Lessons From Our Leader

Has anyone ever asked you the question, "What's your favorite holiday?" I'm sure they have. Many people say their favorite holidays are Thanksgiving, Christmas, Fourth of July and even Halloween. When I think about my answer to that question, I am definitely torn between Christmas and Easter. No one can deny how the world feels during the Christmas season. There is a spirit of joy, kindness, and love, unlike any other time of the year.  On the other hand, I have realized that as my faith in God grows and as my understanding of the Bible deepens, Easter is rising in the ranks as my favorite holiday. The Easter season is a time that we reflect on the wisdom that Jesus shared while he walked the Earth, the example that Jesus set for us regarding how to live our lives according to God’s Word, and the sacrifice that Jesus made for us as sinners (Romans 5:8).  The Easter season is a great time to take a deep dive into the Lessons of Our Leader. Our leader of course, being Jesus.

Because Jesus is the Word of God in the flesh, when he walked the Earth, he was literally walking wisdom.  Those who encountered him were captivated by the words he spoke.   Jesus taught the people in parables to help them understand how the heavenly kingdom would really work, despite what they heard before him.  Many could not understand why and how he seemed to be so different from everything that they knew.  For example, it’s natural to have animosity toward those who dislike you and mistreat you…an enemy if you will.  Jesus tells us to do the complete opposite; love your enemy (Matthew 5:43-44). One would think those that we see as strong and powerful today will inherit all.  That those who draw attention to themselves for the “good” they do in this world will be rewarded.  Well, that’s not what Jesus said.  Jesus said the meek will inherit the Earth (Matthew 5:5), and that we should keep our “good” between ourselves and the Father. (Matthew 6:5-7) Jesus also said, "When people insult you because of me, you are blessed." But how Jesus?  That doesn’t make any sense. To the average person, yes, these things seem outlandish.  But for Believers in Jesus Christ, we have a deeper understanding of how the Kingdom works.
What I have learned in my short time here on this Earth is that everyone will not understand you and how you choose to live your life as a Believer.  In times of struggle, the world may see you walking that season from a distance and wonder how you can continue to pray, praise, and trust God.  Well in many ways, it’s because Jesus already showed us the way.  Jesus taught those around him the importance of prayer, and that prayer should occur in every area of our lives.  Jesus taught the disciples and crowds to pray (Matthew 6:5-13; Matthew 14:23) and he prayed as he felt his crucifixion drawing near. (Luke 22:42, Hebrews 5:7) Jesus prayed to be glorified, he prayed for His disciples, and he prayed for all Believers. (John 17).
What I love most about the prayer life of Jesus is that it displayed his unwavering trust in the Father. Jesus knew that one of his closest friends would betray him. (John 13:18-30) Jesus also knew that another one of his closest friends would deny him out of fear. (John 13:31-38) Jesus knew that he would die by crucifixion, but he trusted the Father that the full plan would be carried out…including his resurrection.  (Luke 23:56, Luke 24:1-12) Jesus refused to allow the circumstances surrounding his Earthly assignment to shake his foundation and His belief in the Father.
Jesus has called us to do many things, but they can all be summed up in these two commands, Love God and Love people. What I love about Jesus is he doesn’t call us to do things that he didn’t do first.  When the Pharisees brought the women who was caught in the act of adultery to Jesus with the expectation that she would be stoned to death, Jesus responded differently.  Despite her sin, Jesus allowed her to go in peace.  (John 8:1-11) That was Jesus displaying grace and mercy toward her, and showing all of us what it looks like to be compassionate.  When Jesus healed the woman with the issue of blood, he did so because of her faith in him. (Mark 5:34) That was Jesus showing us that our faith in him alone can work miracles and will give us our heavenly reward (Ephesians 2:8-10) Finally, Jesus fulfilled his purpose as savior of the world by walking with God and being obedient to God’s will.  That was Jesus showing all of us what it means to sacrifice yourself, for a greater good. It is because of Him that we are saved. (Romans 8:9-10) That is truly good news!!!

What a leader we have in Jesus, and what wonderful lessons he left for us to learn from.  As we internalize these lessons from our leader, we not only draw closer to him and develop a genuine relationship with him, but we also reap the rewards of being a Believer.  We receive peace that surpasses all understanding. (Philippians 4:7) We receive joy that we can’t explain. (1 Peter 1:8-9) Most importantly, our leader is preparing a place for us to join him in heaven at the appointed time.  What a wonderful friend we have in Jesus!

Lord, thank you for the Lessons that you taught those who walked the Earth with you.  Thank you for guiding the disciples to share your wonderful works with all they meet so that generations to come would learn of your wonder and your love.  Lord, help us to follow in your footsteps. Help us to give to and do for the least of these.  Help us to be compassionate. Help us to love like you.  Help our faith to grow. Help us to be a true picture of what a Believer in Jesus Christ looks like.  We love you, Lord.  We honor you, Lord.  Thank you for the Lessons.

Biblica, Inc. (1984, 2011). The Holy Bible, New International Version, NIV. Harper Collins Publishers.

Tyndale House Foundation. (1996, 2004, 2015). Holy Bible, New Living Translation. Carol Stream, Illinois. All rights reserved.: Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

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