What I read: Luke 22
Observations: The opening verse of the chapter caught my attention. The religious leaders were afraid of the people and so they were seeking a way to destroy Jesus. It reminds me of a line from the Harry Potter novels in which Dumbledore tells Harry, “Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back!” It’s remarkable that the people who had the most power were afraid of the rest of the people over whom they were holding power. And they clearly saw Jesus as a lightning rod, a person who had captured the attention and affection of the common people in ways that they clearly had not. The result was plain fear, and it seems to me that their naked fear blinded them to ever seeing Jesus for who he was. When it comes time for them to secure Judas’ cooperation they even make it clear that they want nothing to do with a crowd, instead they want to arrest Jesus when no one is watching, in order to cause the least amount of commotion possible.
Application: As a person in leadership I’m familiar with their fear even of the people that they lead. I understand that there is a tenuous balance between leading people and attempting to dominate them and use them for my own agenda. I try to make sure that I’m walking that line well, but I’m not sure I always get there. I know there are times I have absolutely taken for granted the allegiance of people close to me without really considering how to invest in them personally. I’m trying to learn how to avoid that trap, and at the same time to avoid becoming a people pleaser who only seems to move when it seems like the winds of popular opinion are in my favor. Jesus’ fearlessness stands in stark contrast to the fear of the religious leaders, and obviously his leadership is supposed to be the model for me to follow. His courage in the face of even great personal danger, even to the point of his own death, is not only remarkable, it is meant to be the pattern for Christian leadership.
Prayer: Father, help me to be a courageous, fearless leader who is willing to follow you wherever you may call me, no matter the personal cost involved. And help me to be a compassionate leader who, as Jesus was, looks on those closest to him not as pawns to be moved on the board, but as true friends and companions in the great work you had called him to fulfill. I’m grateful for the friends you have given me, and the way that they serve you alongside me. Let me not take that for granted, but be more humbled by it than I already am.