Be a Leader Under the Authority of King Jesus

By Mark D. Roberts

July 25, 2023

Scripture — Isaiah 32:1-2 (NRSV)

See, a king will reign in righteousness,
    and princes will rule with justice.
Each will be like a hiding place from the wind,
    a covert from the tempest,
like streams of water in a dry place,
    like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.


If we want to be effective and godly leaders, then we will exercise our leadership under the authority of Jesus, the king who reigns in true righteousness. We will take our cues from Jesus, imitating his example and embodying his values.


The opening chapters of Isaiah repeatedly reveal God’s judgment. Not only the chosen people of Israel but also the pagan nations are condemned for their wickedness. Yet, every now and then, a glimmer of hope shines through the darkness. Isaiah 32:1-2 is such a ray of light. It foresees a time when a righteous king will rule. Under the ultimate authority of this king will be rulers who “rule with justice,” that is, who protect their people rather than exploit them. These leaders provide a context in which their people can flourish rather than be stunted by violence and fear.

Isaiah’s vision surely includes the messianic kingdom over which Christ rules with justice, righteousness, and peace. It captures an element of our hope for the future, when human authority will be rightly exercised under the sovereignty of Almighty God for the flourishing of the world.

Yet, this vision of leadership can inspire us even today as we wait for God’s future. We are leaders in one context or another, if not several. We are bosses or managers or entrepreneurs or parents or volunteer coordinators or deacons or elders or Sunday School teachers or teachers or civic officials or artists or filmmakers . . . . Our leadership in all of these settings will be blessed if we first submit to Jesus, our righteous king. Taking our orders from him and imitating his example, we will seek the best for those who are, as my colleague Scott Cormode observes, “entrusted to our care.” Rather than dominating them, we will strive to lift them up. When they are threatened, we will protect them “like a hiding place from the wind” (Isaiah 32:2). When they are discouraged, we will help them to hope. We will do these things and so many more in the humble attitude and under the authority of Jesus, the king who reigns in righteousness.


Have you submitted your life to the King of Kings?

If so, what difference does this make in how you live?

Do you see your leadership as part of your submission to the Lord?

Would those who are entrusted to your care think of you as a shelter and refuge? Why or why not?


As you reflect on the leadership of Jesus, choose to do something today in imitation of him.


Gracious God, King of kings and Lord of lords, what a privilege it is to serve you! How blessed I am to submit my life to you, to seek your glory in all that I do.

I recognize, Lord, that you have called me into positions of leadership. You have entrusted people to my care. May my leadership be founded on the rock of my submission to you. May I seek to imitate you in all that I do as a leader. Help me, Lord, to learn to be shelter and refuge for those whom I lead, so that they might flourish in their service to you. May I never seek to lord it over them. Teach me how to be their servant even as I am their leader. Amen.

Banner image by William Krause on Unsplash.

Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Servant Leadership.

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Mark D. Roberts

Senior Strategist

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders,...

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