As Jesus walked with the disciples to Caesarea (Mark 8:27), he asked Peter, “Who do people say I am?”
Peter’s response revealed what the people thought: John the Baptist, Elijah, or another prophet. They could only think of Jesus from their experience with the prophets they knew or had been taught about. Peter had spent enough time with Jesus to experience him as the One the prophets foretold, the Messiah.
You and I experience Christ in the same way, through what we learn and what we read. Are you willing to think of him differently, because you know him and have spent time with him?
During your weekly study, your devotions, and your Sunday worship you focus on Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior, or the Lord of your life.
During the work week, who do you say he is? Are you conscious of his presence at work?
Have you ever thought about what type of business leader Jesus Christ would be?
If Fast Company or Inc. wrote an article about him, what words would they use to describe him?
Would you model your leadership model or business practices on who he is? Do you call on him as an adviser?
In many Bible translations, Isaiah 9:6 declares, “He (Jesus) will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Some translations include a comma to begin the verse as “Wonderful, Counselor.” In the same verse, the NET Bible translation replaces Wonderful Counselor with “extraordinary strategist,” a term referring to Christ’s role as King, and a king’s ability to devise a military strategy. (Isaiah 9:6)
A counselor can be an advisor or a strategist— one who offers wise guidance for both current circumstances and future planning.
A wise strategist, as Stephen Covey stated, “Begins with the end in mind.”
Based on the prophecies of his birth and who the Bible reveals him to be, let’s look at Jesus with phrases borrowed from the culture in which we live.
Jesus is a challenger:
Scripture is full of leaders who challenge culture and the status quo, from the prophets who called Israel and her kings to obedience, to the Apostles who continued to call out the nation of Israel and eventually the Gentiles.
- Even before his birth, the prophets foretold that Jesus would not only disrupt the leadership structures of both the Jewish and Gentile world but by his very nature, call you to change who you follow and how you lead.
- Through the teachings of the Apostle Paul, Jesus challenges you to “live worthy”— of the Good News, in your conduct (i.e. behavior), in your thoughts (and the way in which you think), and of your calling.
Jesus is a catalyst:
A catalyst is a person who comes before a change, yet remains unaffected by the result. Jesus’ death was the catalyst that broke sin’s hold over your life (Remember how the veil in the temple, symbolizing the separation between God and man, was torn in two?). His resurrection power fuels the change that transforms your life.
- His words inspire others not only to follow but to devotion—laying down their lives for his cause and purpose of reconciliation.
- His life—selfless and sacrificial— inspires us to live as he lives, and love as he loves.
- Jesus remains unchanged—alive, ever-present as he delights in every detail of your life.
Jesus is a change agent:
Throughout scripture, you are admonished to change the way you think and the way you behave. Romans 12:1-2 is the key verse in the Bible that makes clear that changed thinking leads to changed behavior.
- By declaring himself “the way, the truth, and the life,” he immediately transforms how you and I can have a relationship with God.
- Once again through the Apostle Paul, Jesus calls you to “let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
- Jesus wants you to change the way you measure yourself: not by the world’s standards, but according to Romans 12:3, by the faith God gives you.
Jesus has an end in mind — for you to conform to his image, not an image that culture wants to force you into or whom you perceive yourself to be.
Perhaps the greatest change he calls you to is to think as he thinks and rely less on how you feel. The culture in which you live wants you to feel good about yourself. Jesus wants you to think honestly about yourself. Don’t believe the lies the world will tell you and don’t make up things to believe because they make you feel good.
Jesus is a changemaker:
- Not only did he found the longest sustained movement in history, he is also the movement.
- Jesus knows that when individuals change to be more like him, it’s the beginning of community and culture change. Changemakers solve problems and create impact
- Changemakers believe in ideals and ideas, and work to bring people and communities together to increase the influence of those ideas.
Consider organizations such as Qara or Pinnacle Forum (a national network of influential leaders executing their God-given purpose to foster a flourishing, God-honoring culture). These organizations foster communities of like-minded individuals who seek to redeem and transform culture.
The trouble with trying to understand Jesus in these ways is that he is so much more than a challenger, catalyst, change agent, or change maker. Perhaps you have a mentor or strategic adviser in your life who has one of these qualities and will invest in you (and if you don’t, seek one out). Jesus is the only one has all of these qualities, who cares deeply about you and your future, and who has invested everything: his life for yours so that you might live worthy.
Jesus is God, and he was a man. He disrupted the way in which we think of an all-powerful God by entering history as a child and becoming like us. He broke taboos when as a Jew, spoke to a Samaritan woman, alone. He is our Lord and our King, and yet we can become his brothers and sisters when we are adopted into his family. Such a mystery!
Jesus wants to be familiar to us, yet reminds us to approach him with the wonder of his mystery. We can think of him as our wonderful counselor or an extraordinary strategist.
The end he ultimately has in mind? To bring glory to himself. Along the way, he wants to transform your life and reconcile the world to himself.
Are you willing to be a challenger, catalyst, or changemaker? Will you seek and follow his wise counsel?