We often look to leaders to model for us the life we ought to be living (Hebrews 13.17a). Whilst this is a sound and Scriptural thing to do, we also ought to remember that they are fallen and fallible people just like us:
“When morning came, the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink anything until they had killed Paul. There were more than forty of them who formed this conspiracy. They went to the chief priests and the elders and said, “We have bound ourselves with a solemn oath not to partake of anything until we have killed Paul. So now you and the council request the commanding officer to bring him down to you, as if you were going to determine his case by conducting a more thorough inquiry. We are ready to kill him before he comes near this place.”
(Acts 23.12-15, NET)
A roaming group of Jewish assassins known to target Roman soldiers ¹ seem to want Paul out of the picture. Their zeal to cleanse the community of perceived threats is totally misplaced and they bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink anything until they had killed Paul.
Then, perhaps even more disturbing than the plot itself, is where they turn for approval and affirmation. The group of more than forty turn to the chief priests and elders and ask them to lie about wanting a meeting with Paul. Seemingly happy to go along with the lie to have Paul out of the picture, the leaders let themselves, their people, and the Lord down. Instead of being men of integrity and truth, the leaders here become those willing to compromise truth to maintain their own status quo.
Yes, we are encouraged in Scripture to model the lives of our leaders (1 Corinthians 11.1) but let’s make sure that they are lives worth imitating. Ultimately, a leader worth following is one who leads us closer to Christ:
“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”
¹ – EnduringWord