Leadership Lessons from the Life of our Lord


Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe shared the following in a message titled “The First Government” in a series called “Back to Our Beginnings”.  Dr. Wiersbe made reference to Dr. Walter Wilson (1881-1969) witnessing to a police officer. He told him it was good to meet a fellow minister of God.  To this the officer responded but you are a preacher and I am a policeman.  Dr. Wilson then took out his pocket New Testament and turned to Romans chapter 13 verse 4 and showed this man where he is “the minister of God… for good”.  The policeman said he never realized that and according to Dr. Wiersbe, Dr. Wilson went on to lead this man to Christ.[1]

Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) shares “Why Jesus Came” in Devotions for a Deeper Life, “Our Lord Jesus Christ did not come into this world to do the work of a social reformer, a political administrator, a judge, or simply a ruler in the affairs of men and women.

Jesus came as the Light of the World, to perform a work of grace in the hearts of individuals that will impart a new disposition of righteousness. This heartfelt transformation will make God real in our lives.”[2]

Dr. R.G. Lee (1886-1978), three time president of the Southern Baptist Convention and longtime pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, shares the following in a message titled “Jesus Pre-Eminent” based on Colossians 1:18, “Forever, though kingdoms rise and wane, Christ is the Great Unlike. No one can, without being guilty of sacrilege and of blasphemy and false assertions, place Jesus on a level with the greatest of earth. Not one of the greatest among the great of all ages does Christ resemble. There is no place on a level with the greatest where Jesus can appropriately stand. As he had no prototype, so he has no successors.”[3]

From John 7:46 we read, “The officers answered, ‘No man ever spoke like this Man!’” Notice the officers’ amazement about Jesus Christ our Lord.

Allow me to share three leadership lessons from the life of our Lord:

I. The manner of His earthly ministry was according to the ways of God.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, / Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, / So are My ways higher than your ways, / And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!  ‘For who has known the mind of the LORD? / Or who has become His counselor?’ ‘Or who has first given to Him / And it shall be repaid to him?’ For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:33-36).

“This is My Servant; I strengthen Him,
[this is] My Chosen One; I delight in Him.
I have put My Spirit on Him;
He will bring justice to the nations.
He will not cry out or shout
or make His voice heard in the streets.
He will not break a bruised reed,
and He will not put out a smoldering wick;
He will faithfully bring justice.
He will not grow weak or be discouraged
until He has established justice on earth.
The islands will wait for His instruction.”

(Isaiah 42:1-4).HCSB
“But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all.  Yet He warned them not to make Him known, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:  ‘Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, / My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, / And He will declare justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel nor cry out, / Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, / And smoking flax He will not quench, / Till He sends forth justice to victory; / And in His name Gentiles will trust” (Matthew 12:15-21).

Remember that this meek and mild mannered Man from Galilee made a cord and drove the money changers out of the temple, His Father’s house.

[Jesus Cleanses the Temple] “Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’  (Matthew 21:12-13).

“And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” (John 2:14-16).

Benjamin Franklin Loomis (1857-1935) explains, “‘As man is, so is his God;’ or so is his conception of God; for the reason that God can appear to us only as we are.  ‘To the merciful He will show Himself merciful, to the meek He will show Himself meek, to the just He will show Himself just, and to the forward He will show Himself forward.’

But to make this more forcible so that we may the better understand it, I will add another aphorism on the same lines that will bring it home to you.  To the terrible man He will appear terrible, and to the outlandish man He will appear outlandish, for the reason that they have no conception of that which above the outlandish.  We have only to study the ancient idols to be convinced of this.”[4]

Dr. Abraham Coles (1813-1891), American physician and poet, states of Jesus, “For He makes every just cause His own.  This He does from a necessity of His being.  Well it is so.  If a just God is dreadful, what a horror would be a God not just!  God cannot be just without being good; nor good without being merciful.  Goodness comprehends both Justice and Mercy.  One regulates the other.  Shakespeare is warranted, therefore, in saying that Mercy is ‘An attribute to God Himself; And earthly power doth then show likes: God’s, When Mercy seasons Justice.’

God’s Government is paternal.  He loves, and pities, and punishes.  To the merciful He will show Himself merciful; to the upright he will show Himself upright; to the pure He will show Himself pure.”[5]

Remember the difference in the way Jesus spoke to the scribes, Pharisees and hypocrites as recorded in Matthew 23 and the way He spoke to publicans and sinners.

Although “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34) we read in Jude 20 and following: “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh” (Jude 20-23).

Although Jesus Christ is no superstar or superman, He is the supernatural supreme King of kings and Lord of lords, the great I AM, and God of very God. Jesus Christ is not a man who became God. Jesus Christ did not cease to be God to become man. Jesus Christ is the God Man!

Do you remember the praise chorus by Graham Kendrick titled “This Is Your God” (Meekness and Majesty)?

