In the 1940's a turn-of-phrase was coined, "You can't judge a book by its cover." Never was that more true than about the Savior.
To the casual observer it might appear that Jesus was nomadic, wandering dusty roads from village to village dispensing humanitarian miracles and pithy sayings—a first century philanthropist who scattered goodness and golden rules like confetti, or a Galilean Don Quixote whose idealism attracted disciples like stray cats.
But nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus was the world's most strategic planner, a genius in organizational development and human resources.
In fact, His organizational skills put an endless universe into constant motion. He designed and molded every living cell. And, He alone crafted the world's most enduring institutions, the Home and the Church being exhibits A and B.
The honored robes of leadership fit perfectly on this humble carpenter from Nazareth.
But it wasn't easy. He was continually bucking the status quo and ignoring city hall. From the smear campaigns of the Pharisees to the out-of-sync ideas of His disciples, and from the condescension of His family and friends to Satan's most vicious attacks, Jesus was resolute. He knew what He had to do and how He had to do it.
Though He was the omnipotent God, His powerful leadership was, ironically, marked by His limitations. In fact, those limitations became His trademark and continue to serve as the template for every Christian leader since. Mystical they're not. He never intended them to be. But nobody has ever personified successful leadership better.
First, Jesus limited His time to doing only His Father's will. "I have accomplished the work You gave me to do."
And He did it unwaveringly, completely, sincerely, willingly, fervently, sacrificially, swiftly and constantly. He had not come from Heaven to recite a well rehearsed script, but to live a life of righteous rebellion. Not only did He preach against sin, He also acted against sin. When His Father's house was profaned He flew into action. God's justice never looked so resolute.
Secondly, Jesus limited His conversations. "The words which You gave to Me, I have given to them."
Every recorded dialogue was deliberate. No words were wasted—they were customized for each person and every audience. And, His words struck a chord. To the hurting, He spoke of hope. At a funeral, He spoke of life. To the blind, He spoke of light. To the children, He opened His arms. To the leper, He offered His touch. And the people loved Him for it.
He also limited Himself to a target audience. "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
He looked beyond the curiosity seekers and gravitated to the needy. His ministry was one of depth, not breadth. He sequestered His students for in-depth training. He commanded others to "tell no one." He was unshaken when thousands rejected Him, claiming His teaching was too tough to swallow. And even when He had an audience with the political power brokers, "He opened not His mouth."
Finally, Jesus was careful to train His replacements. "As you have sent me into the world, I have also sent them into the world."
For three years His protégés heard it all, saw it all, and even got on-the-job, hands-on experience in dozens of miraculous works. Jesus held nothing back. He schooled them in every phase of ministry. They saw Him laugh, weep, teach, pray, challenge, rest, serve, heal, answer and lead. And when it was their turn to take leadership, they never had to ask, "How?" They had already learned the secrets from the Master.
The model that served so well for the disciples is the same model for us today. Limit yourself to His priorities and you can't go wrong.