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Monday, July 23, 2012

What makes a leader?


I have been looking at the apostle know as Peter. Peter was the leader of the apostles. He was someone who often did things right and he often did things wrong. I want to take a look at life and learn some of the things that make someone a good leader.

Matthew 15:15; 15But Peter said to him, "Explain the parable to us."
Luke 12:41; 41Peter said, "Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?"
Matthew 18:21 21Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?
Luke 21:21 21When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, "Lord, what about this man?"

Here we have several examples of Peter asking questions. He wanted to know more. He wanted to understand and know what was going on. He asked questions. When there were things he did not understand he went to the Lord and asked. Do you do this? Are you asking questions? Are you trying to understand?

Peter not only asked a lot of questions. He was usually the first one to try and answer them. He took initiative. He took the lead, he was not timid. He just jumped right in. Take a look at this passage.
Matthew 16:13-16 13Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" 14And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." 15He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" 16Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 

We see another example of Peter and his ability to be a leader in the Garden of Gethsemane. Here were all these Roman soldiers. And Peter jumps right in and pulls out his sword and hacks off Malchus ear. Here was Peter and perhaps hundreds of soliders and he gets ready for a fight. He was bold and brash.

Take a look at what Peter does in the middle of a storm. He sees the Lord and jumps right out the boat and onto the water. While the other disciples were trying to figure out who was out in the water, Peter was asking the Lord to call him. Amazing. That's the stuff a leader is made of.

Peter also denied Christ. While that might have been the case, he was the only one around. It was Peter and perhaps John that went with Jesus to the high priests' house. Everyone else was gone. He was involved. He was were the action was.

He had a lot of good qualities...But those are also qualities that can be very dangerous if not given to the Lord. Peter made mistakes. But what were the purpose of the mistakes? They were the things that helped to shape and mold him into a leader.

Another great quality that makes a leader is submission. We see Peter learn this lesson from Jesus himself. In Matthew 17 there was a tax collector making his rounds. He was collecting the temple tax. When he came to Peter he asked "Does your teacher not pay the tax?" Yet this was a bit of a problem for Peter. Did Jesus himself have to pay the tax? So Jesus ask him a question. He ask "What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?" 26And when he said, "From others," Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are free." Jesus helped Peter to find the right answer. Jesus had every right to opt out of the tax. But that would send the wrong message. And notice how Jesus pays the tax. He supernaturally directs a fish that had swallowed a coin to come over and take the bait from Peters hook. Amazing. Surly if Jesus had that kind of control over a fish, he had no need to pay a tax.

And we see that this lesson of submission is one that Peter learns. We will get to 1 Peter 2:13-18 and see that Peter writes

13Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution,[a] whether it be to the emperor[b] as supreme, 14or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants[c] of God. 17Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Peter had learned how to submit.

Peter also needed to learn to be humble. There is a real danger for leaders to get prideful. We see some of that pride in Peter come out in the way he is always jumping in and talking. Look at his statements in Luke 22:33 and again in Matthew 23:33 He was saying that he was ready to leave it all for Christ. He was ready to die. He said he would never be made to stumble. Yet he fell into all those things he thought he was above. And once again this was a lesson he was being taught. Look at 1 Peter 5:5-6. Clothe yourself with humility.

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