Friday, 03 November 2017 00:00

“Greater love has no one than this,  than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are my friends if you do whatever I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” John 15:13- 15

The One who legitimately could claim all position, title, honor, glory and authority did not do so!  He looked into the eyes of men who would soon betray Him and called them His friends. When He did this He absolutely, totally and for all time destroyed all possibility of any hierarchy representing His kingdom. Pyramids are for dead people!

Before the throne is a sea of glass! There are no mountains or valleys on a sea.  Every valley has been exalted and every mountain has been brought low.  We are all brothers and sisters before the throne!  This is why there are forty “one another” commands in the New Testament!  The highest is friendship!

In every hierarchy, the people below are always subordinates.  Hierarchical leaders may use the language of friendship but it is code for command and control.  Pyramids are built by slaves.  In every hierarchy the people above you are your bosses.  You may practice submission but often the true motivation is to take their place.  You may use the language of friendship, honor and respect but success is rising through the ranks.  Those above you and beside you are your competition.

Jesus commands us not to lead as the Gentiles who exercised power over their subjects.  We are to exercise leadership the way Jesus did.  The goal of His leadership was to share all His heart and to lay His life down for His friends (John 15:15).  You really only lay your life down for friends.  If your goal is climbing the ladder you will never have friends- you will only ever have people that you use.

Eugene Peterson’s translation of I Corinthians 10:14 is confronting, “So, my very dear friends, when you see people reducing God to something they can use or control, get out of their company as fast as you can.”

The goal of discipleship is to create friends- to model relationships of equals that will model the relationships of Father, Word and Holy Spirit.  The goal is relationships in which our world can see the love, mutual honor, trust and service within the Godhead.

The example of Jesus as narrated in John 16 is even more startling!

“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” John 16:7

The disciples could not imagine a worse event than Jesus going away!  Jesus, the best leader that ever walked on earth, is telling them it is better for them that He goes away!  And we think we are important, indispensable even?  Who do we think we are?  Jesus knew it would be better for the disciples to have the inward leading of the Holy Spirit than even His flesh and blood leadership!  Jesus wanted His friends to know the same inward fire that He knew.

Our job is to take away every obstacle which would keep our friends from knowing the inner leading of the Holy Spirit and the practical, personal Lordship of Jesus over their lives and our collective life.   Often we are the biggest obstacle!  The goal of discipleship is a friend who completely trusts the Holy Spirit within him to guide him into all truth.

So much human leadership is focused upon developing people who are dependent upon us, who defer to us, wait upon us, honor us and support us.

Creating dependence is creating our own kingdom.

It is treason against the King of Kings.

Jesus was willing to trust all upon the ability of the Holy Spirit to lead men into Truth.  Are we?  That is why Jesus said he HAD to go!  That is why he instructed his disciples to make disciples and then go to the next village and find the next man of peace.  They were not to create dependence upon themselves. They were not to stay to become kings.  They were to introduce friends to the King of Kings and then leave them to His care.