Summary: This sermon looks at the 1st major characteristic of Jesus - He was an authentic leader. Jesus is worth following.


In this story Jesus is praying. He stops. And he starts his conversation with a question.

How many of you like ever liked pop quizzes or surprise tests? Probably no normal person, especially when the Master Teacher is giving the quiz.

Jesus’ first question is “Who do people say that I am?” And his disciples rattle off several rumors they have been hearing – John the Baptist, Elijah, and a prophet.

Then Jesus asks the next question, “Who do you say that I am?” We didn’t read it but the next verse gives Peter’s answer – “The Christ. The Son of the Living God.”

You see there were a lot of ideas out there about Jesus. Some people thought he was Lord … others thought he was a liar … and to some he was just plain old nuts.

Even today people have some pretty strong opinions about who Jesus was.

Take a look at this.

SOUND / LIGHTING – Play the video. It is contained in the powerpoint. Make sure the volume is up and prepared (“Who was Jesus? -”)

Who was Jesus?

Listen to what the last girl said, “The Jesus story sort of borders on history and myth for me. But I don’t believe it could have permeated our culture so fully and for so long if there was nothing to that.”

Matthew 16:16: “Simon Peter said, "You’re the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (MSG).

What has kept Jesus alive so long? It is because he really was and is the Christ!

About 100+ people over the last 3 nights have discovered the reality of Jesus … man, that’s awesome … thank you everyone who worked so hard and so long!

There was and is something that has attracted people to Jesus … I have been attracted to Jesus … you have been attracted to Jesus … HE SIMPLY IS.

SOUND / LIGHTING – Play the video. It is contained in the powerpoint. Make sure the volume is up and prepared (“Jesus is -”)

What Jesus is - makes him who he is. Who Jesus is - determines what he does.


… an authentic leader

… our extreme forgiver

… the relentless lover

… our faithful friend

… the supreme conqueror

Now hear this: What we do - makes us who’s we are. Whose we are - determines what we do.

If Jesus is all the above to us, then we need to be authentic leaders, extreme forgivers, relentless lovers, faithful friends, and supreme conquerors.

So tonight, let me talk for a few moments on Jesus as our AUTHENTIC LEADER.

The true test of leaders is whether or not you have followers. How many of you would say based on “having followers” that Jesus was a good leader?

Absolutely. What has made him an amazing leader is that about 2000 years after he died people are still following him.

There is no other leader like him in the world.

After Peter declares “Jesus is the Christ” Jesus says the following, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23-24 – NLT).

And for centuries people have done just that … they have followed.

Jesus tells a couple of fisherman, “Follow me.” Immediately they follow!

Jesus was and is a GREAT leader.

What made Jesus worth following? Why were and are people willing to give up everything to let Jesus lead them?

LIFE PRINCIPLE: Jesus is worth following.

Let me give you a couple of reasons why Jesus is an authentic leader.

1. Jesus never followed the crowd

Jesus was constantly doing things that ticked off so-called leaders. He fought against injustice. He hated deceit. He never caved in to popular opinion.

Jesus was different. He wasn’t weird or a freak. He was unique.

Luke 5:27-32: “Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax-collection booth, "Come, be my disciple!" Jesus said to him. So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him. Soon Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests were there. But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples, "Why do you eat and drink with such scum?" Jesus answered them, "Healthy people don’t need a doctor — sick people do. I have come to call sinners to turn from their sins, not to spend my time with those who think they are already good enough” (NLT).

Every other religious leader was ignoring tax collectors. Not Jesus. He did what was right even though he knew people would question him.

Jesus knew his purpose. He followed it whether it was popular or not.

Don’t follow the crowd. Following Christ is never going to be popular or easy, but I’d rather be right than popular.

2. Jesus lived for the bigger picture

Matthew 20:28: “For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many” (NLT).

Most people are selfish. I am selfish.

A lot of times we live our lives so small. It is hard to download that life is not about me.

Jesus lived it. He knew that this life was only the beginning. He was willing to give up his life for the bigger picture.

If we can get this one thing … LIFE IS ABOUT JESUS … when you live your life for Jesus it is easier to LIVE the bigger picture.

3. Jesus loved people to death … literally!

John 15:13: “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends” (ASV).

Not too many people will give their lives for something or someone.

Jesus doesn’t ask of us what he was unwilling to do. Jesus was willing to offer his life for each of us for one reason … LOVE!!!

It is awesome to know that I am following a leader who loves me … he’s looking out for me … he has my best interests at the top of his list.

Jesus gave up his life to prove his love!

I’ll follow anybody who is willing to do that for me.

Be a person of love. Live and love just like Jesus did.

See the best in people. Love them even when it’s hard.


If we want people to follow us straight to Christ then …

… we can never follow the crowd

… we must live for the bigger picture

… we need to love people to death … but not literally!