Meekness and majesty
Manhood and Deity
In perfect harmony
The Man who is God
Lord of eternity
Dwells in humanity
Kneels in humility
And washes our feet
O what a mystery
Meekness and majesty
Bow down and worship
For this is your God
This is your God
Father’s pure radiance
Perfect in innocence
Yet learns obedience
To death on a cross
Suffering to give us life
Conquering through sacrifice
And as they crucify
Prays: ‘Father forgive.’
Wisdom unsearchable
God the invisible
Love indestructible
In frailty appears
Lord of infinity
Stooping so tenderly
Lifts our humanity
To the heights of His throne[6]

II. The matter of His earthly ministry was according to the Word of God.

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, / Because the LORD has anointed Me / To preach good tidings to the poor; / He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, / To proclaim liberty to the captives, / And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; / To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
And the day of vengeance of our God; / To comfort all who mourn” (Isaiah 61:1-2).
“So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.  And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah.  And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, / Because He has anointed Me / To preach the gospel to the poor; / He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, / To proclaim liberty to the captives /  And recovery of sight to the blind, / To set at liberty those who are oppressed; / To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD”(Luke 4:16-19).
Remember the Bible Jesus read was the Old Testament!
Jesus did not merely espouse human theories, philosophies, fads or fancies.

III. The marrow of His earthly ministry was according to the will of God.

Nancy Missler explains, “Marrow means the best part, the innermost part or the essential part from which all of our strength, vitality and life is derived.  It’s the richest portion of our bones.”[7]
 “Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34).
At age 12, we read the following about Jesus, “So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them” (Luke 2:48-50).
“And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him” (Luke 22:41-43).

Since the publication of Charles Monroe Sheldon’s (1857-1946) book titled In His Steps (1896), people want to know, “What would Jesus do?”

Dr. Henry M. Morris (1918-2006) explains of 1 Peter 2:21, “Some have tried to pattern their lives after that of Jesus, simply by asking in every situation, ‘What would Jesus do?’ But in the context of our text, the primary ‘example’ which He left us was nothing less than His own sacrificial death!. . .To follow Christ’s example, therefore, is to be willing to endure unjustified suffering—even defamation and persecution—with grace and patience. . . . If we would really be like Him, we must be willing to suffer quietly on behalf of others, even when they are the ones who deserve it. This is acceptable with God!”[8]

Therefore, it would be extremely more beneficial for the Christian to ask, “What did Jesus do?”

Dr. Richard Land sent the following in an e-mail from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:

“If Jesus were to ask, ‘Who do you say I am,’ the question He famously asked his disciple Peter, He would be disappointed by some of the answers He’d receive from contemporary Americans.”

Dr. Land provides a link in the e-mail to a survey conducted by The Barna Group of Ventura, California, that examines changes in worldview among Christians over the past 13 years.[9] Barna research also indicates, “Christianity Is No Longer Americans’ Default Faith.”[10]

William MacDonald (1917-2007), former president of Emmaus Bible College, author of 87 books to include his classic Believer’s Bible Commentary, states, “This is the Christ of the Bible. He is the Babe of Bethlehem, who became the Christ of Calvary that He might be the Savior of sinners.”

This past summer (2008) Rex Carter and five others resigned as volunteer chaplains with the Virginia State Police. Why?

Allie Martin shares, “A former chaplain with the Virginia State Police says he had no choice but to step down after a new policy took effect requiring generic prayers at department events.

Last summer, Rex Carter and five others resigned from the volunteer chaplain program. The move came after a new rule was instituted that restricted prayers by the volunteer chaplains. Carter, who is still a State Police officer, said he had no other choice once he was told he could not pray in the name of Jesus.

He says many people in society today simply do not want to be confronted with the truth of the gospel of Christ.

“The cross reveals man at his worst. People don’t want to look in the mirror and say, ‘I’m just an old rotten sinner.’ When you preach a precept like that, that bothers people,” he notes. “So what do we do? Well, let’s [quiet] people and let’s let the Christian crowd be quiet because we don’t want to hear that we serve a righteous and holy God, we don’t want to hear there’s judgment coming, we don’t want to hear that there was a man who died for my sins.”

Recently, a State Senate panel killed a bill that would have prohibited State Police officials from restricting prayers by volunteer chaplains.”[11]

Allow me to share a story that I call “Integrity: True Grit” subtitled “the man who might have been, realized it was not meant to be.”

In July 2003, I met Dr. John A. Huffman, Jr., at the Beeson Pastors School at Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama, and heard him share that he missed an opportunity to become the Chaplain of the United States Senate because he responded to a questionnaire that he would pray in Jesus’ name.

From the Congressional Record United States of America Proceedings and Debates of the 108th Congress, First Session Vol. 149 Washington, Thursday, January 2003 No. 8, Senate we read:

by his beloved Mary Jane.  Bless him as You, through him, have blessed us.

