Mark 10:42-45 “Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’”

     Even Jesus’ disciples wanted to be ‘big shots’.  James and John had just quietly approached Him asking if He would allow them to sit on this right and left when He entered His glory.  They weren’t listening.  He had just been telling them that the Son of Man was to be  killed by the religious establishment; “. . . they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.” (Mark 10:34)

     Matthew Henry tells us; “Worldly honour is a glittering thing, with which the eyes of Christ’s own disciples have many times been dazzled. Our care must be, that we may have wisdom and grace to know how to suffer with him; and we may trust him to provide what the degrees of our glory shall be. Christ shows them that dominion was generally abused in the world.”  Being human, we want what we want even if it rots our character. Jesus will only give us what we need because He loves us.

     This struggle over ‘glory’ can play out in a church as well.  Clergy being as human as anyone else are tempted by power and the ‘glory’ it brings.  When pastors begin to compare themselves to Moses and demand unquestioned obedience from their flock they start down the road of spiritual abuse.   Julie Anne, who left a church where she found the leadership abusive poses these questions; “Why do leaders not deal appropriately with alleged abuse? Why are leaders not held accountable? Why do corrupt leaders stay in their positions of authority, while others are removed? What is going on!!”   This sounds like a far cry from Jesus’ servant based leadership.

     The ’cause’  of this kind of abuse according to Julie Anne is; “The Moses Model. It is my opinion that this system provides fertile soil for malignant pastors to misuse authority without any real accountability. Those who question authority or report problems are often blamed and accused of being ‘the problem,’ and so the abuse continues.”  It seems that ‘Moses’ style leadership can transform a person into anything but the image of Christ;  ” . . . it leaves the pastor without any real accountability. He answers to no one but God. This is a dangerous place to be. It’s nice to be put on a pedestal, but it’s painful to slip off! Tragically, there have been many instances of moral failure that have devastated families, whole churches, and the pastors themselves.” (What about the ‘Moses Model’?)

     All too often well meaning (and not so well meaning) people will reach into the Old Testament for authority that no true Christian would claim.  It is true that Jesus fulfilled everything that the Law and the Prophets stood for;  “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17)  And, by that same statement, we must look to Jesus to see the True nature of that fulfillment, not the Old Testament.

     Julie Anne makes a good point about the Moses Model; “It is not the leadership model of the New Testament, but rather of the Old Testament, and only one small part of the Old Testament, at that. It was only for the 40-year period where the people were wandering in the desert. They never got too far under the system and only were under it for the 40 years because of their unbelief.”

     The Bible tells us that only two of the generation that left Egypt as adults entered the Promised Land. (Numbers 14:28-29) Even Moses because of a prideful mistake was not allowed to enter; “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them” (Numbers 20:12)  The ‘Moses’ model of leadership doesn’t have a very good ‘track’ record.  It leaves far too many behind and corrupts the leaders.  A modern day Moses is more prone to trust and exalt himself rather than God!

     Jesus had no use for the fake ‘Moses types’ of the religious establishment; “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them . . . ” (Matthew 23:2,3,4)  The Pharisees and teachers of the Law used the authority of the Old Testament to abuse and exploit people who were caught up in their control.  Jesus nailed these charlatans; “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (Matthew 23:33)

     Jesus shows us the true nature of Godly leadership in contrast to exploitative fakes; “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” (John 10:10,11)

    Praise the Lord!

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