to finish this blog with one of the greatest reasons Jesus Christ was the greatest leader in the world.

He was God in person.

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