In Yochanan 20:17-28, we read about the important topic of leadership and we get some important lessons on leadership from our Messiah.
We read first of Ya’akov and Yochanan, the sons of Zavdai and their desire for a prominent role of leadership in the Messianic kingdom:
Then Zavdai’s sons came to Yeshua with their mother. She bowed down, begging a favor from him. He said to her, “What do you want?” She replied, “Promise that when you become king, these two sons of mine may sit, one on your right and the other on your left.” But Yeshua answered, “You people don’t know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to him, “We can.” He said to them, “Yes, you will drink my cup. But to sit on my right and on my left is not mine to give, it is for those for whom my Father has prepared it.” (vv. 20-23)
Yeshua’s response demonstrates that Ya’akov and Yochanan were not aware that leadership, as Yeshua demonstrated it was a path of sacrifice.
In the next verses we get some important words from Yeshua on what a leader should be:
But Yeshua called them and said, “You know that among the Goyim, those who are supposed to rule them become tyrants, and their superiors become dictators. Among you, it must not be like that. On the contrary, whoever among you wants to be a leader must become your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave! For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve — and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (vv. 25-28)
The path to follow to be a leader like Yeshua is not the path of seeking power or position for selfish motives to be a tyrant or to be a leader without taking into account that there is sacrifice required. Yeshua lays out here that leadership requires one to be a servant and to like our Messiah demonstrate a life of leading by serving others.
I am reminded of Yeshua giving his talmidim an important lesson in leadership which took place at Passover:
Yeshua was aware that the Father had put everything in his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God. So he rose from the table, removed his outer garments and wrapped a towel around his waist. Then he poured some water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the talmidim and wipe them off with the towel wrapped around him. (Yochanan 13:3-5)
In this lesson on leadership we see our Messiah taking on the role of a slave and washing the talmidim’s feet, in this Yeshua’s teaching on leadership became a visual demonstration.
As we look to the future of Messianic Judaism we must seek to build up the next generation of leaders. For those of us in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s who will have to be these next generation leaders we must follow our Messiah’s example and grow as servant-leaders. For our mentors and teachers we need your support and help to stay on the right path and if we stumble off the path like Ya’akov and Yochanan did, like Yeshua did point us back to the right path.
So then let us seek to be like our Messiah and follow his example and lead by serving and may we each play our role in building a mature Messianic Judaism for the future!