Summary: How Jesus shows proper leadership and made it easy to follow him right up to his ascension and beyond.
May 27, 2001 Luke 24:44-53
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” 50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
Follow the leader is a classic game. Almost all of us have played it at one time or another. The basic concept of the game is that one person is designated as the “leader” - and then he will go through different kinds of motions - whether it be jumping over a barrel, crawling through a tube, or whatever - and the designated “followers” will then try to stay close behind him. Life is full of “leaders” and “followers”. Some of you may like to lead, while others may like to follow - and that’s ok. We need both in life. If everyone was a leader - we wouldn’t get much done in this life. The problem with following, is that some people aren’t very easy to follow. You see, there’s a difference between a good leader and a weak leader. Leaders need certain qualities in order to be successful. Today we’re going to look at those qualities. As we look at those, we’ll see that Jesus was a leader - a good leader. Because of that - we’ll also see that -
It’s Easy to Follow Our Leader
I. Because he clarifies Himself
A confusing directive was recently issued by a British Admiral. It read: “It is necessary for technical reasons, that these warheads be stored bottom-side-up, that is, with the top at the bottom and the bottom at the top. That there be no doubt which is the bottom, and which is the top, each warhead has been labeled with the word top!” Here’s a notice from the Lewiston, Idaho, Tribune: “The crossword puzzle which should have appeared in today’s Tribune appeared instead in yesterday’s, together with the answer to the puzzle that should have been printed yesterday. Therefore, the puzzle that should have appeared yesterday is in today’s Tribune, together with the answer to Wednesday’s puzzle. The puzzle for today and the answer to the one that should have been printed yesterday are reprinted.” How can you follow such directions?
What is my point? It’s a lot easier to follow when you can understand what you’re supposed to do. The first requirement of a good leader is that he is clear in his instructions. It is important that the follower know exactly what the leader wants - and sometimes why the leader wants what he or she wants. If you don’t know WHAT your leaders is talking about or sometimes WHY he’s doing what he’s doing - he’s hard to follow.
How many times did Jesus have to EXPLAIN what he was saying or what he was doing? In Matthew 15 Peter said to Jesus - Matthew 15:15-16 Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them.. Time and again Jesus was explaining himself to them - so they would understand WHAT he was talking about. It says in Matthew 16:21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. You can’t get any clearer than what Jesus was saying. But the disciples didn’t want to let go of the notion that Jesus DIDN’T come to be a bread king - someone who gives me popularity - food - fame and fortune.
As a good leader - Jesus clarified himself time and again. And today’s text is no different. The first portion of this text either takes place just prior to Jesus’ ascension or right after he appears in the upper room to his disciples. At any rate - he explains himself saying - “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day. It was very clear in the Bible - the Old Testament - that Jesus would have to suffer and rise from the dead. It should have been no surprise. But the disciples just couldn’t get it. So what finally had to happen? Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. I almost envision the disciples heads shaped in the size of a big can of fruit - but without a can opener. It doesn’t matter how much you beat it - or speak to it - finally you need a can opener to get it open. That’s what our text says - Jesus OPENED their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. Then, finally - the light turned on.