Recognizing Jesus as Savior and Leader
Today’s Bible reading is Leviticus 20 and Acts 5.
In Acts 5, Peter and the apostles boldly stand before the Jewish authorities who had strictly charged them not to teach in the name of Jesus. In response, the apostles unashamedly declare, “We must obey God rather than men” (5:29). Why?
“The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins…” (5:30-31)
LEADER and SAVIOR. Jesus has been exalted at the right hand of God as Savior and Leader. Think about that for a moment. Lots of us want a Savior, but how many of us want a Leader?
When we envision a “Savior” we probably think of someone who can get us out of the mess we’ve made, someone who can help us put the past in the rearview mirror, and maybe even help us avoid the consequences of our actions.
But a “Leader”? A Leader expects to be followed. A Leader will call us to turn away from the messes of our own making and point us in new directions. Leaders challenge us to do better. Leaders hold us accountable.
Saviors can conveniently be studied as history and left in the past. Leaders demand attention in the present because of their potential to reshape our future. The apostles made it clear in Acts 5 that Jesus has been exalted as Savior and Leader. As Savior, he has graciously extended the opportunity to be forgiven of past sins. As Leader, he is presently calling us to repent, to take up our crosses today, and follow him in the future (Luke 9:23).
God has done the exalting. Jesus has done the sacrificing. I can’t approach the gospel as a buffet, eagerly choosing an ample side of salvation from my past while somehow declining to recognize Jesus’ rightful role as the Lord of my life.
Savior and Leader. The truth is, I need both. So do you. Let’s praise Jesus as our Savior and follow him today as Lord and Leader.