They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. Mark 10, verse 32.
I like books about warriors, and one of my favorite war authors is Richard Marcinko. Years ago, he wrote a book called “Rogue Warrior;” it’s an autobiographical book about his work in the Navy SEALs. One of the maxims about which he wrote was “lead from the front.” It’s good military advice; it’s good advice overall. You don’t lead a group by giving orders and standing in the back of the pack: you go to the front of the pack and demonstrate. You don’t shy away from challenges or combat: you fight from the center, where the fighting is thickest. In doing so, you inspire, you motivate and you lead.
Now, Jesus is no Special Forces warrior but He could have taught Marcinko a thing or two about leading from the front because it’s what He did every day of His ministry. In verse 32, Jesus is in front of the group, leading. Keep in mind that it wasn’t just Jesus and the Apostles: it was a larger group, a Galilean gaggle of followers who had come to find out that there really was something about this rabbi who offered new teaching. They had seen Jesus and the rich man; they had heard His words of power and authority.
And they were afraid. They weren’t a rioting group of rabble but they were afraid. They were afraid of being caught. They were afraid of what could happen if they had to come up against the very entrenched Jews at the Temple. Truth being told, they were also probably afraid of the things Jesus taught. Yes, the crowds who flocked to Jesus’ sermons were awe-struck by the love in His words and the power those words conveyed. I’m betting they were afraid of both that power and of actually having to live up to the things Jesus was talking about.
Through it, Jesus led from the front. He didn’t hide when things got hairy: He jumped in and led. Jesus calmed their fears and led them where they needed to go. He’s still doing it today. Richard Marcinko might just agree.
We can do the same. Over the weekend, my wife and I went to see “War Room,” the new movie about prayer warriors. It’s a Jesus-Richard Marcinko kind of thing in a unique way. In the movie, a struggling wife and mom is trying to hold her family together in an all-too-typical situation where they are being pulled apart. She is taught to lead from the front by fighting the enemy – the devil – through prayer. The story teaches that prayer is an active battle plan, that it is our way to involve God in our daily battles and our real struggles by getting right in the middle of the fighting and praying for God’s intercession with whatever we’re praying over. Very lead from the front.
And it’s very much the way Jesus designed things. In our daily lives, He constantly counsels us to count on Him through prayer and through actively confronting our problems. He leads us from the front, facing our problems and strengthening us to face them down and defeat the devil who is the real cause of them.
Lord Jesus, teach me to lead from the front as You do.
Read Mark 10, verses 35-45.