Leadership & Lessons From The Cross.
Today is the final Sunday of the Church year,the last Sunday after PENTECOST. It is also known as CHRIST THE KING SUNDAY, so I thought that it would be appropriate for us here at All Saints to recognize THE KINGSHIP OF JESUS!
Many times we look at Christ who reigns in Heaven but,Today,can we look for Kingship and Leadership in an unexpected place?
Yes, you guessed correctly- at CALVARY!
At the cross we learn precious lessons. At the end of His life the Lord showed us, as He had done all His days, that His thoughts were always for us His creation.
Let's look into our bibles as we consider these lessons.
In Luke 23, Verses 33-34 Though beaten, mocked, tortured, mistreated and abandoned by His close friends we see that Jesus continued to speak of forgiveness for those against Him. He came to bring us forgiveness, and salvation and to reconcile us to the Father.
We in turn as Christians have been given the ministry of reconciliation to bring people with whom we interact, to Jesus. We all have the commission to – Go into our world and make disciples,teaching them what Jesus taught. Ourselves being good examples as we represent Jesus to them!
In Verses 35-38 We see the end result of Jesus coming to die for us and be our Saviour. He was indeed God's anointed, and the Chosen One. He was of the tribe of Judah in whom would run the Kingly line. Jesus was, as they said in jest not realising, the King of the Jews and the promised Messiah!
By His suffering He took away all our pain and diseases. He paid for our sins,condemned the sin in our flesh, our human nature, which tries to draw us away from God with wrong thoughts and ideas.
On the other hand when we behold Jesus we go from Glory to Glory!
Let's not be drawn down in the morass of ungodliness, immorality and worldliness.
Wherever good leadership is found,the entire community benefits. We realise that we share a common lot, and that if one suffers everyone is the worst for it.
In Luke's version of the Passion story,Jesus speaks 3 times from the cross.
i.e. Luke 23:33- 43
1st He speaks to his Father about the people who put him there.
2nd.He promises PARADISE to the thief who acknowledges Him as King
3rd With his dying breath he places himself in his Father's hands.
We look to the cross for Leadership and we are not disappointed. These three brief sentences from Jesus constitute a course in Leadership of a kind all too rare. They constitute an example worthy of a King,yet which anyone can follow: Let's consider:
Justice is miscarried.
Jesus is beaten and condemned.
Jesus is taken to a place of execution (hands and feet nailed to the wood.
Jesus on the cross is raised in shame before all the world.
Jesus is left to die a slow excruciating torture.
Now,under similar circumstances,how would YOU react?
Some may lash out in defiance.
Some may become paralysed by pain.
Yet others become so broken they remain in torture.
Jesus,however-Our Great Exemplar and Leader, chooses a different alternative.--
A REGAL ONE. He shows his cross is not a trap but a throne!
HE FORGIVES- he forgives those who are mocking him shaming him,killing him. They condemn him by word and action.
“Father forgive them,they don't know what they are doing”.
He actually forgives their ignorance; their hardness of heart; their thirst for blood. The moral blindness which allows them to put to death the AUTHOR of LIFE
Why does he do this? (He who died for us on a cross of wood, yet made the hill on which it stood?)
Because he sees them for who they truly are.
Not powerful people, but weak, ignorant, blind and fearful. Even in the midst of his execution, he recognises how miserable are their circumstances,yet declares them redeemable.
HE FORGIVES. God can and does forgive.
HE RECONCILES. God reconciles,opens eyes,and starts one on a different road.
My brothers and sisters-
THERE IS LEADERSHIP because Leadership means even in the darkest moment,seeing past how things appear and recognizing how they can be.
The Cross of Jesus stands between the Crosses of 2 criminals. One rails against Jesus demanding he save all three of them. The other rebukes the first recognizing Jesus is innocent.
This criminal (Who tradition calls Dismas) even acknowledges Jesus as THE KING! He makes a bold request.
“Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom”
To this Jesus responds:
Today you will be with me in Paradise.”
My friends,are you getting the picture?
Jesus is a true Leader...he is not a Bureaucrat!
He sets no obstacles in the way. He seizes the opportunity for good. He sees the true heart of the criminal - takes his word and meets him dying with undying love... in paradise!
My brothers and sisters...
THERE IS LEADERSHIP (Christian agape)!
Leadership means a willingness to risk,to seize every opportunity when the time is right and to believe people are better than failures
In Verses39-43 We see Jesus opening the way to forgiveness of all our sins, past, present and future, through belief and dependence on Him. One of the two thieves crucified with Him illustrated this for us. Just as in the case of this thief, we deserve death. We've cheated and lied and perhaps done even worse. The wages of all sin is death! But, we can enter God's kingdom and gain eternal life by throwing ourselves on God's mercy and trusting in the blood of Jesus to save us.
We cannot fully comprehend how powerful our God is and how much he loves us. God forgives all our sins and as we behold Jesus and look to Him as our saviour, grace teaches us to say NO to all ungodliness.
If we are truly converted we will be improving in character and Godliness and where we chose to keep our human nature and live like people in the world the scriptures show that God will discipline us but always in love because He wants the best for us.
Jesus came to bring peace and goodwill between God and man. That work is finished. Jesus, gave his life,and has reconciled us to God and given us the 'Ministry of Reconciliation' to deliver this good news to the world. Our sins can be forgiven. We can accept the death of Jesus on our behalf . We can grow in Godliness and Holiness and can have fellowship with God and the promise of everlasting life!
Finally, before Jesus expires on the cross he utters his last words. A PRAYER:
“FATHER INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT!”
His prayer is not desperate. His prayer is a declaration of FAITH,a shout of TRIUMPH!
He has accomplished what he came to do. Now he can go home peacefully. He lived his karma,he walked the course, remaining focussed to the end,centred on His Heavenly Father. The Father who dwells in Majesty!
Brothers and Sisters:
THERE IS LEADERSHIP:
Leadership means commitment. Commitment to the Centre, which is not his or ours only, but the centre of every person and every place;the one to whom Jesus prayed.
THE FATHER! GOD!
Lessons and Leadership from the Cross!
This approach may not make one popular, it could even get one into trouble,but it will not be toxic Leadership....It will not prove ineffectual. It will not merely make things a little better or worse, or be self-serving.....
Eventually,after 3 days or for us maybe a little longer...this leadership will produce:
A WORLD TRANSFORMED
A WORLD REBORN !
I pray that we all will put faith in JESUS and make Him our Lord. God sees what we do and is the Almighty.
In closing our Church's year,then may we with one accord resolve:
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”....
Praise and honour and glory be to the Almighty!
The Father,The Son,and The Holy Spirit.