The Jesus that we serve was\is an amazing God! He was able to accomplish so much on earth in just 3 1/2 short years that we will forever be marveling at His leadership. He exemplified every portion of example we could possibly need for the maturity of the Church. There are 2 aspects of His leadership that I would like to bring out in order to show the great need that aspiring leaders have for discipleship. (Don’t misunderstand and think I am saying that Jesus did anything contradictory or hypocritical.)
–”Crowd Jesus”– can you imagine being in one of Jesus’ crusades? The lost are being found by His incredible Kingdom presentation, the sick are being healed with no discrimination of problem, the demonic are being set free from all bondage, and food is being multiplied to thousands! What a party! Who wouldn’t want to be there? Who wouldn’t want to come back? How far would be too far to reach such a crusade? There were literally thousands upon thousands who felt this way about Jesus. He was the biggest thing to hit planet earth since Adam was placed in the Garden. Fun, exciting, exhilarating, and supernatural would be just a few words to describe the public ministry of Jesus.
–”Disciple Jesus”– the flip side of this picture is the scenes that are painted over and over again in the Gospels of Jesus interacting with His disciples and those who wanted to be apart of His team. We see just about every situation recorded being some sort of opportunity for Jesus to correct, rebuke, or direct those around Him to a higher place of maturity and leadership.
1. Prospects- the rich young ruler was used to “crowd Jesus” and thought he would join the party. After all, he was most qualified with resources to spare and strict obedience to the law his whole life. WRONG! Jesus lit him up with a challenge to put it all on the line and get rid of his possessions in order to give all for Him. This ruined the rich young man’s hopes of being an inside man with the greatest show on earth. (1 of many examples I could rehearse)
2. Individual Disciples- Peter was called the devil. James and John rebuked for “not knowing what spirit they were of.” Thomas received a rebuke of all time infamy with his doubt on display. Over and over Jesus was forming these fishermen, tax collectors, and political misfits into a Kingdom advancing machine.
3. Disciples as a group- Where do I even start? “O ye of little faith” was an every other day rebuke to the would-be world changers. Lessons on allowing the children to come and be blessed made them look bad. Arguing over who would be the greatest met with Jesus’ deep disapproval (of behavior not personhood). The disciples as a whole had constant need of Jesus’ direct discipline.
POINT: There are many believers who enjoy a lifetime of ministry and church (“crowd Jesus”) without ever running into the “disciple Jesus.” If you ever want to be used mightily of the Lord then you MUST find “disciple Jesus” and allow Him to mold you into the great man or woman of God that He sees. Remember, He is disciplining you because He loves you and so greatly desires you to become all He has formed you to be! (and He will do this work through submitting to the mentoring of someone who is MORE MATURE than you, not just SITTING AROUND dreaming about it)
And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,
“My child, don’t make light of the LORD’s discipline,
and don’t give up when he corrects you.
6 For the LORD disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.
9 Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? (NLT2)