Was Jesus a Leader Before He Had Followers?

“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” In one of the most recognized Bible verses, Jesus very plainly begins recruiting His disciples. Immediately, Simon Peter and his brother Andrew stop what they are doing and follow Jesus. You may be tempted to think this is when Jesus became a leader since now He has followers, but you would be sadly mistaken. 

Leadership is not defined by followers. Leadership is essentially influence. If you are influencing others in any way, you are in fact leading them. If you are impacting their thoughts, words or deeds, you are a leader. 

If you take some time to observe people in any situation, you will quickly see position and title have very little to do with who is really in charge. When Jesus walked the earth, most people viewed Him as a Jew from Nazareth, a rebel-rousing peasant from Galilee. Yet to His disciples and thousands of Jews and Gentiles alike, He was the Promised One, the Son of God, their Messiah. Now consider Pontius Pilate. He was given authority as the region’s prefect by the most powerful empire in the world at the time, yet he bowed to the influence of the masses demanding that Jesus be crucified even though He was found sinless. 

An infamous quote from Margaret Thatcher sums this point up well, “Being in power is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”

Regardless of title or position, you can identify the real leader in any situation by who is influencing who. Jesus garnered His influence by: 

  • Who He is – the Redeemer, the Messiah, the Son of God, the Word of God made flesh, our Lord and Teacher, our Savior 
  • Who He knows – God the Father, the Holy Spirit, everyone! 

Who are you? Who do you know? Answer these questions and you are well on your way to fulfilling your leadership potential.