“When Jesus came down from the mountainside…”

Matthew 8:1

Do you find it easy to slip into feeling competent as a leader? Things are going well and you are hitting your stride. You are enjoying accolades for good performance.

You find yourself feeling full. Satisfied. Even blessed. You are on top of the mountain!

But Jesus showed us that feeling blessed is only the first step.

What is your response to the blessings that you have been bestowed with?

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (Luke 12:48)

Jesus teaches us to come down from the mountain.

You can bet that Jesus felt extremely close to God while He was giving the Sermon on the Mount. He had literally climbed up closer to Heaven. He was up above the crowd. Divine wisdom flowed from His mouth and into the ears of people who were hungry for what He had to say.

He had to feel the crowd’s admiration. He had to feel God’s pleasure with His speech.

But, after providing the greatest moral discourse ever given, what did Jesus do? Did he hang around, soaking up the spiritual chemistry that God had created?

Let’s remember…

When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. (Matthew 8:1-3)

Now, in Jesus’ time, lepers were untouchables. Not only were they highly contagious (similar to Ebola victims today), but they were also considered to be spiritually broken.

There were certainly plenty of other people Jesus could have connected with as He walked through the crowd. People who were ripe and ready to draw closer to Him. People with resources to commit to His mission. People with social connections that could serve His movement. People that would feed His ego.

But Jesus didn’t pause to connect with those people. After giving the “keynote” of his life, He stopped just long enough to lift up the lowliest of the low.

Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28) 

At this time of year, I am grateful for feeling close to and blessed by God.

But I am especially grateful for knowing what to do with that blessing, thanks to Jesus’ vivid, perfect example of servant leadership.

And, as the only birthday present I know how to offer to Jesus, I’m actively considering…

…what lepers might I be overlooking?