I want to begin the new year by reflecting on what it means to lead like Jesus. I invite you to consider what we can learn about leadership specifically from His death, burial and resurrection. This is the third post in a series; you can read the first post here.

Reflection #3 Like Jesus in His Burial

The passion and the resurrection are so monumental, we easily forget the three days between the two events. Though laying entombed seems passive and unimportant, there are important leadership lessons to be learned even in Jesus’ burial.

Between the death of Jesus and the resurrection of Jesus is His burial. Nothing seemingly happened, though below the surface of things He was at work. In the same way, when we follow Jesus in His death we enter into a nothingness. In the nothingness we are neither here nor there. We are not what we were in ourselves but we are not yet what we are going to be. We are in here until God breathes new life into us.

This middle place of burial, between death and resurrection, is vulnerable to temptation. Satan is aware that the pain of nothingness, of having no source and stability, is unsettling to us, and that we would often prefer the Egypt of self over the promised land of the Spirit to be finished wandering in the wilderness.

We overcome Satan’s temptation by developing the spiritual discipline of waiting on God. We are nothing until God makes us something, and God seems to be comfortable allowing us to sit in our nothingness for long seasons. Our impatience with God is often the last part of the self life to die. We want God to breath new life in us faster than He is willing. You can’t pray, fast, or read your Bible enough to arm-wrestle God onto your timeline. Baptizing your impatience with spirituality is still disobedience. We must learn another way: waiting on God.

Lamentations 3:24–27 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.

In this verse, Jeremiah shows us how to practice waiting on God:

  • “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him…”  Waiting involves trusting the goodness of God when we can’t see what He is doing and having hope in the face of disappointment.
  • “…to the one who seeks him…”  Waiting is about praying and asking and asking and seeking and continuing to process the journey with God. One of the lost spiritual arts in an age of instant gratification is pining after God. To pine for God is to seek Him, not find Him and continue seeking Him even though His absence hurts and is disappointing. Read Psalm 42:1–2 with that filter: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” 
  • “…it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord…”  Waiting involves acknowledging our inability to rescue ourselves. The itch to make God move faster subsides and quietness, trust, hope, and desperation for God takes its place.
  • “…It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.” Many never follow God into his death and burial. It is a shame, because they never qualify to lead like Jesus in His resurrection. If you are determined to lead like Jesus, then the sooner the better. Resurrection awaits!