With all that has been in the news lately, I can see that it is so hard to trust leaders these days. It is so disappointing when it so often now seems to come out that they lied to people, used people, did their work for selfish gain at the cost of others.
Every week someone who is a leader in some area gets found out – or at least rightly or wrongly put under the glaring judgement of our community via news services and social media.
We hear about it instantly and the person is tried by media within a few days, and we move on to the next leader. It seems particularly disappointing when the leader happens to be a confessing Christian.
What is so heart-breaking is that some of these leaders have actually done some good. It is just that they were lying to us all along – hiding dark secrets or diminishing and hurting people. Their words end up empty.
We feel betrayed. We feel the deep hypocrisy and we want no part of it. There is enough hypocrisy in us to go around. We don’t need any more!
So, what makes a good leader? What enables you to trust a leader? How much do you trust ay leader? What do you need to see and hear from a leader than enables you to trust that despite his or her human limitations, all is basically well?
One of the things that enables me to trust leaders is authenticity. The leader has lived the practice in his or her area.
- The school principal has been a teacher of year 1 kids on a Wednesday morning when they are noisy and needy and hard to control.
- The teacher has stood in from a year 9 class on a Friday afternoon to teach some subject that none of them are interested in – a lot.
- The politician has lived in the local, community, been involved in countless community service efforts, turns up to talk to people, cares for the community and does not seem in it for the money.
- The priest or pastor knows the harshness of life, has experienced what it is like to live with poverty or health issues, or conflicted family or hard work and etc….. The pastor actually cares.
Somehow, if the leader knows the pain, we will allow them the gain. We might not make them suffer too much by our harsh words of judgement or gossip.
But, where to find a truly authentic leader? And one that we can trust with more than property or money or even the future of our country but with our very self, our very life our very death and our very meaning and identity and reason to get out of bed in the morning?
The writer to the Hebrews points to Jesus of Nazareth, the Great High Priest as the Authentic Human, the Authentic God – the authentic and trustworthy Leader you can fully trust.
The High Priest role in the Jewish community was right up there – just under the King. He was meant to manage all the spiritual, legal and even medical issues of the nation by means of the daily ritual in the holy space – the Temple.
He was a cross between Nicola Spuria (Chief Medical Officer) and the Attorney General, Vickie Chapman, and the Arch Bishop of the established church (Geoffrey Smith – Anglican; Patrick O’Regan Catholic, David Altus, Lutherans!)
But the writer wants to point the people to this new breed of High Priest who is trustworthy in two ways;
Way 1: He is human. He knows the pain and the struggle more than we do.
Way 2: He is more than human: he lives the perfect human life in all the pain and the struggle and triumphs in self-sacrificing love for people who could never be perfect.
We can trust him because he is like us.
- He was fully human, like we are. (5:2-3)
17 For this reason (because he came to free human beings) he had to be made like them,[k] fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. (2:17)
- He was chosen for the job, he did not grab it as some ego/power trip (5:4)
“You are my Son, today I have begotten you,”
Just like King David, Jesus did not just choose himself to be this High Priest. He was chosen by the Father for the job.
- He made complete atonement for our sin just like the High priest did each year.
12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, so obtaining[b] everlasting redemption.
- He opens up the loving kindness of the Father to us (5:19)
14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,[c] so that we may serve the living God! (Hebrews 9:11-14)
So, we have a true Leader;
15 …… who is able to feel sympathy for our weaknesses,….but one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are…
And yet we have a Leader who is beyond our ability and way more than we can be.
“…one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yes he did not sin”;
This leader of leaders never mistrusted his Father, lied to anyone trick any one or lead a dodgy double life of destruction.
Friend, what Leader have you chased? Why have you put them up on a pedestal higher than the presence and promises and gifts of Jesus? What Leader do you long to follow and why?
You may not be able to trust politician, priest, pastor or principal, but you can trust this Leader – Jesus.
- He will never betray you as you sometime betray him.
- He will never misrepresent you before the Father as you sometime misrepresent him before others.
- He will never dismiss you and your pain as you sometimes dismiss his and others’ pain.
What you hear is what you get from him. He is The Authentic Human, and Greatest High Priest. He is The Authentic Leader not just of business, or church or school or society but of humanity and all of this magnificent planet at its surrounding star systems.
So, the writer can say confidently today;
“….because Jesus lives for ever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely[c] those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
26 Such a high priest truly meets our need – one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. ….. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.
We are that permanent priesthood under our Great High Priest, Jesus. We do our self-sacrificing ‘priest work’ in the ‘priesthood of all believers in Christ’ (1 Peter 2:5-9). We lead by serving. There is no other type of leadership in God’s new creation.
That is our calling. We represent people’s suffering and sins to God on their behalf and we speak God’s words of truth and forgiveness in his Word to them. We ‘stand in the gap’ as we ‘intercede’ for people.
- Friends, we can trust this Leader when you can’t trust other human leaders. Seek him above them.
- You can trust this Leader when you fail at leading. Seek him when you can’t lead.
- You can trust this leader because he is the ‘real deal’ fully human, fully aware and fully committed to you – even serving you when he does not have to or need to but because he obviously wants to! Why else would he willingly serve like he did as the Suffering Servant at the hands of a corrupt High Priests named Caiaphas, for all the sinners in his world, and all his creatures, great and small?
We will again soon see just how much this King of all Glory serves his world in the days ahead.
Follow the Leader. He is life and leads to life.