Written by Jeremy Stalnecker
Today is the day referred to as “Good Friday” -a day that we celebrate the death of Christ on the cross. This celebration is not only because He, our Savior, died in our place (a significant act but one that could have ended in the grave), but because just a few days after this death the glorious resurrection would demonstrate once and for all that the crucified Christ is indeed God! So much has been written and said about this day and as we move through the weekend we will all have the opportunity to internalize its truths for ourselves. I am so thankful for the salvation provided for me and “Whosoever will” (John 3:16)!
I am afraid, however, that we can make this weekend a time of religious celebration without understanding the practical impact that events celebrated should have on our everyday lives. We know that we can rejoice in the eternal salvation and forgiveness of sins paid for on that Cross, but I believe that, apart from this most important aspect of Good Friday and Easter, we need to allow the example provided by Christ as He gave himself for us to impact the way that we live every day of our lives. I believe this is especially true for those that seek to lead others by taking them to places that they would not be able to go without the right kind of leadership.
Much is said today on the topic of “Servant” or “Spiritual” leadership and we work to find a definition that guides our leadership journey. This is difficult because we understand that leaders are responsible for outcomes but need to achieve these outcomes by serving those for whom we are responsible. I have personally spent many hours trying to understand this type of leadership but often fall short of fully grasping the extent to which I should go while leading others by serving them.
This is why I believe we need to see the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross not as simply paying the price for sin (although that is the most important aspect of His death), but as a Leadership example that we can follow if we truly want to be “Servant Leaders”. Jesus is God and could have made salvation possible in anyway that he wanted to. He decided to do this by dying a very public death on the cross. He did this to provide an example for us to follow (Ephesians 5:25). Do you want to lead like Jesus? Here are things to consider as illustrated in His death on the cross:
1. Philippians 2 helps us to understand that Jesus, who is God, never stopped being God. He is the ultimate leader of the universe and never stopped being that leader.
2. As the leader, He humbled himself and died on the cross. He was not FORCED to die on the cross. He decided to. He didn’t do this for Himself, He did this for us-A a humanity desperately in need of a Savior.
3. Servant leadership is not using those that you lead to get what you want. Servant leadership, as illustrated by Christ, is doing what is necessary to get those that you lead to the place that they desperately need to be.
4. Sometimes those that you lead will not appreciate what you are doing for them. Ironically, the very people Jesus came to save were the ones who crucified Him.
5. Leadership is hard but the results, if done well, can be eternal!
So much more could be said here of course, but I encourage you to ask the question as you remember the great sacrifice of Christ on the cross, “How can I reflect His sacrifice for me as I serve others?”
How amazing it is to have a Savior who was willing to give His life so that we may live. Let us give our life for others!
An earlier version of this post appeared here.