In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.”[12]

“The Senate met at 10 a.m. and was called to order by the President pro tempore (Mr. STEVENS).

The PRESIDENT pro tempore.  The prayer will be offered by guest Chaplain Dr. John A. Huffman of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach, CA.


The guest Chaplain offered the following prayer:

Let us pray:

“Almighty God, You created us and You know us intimately.  You know even better than do we why we entered the public arena.  Our aspirations of service for others were and still are so high.  Yet You know how hammered we are in our personal and professional lives by the realities of relational tensions, the complexity of issues, the ambiguity of solutions, our partisan agendas, and the pressures, political and financial, to remain professionally vital.  These and more cause us to lose our focus on why we are doing what we are doing.  Renew our vision when we temporarily lose it.

Dear Lord, may the zeal and enthusiasm of ones new to this Chamber be melded with the experience of the veterans into a synergism of governance for the common good that is both faithful to deeply held convictions while sensitive to doing together, across party lines, that which will strengthen this Nation in the challenges we face.  Help us to uphold righteousness, justice, mercy and domestic and international.

May our individual and corporate prayer be that of the Psalmist who vulnerably cried out: ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.’

Finally, thank You, Lord, for our brother Lloyd Ogilvie who, as Chaplain, has given 8 sterling years of service marked by dignity, sensitivity, eloquence, spirituality, and the modeling of the right priorities, as he soon leaves this office to stand caringly


Please recall the words of our text recorded in John 7:46, where we read about our Lord Jesus Christ, “The officers answered, ‘No man ever spoke like this Man!’” Recount with me these leadership lessons from the life of our Lord:

I. The manner of His earthly ministry was according to the ways of God.

II. The matter of His earthly ministry was according to the Word of God.

III. The marrow of His earthly ministry was according to the will of God.


If you do not know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord you can pray a prayer like this:

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner, in thought, in word and in deed. I am a sinner by nature and a sinner by choice. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sin and that he rose from the grave on the third day. I ask Jesus to take over my life and to be my Savior, my Lord, and my King. Thank you for giving me the forgiveness of my sin and everlasting life. Amen.

Franklin L. Kirksey is the pastor of Spanish Fort First Baptist.


[1]Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe shared this account in a sermon titled “The First Government” in a series called “Back to our Beginnings” from the Book of Genesis on the “Morning Bible Study with Warren Wiersbe” on the Bible Broadcasting Network online, Charlotte, North Carolina, on Sunday Morning at 10:00 a.m. EST on March 8, 2009.
[2]Oswald Chambers, Devotions for a Deeper Life ed. Glenn D. Black [Originally published in God’s Revivalist in the early 1900s] (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006)
[3]R.G. Lee, “Jesus Pre-Eminent” sermon based on (Colossians 1:18)
[4]Benjamin Franklin Loomis, Science and Religion (New York: Fowler & Wells Co. 1905), p. 252
[5]Abraham Coles, M.D., LL.D., A New Rendering of the Hebrew Psalms into English Verse (New York: D. Appleton & Company, 1888), pp. Introduction XXXVI and XXXVII
[6]Graham Kendrick titled “This Is Your God” © 1986 Kingsway’s Thankyou Music Available from: http://www.audiblefaith.com/pages/sg853294 Accessed: 03/12/09
[7]Nancy Missler, “Our Human Spirit-Part Three” Available from: http://www.ankerberg.com/Articles/_PDFArchives/streams-of-life/SL3W0502.pdf Accessed: 02/16/09
[8]Henry M. Morris, Days of Praise: Daily Bible Readings and Devotional Commentaries (Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research, March, April, May, 2009) “Christ: Our Example”,1 Peter 2:21, Saturday, May 9 reading
[9]Richard Land <ffv@erlc.org> Faith and Family Values Weekly – Wednesday, March 11, 2009 6:02 AM E-mail http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/12-faithspirituality/252-barna-survey-examines-changes-in-worldview-among-christians-over-the-past-13-years
[10]Barna Group, “Christianity Is No Longer Americans’ Default Faith” January 19, 2009, Available from: http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/12-faithspirituality/15-christianity-is-no-longer-americans-default-faith Accessed: 03/11/09
[11]Allie Martin, “’Jesus’ banned — so chaplain resigned”- OneNewsNow – 3/11/2009 4:30:00 AM, Available from: http://www.onenewsnow.com/Culture/Default.aspx?id=441642 Accessed: 03/11/09
[12]Congressional Record United States of America Proceedings and Debates of the 108th Congress, First Session Vol. 149 Washington, Thursday, January 2003 No. 8, Available from: http://bulk.resource.org/gpo.gov/record/2003/2003_S00999.pdf Accessed: 03/12/09
Franklin L. Kirksey
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