Out of all the chapters in “Follow Me” this one has provoked the most comment. It has become increasingly clear that most Christians have never thought about the crucifixion of Jesus as a leadership statement.
Perhaps this is because we so desperately need Christ’s substitutionary atonement at the cross for our individual and corporate guilt. Understanding the vital importance of having our sins forgiven has caused us to focus on the benefits of God’s sacrifice. But we must also recognize the leadership implications of the cross of Christ. What’s at stake is our voluntary followership.
I had a football coach in high school by the name of Win Brockmire. He had an amazing record of winning seasons over a 25-year coaching career. He never asked his players to do anything that he and his assistant coaches weren’t willing to do. The coaching staff ate the way we were required to eat, slept the way were required to sleep, and exercised the way were asked to exercise. They did not smoke or drink alcoholic beverages during football season.
What Win’s leadership genius did was provoke respect. We wanted to follow him. We admired and honored him for his willingness to put himself and his coaches through exactly the same sacrifices he was expecting from us as players. The result was that he received a degree of loyalty that went far beyond what could be expected for mere sporting activities. He became a formative influence in every area of his team members’ lives.
If leadership by example works well in sports, imagine how well it works when truly important issues are on the table. This universe is built around superb government. The leader of the whole cosmos is the most trustworthy leader of all. He is the greatest giver, the greatest servant, and the very definition of goodness.
We follow Him because He has broken our rebellion with His love, not His power. We follow Him because He has melted away our misplaced suspicions. We judged Him by ourselves and we were dead wrong. He is the only leader who will never betray our trust.
The Life Leader you meet at the cross is magnificently good because He is not a black hole of selfishness like the human leaders we’ve known. He is an explosion of generosity, an endless flowing spring of loving-kindness and grace.