Jesus Example of Leadership

John 13:13 (ESV) … “You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.”


The world is looking for leaders who would be creative and who would set themselves as models for others to follow. Normally, the world thinks of a leader as an important figure who efficiently asserts his/her authority to subdue others.


John’s Gospel, which was written at a time when there were competing claims for religious leadership, challenges such worldly understanding of leadership and portrays Jesus as a unique and exemplary leader, who, by an act of foot-washing, demonstrated that the true leadership authority lies in enduring love for others, in humility and service. By offering himself to die on the cross for human salvation, Jesus has become the source of life and the cleansing agent for those who yield themselves to him so that they might be aptly equipped to fulfil their mission in the world productively and with servant attitude. Since he has set himself as an example of love, humility, simplicity and service, and enables his followers to reflect these leadership qualities in the world, Jesus, whom John portrays, is the distinct example of leadership for us today.[1]


It is imperative for human beings to become clean by Jesus’ words and Spirit and allow him to cleanse them continuously by his blood shed on the cross. Only by yielding oneself fully to the dealings of Jesus can one be united with him in love and fellowship. If anything, it is the servant attitude which is the common bond and the unifying factor between Jesus and his followers. By narrating the story of foot-washing, John calls the people of his time to believe in a suffering messiah whose death and resurrection provide the ground and source for effective leadership. Any leadership that is not rooted in the death and resurrection of Jesus will lead to self-glory, insecurity, and authoritarianism. Without union with the servant-leader, Christians today can hardly prove themselves to be typical leaders.[2]





[1] Kanagaraj, J. J. (2004). Johannine Jesus, The Supreme Example of Leadership: An inquiry into John 13:1–20. Themelios, 29(3), 15.

[2] IBID. Themelios, 29(3), 26.

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