Our scripture this week is John 10:1-10.
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them. Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Jesus teaches about leadership and the responsibility God places on those who are called as leaders. He indicates to the Pharisees they are not providing the guidance the people need and that God will hold them accountable for their failure. We must hear this teaching as well for we are all called to be leaders of the faith, sharing the Gospel with all the world.
Jesus speaks not just to those in high positions but to each of us, that our words and actions are guides for others. He warns that desiring to be in leadership for personal satisfaction or gain is not why God calls us, and those who misuse their position must answer for it. His leadership is much different, based on love and His connection to the Father, and proved by His sacrifice for us.
This kind of sacrificial, serving leadership is not the way most human rulers have governed, but it is the way Jesus teaches. We should not seek power to exercise it over others or improve our situation, but to give of ourselves for the good of others. That is what Jesus did and what He would have us do.
Loving Lord, we thank You for the gentle way You lead us to a deeper connection to God through Your love and teaching. Help us to be gentle in our exercise of authority, using it not to show our power but Yours, working for the greater good. Amen.