A Leader Who Serves

KEY VERSE: “How much more valuable is a human being than a sheep? So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” —Matthew 12:12, New Revised Standard Version


THE HEALING JESUS performed, constantly was sought by all in Israel. Once Jesus was in a synagogue on the Sabbath when someone asked to be healed. The Pharisees present asked Jesus, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath days?” (Matt. 12:10) Their purpose was not to learn from the Master, but to call attention to the fact that the Lord was acting in violation of the Mosaic Law.

So Jesus asked them: “Suppose one of you has only one sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath; will you not lay hold of it and lift it out?” (Matt. 12:11, New Revised Standard Version) Certainly anyone would save their sheep, even though their interpretation of the Mosaic Law was that the commandment forbidding the doing of any servile work on the Sabbath should be strictly observed. Then follow the words of our Key Verse: “So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath,” and our Lord proceeded to heal the man’s withered hand, making it whole.

Jesus’ positive declaration, “It is lawful [according to God’s Law] to do good on the Sabbath,” overrode the concept of never doing any servile work on the Sabbath. But the motive must be to do good. The Pharisees could only see the letter of the Law and strove never to bend any of the rules. They failed to see that the commandments were designed for man’s benefit, not to prevent them from receiving blessings. Everyone needs rest periodically. So Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: therefore, the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath”!—Mark 2:27,28

The Pharisees were incensed at our Lord’s display of authority, and held a council to plot how they might destroy him; but Jesus withdrew from the synagogue. Great multitudes followed him, still seeking and receiving his healing miracles. The resentment of Israel’s leaders of Jesus grew deeper, and they desired to rid this great teacher from their midst. They did not know that Jesus was fulfilling prophecy.—Isa. 42:1-4; Matt. 12:16-21

There have always been men desiring to attain great heights of leadership simply for the glory involved. This was the motivation of the Pharisees. Rare indeed is the leader who is self-sacrificing and desirous of serving at great cost to himself. Jesus was, indeed, the greatest example of such a leader.

Isaiah’s prophecy mentioned above bears this out very well. Jesus did not call attention to himself; he always magnified God and described himself as his servant, despite the fact that he had been specifically chosen by God to be a great leader. His Heavenly Father was well pleased with his beloved Son because of his willingness to humble himself.

As the Apostle Paul testifies of Jesus, he “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”—Phil. 2:7,8

Jesus’ reward for faithful service was that God exalted him so he could exercise his leadership with authority and power. “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”—vss. 9-11

Isaiah’s prophecy tells how God put his Spirit upon Jesus to guide and direct him. Jesus, as a leader, would offer every opportunity to all to gain eternal life and an everlasting place in his kingdom, soon to be established. Isaiah said, “In his name shall the Gentiles trust.”—Matt. 12:21

Dawn Bible Students Association
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