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Managing Personal Tension Is A Part of Leadership, A Marathon of Courage


Anyone who has ever served as a change agent, understands the need to manage personal tension. Even at times the outright chaos that precedes any lasting transformation.


Jesus exemplified this his entire life. Even when he was doing the most obvious of good, God honoring his life with miracles, the people who most professed a knowledge of God saw him as a threat.


Seldom did even the most religious, those long positioned to fulfill Law of Moses, ever offer relief. When it appeared so, most often it was layered with a well- cloaked manipulation. Thirty-three long years!


As I read through John, chapter 7 this morning, I better understood these words, "where I am, you cannot come."


The endurance of excruciating denial and the felt hatred for who he truly was, along with the known requirement that lay ahead, suffering the fate of all of religion's substitutional sacrifices before him, this final lamb managed the frail frame of humanity providentially assigned. He was the ultimate model of true leadership.


When he spoke of a place they could not come, at least not yet, he wasn't simply referring to an afterlife, nor the impending crucifixion.


He was also perhaps making a statement about an endurance that was beyond their present capacity.


Unbeknownst to them, how he navigated the territory of his calling would become most critical to those observing in the days ahead.


They hardly expected that his hands and feet would soon be nailed to a Roman cross. Afterall, he was the Messiah, the Christ! No mere mortal had ever done the things they had witnessed him do, and first hand!


No, like David, they saw him as a mighty warrior! He was their long awaited deliverer. At last, the King of Isreal had come!


I truly believe that even Judas thought so, his betrayal, simply a failed strategy. His best attempt to force the hand of Jesus, putting him in front of those he knew were prepared to deliver upon trumped up charges, and also having the political moxie to assure his death.


I think differently of Judas than most. "Just wait, you'll see!" I can hear his thoughts, "He'll show out, calling down a legion of angels!" His kiss in the garden, a sign to the soldiers, yet to him the beginning of all he had dreamed of!


That's certainly a different twist than offered later by the disciples, themselves still grieved by the betrayal of the one they had trusted as treasurer.


Judas' strategy failed, his 30 pieces soon thrown back at the feet of religious leaders, those who had so welcomed his ill-planned scheme.


Jesus had known for sometime the likelihood of such actions, even calling him friend as he delivered the original kiss of death!


Not only was Jesus able to go where few leaders are able, but he did it in a way that modeled the requirements if such behavior before those who would follow him, most being providentially prepared to risk the same death, all for the cause of love!


Gethsemane was their classroom, though some fell asleep in class! Not only would they later recall the agony of his prayers, and the memories of great sweatdrops of blood. Those memories would soon carry them through their early moments of grief and fear, but as well, provide their breakthrough as they tarried in the Upper Room.


Yes, that garden moment was their evidence of the empowerment of prayer. Surely they heard similar groaning reinforced as this fully human, son of God endured the agony that lay ahead. Nails piercing his hands and feet, brutal soldiers harashing, then the tormenting suffocation on a rough hewn Roman tree.


It was finished!


They soon understood the why behind his words, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” John 21:15


"Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you!" Yet, three times as the cock crowed! Devastating, yet because of the journey, the marathon of years, Peter recovered!


Now he too would endure much the same, so empowered by the influence of this man, Jesus, that he would years later request himself crucified upside down!


There was a time when this could have never occurred. Yet, leadership, influence and example made it possible for Peter to go where years before would have been improbable.


Some leaders are motivated by money, prestige, Jesus, the Lamb foreordained before the foundations of the earth, led out of love!


True leadership not only manages the personal tension present in moments of transformation, but with an enduring love for those being led. Love always affords remedy, modeling deep commitment, sufficient that it resurfaces in the darkest of moments, long after the leader has passed.


Now for over 2000 years, in this case!

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History doesn’t tell us what happened to Barabbas after Jesus Crucifixion

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