Leadership After the Cross

By Sosamma Samuel-Burnett, J.D.
Founder & President, G.L.O.B.A.L Justice

Easter has come and gone, or so it may seem. While Easter is a tremendous weekend of church services, family gatherings, and holiday traditions, the significance of Easter really doesn’t fit in the package of 3 days of festivities. The significance of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection continues far beyond the days, months, and year after Easter Sunday. But most of us tend to put the importance of Easter in the same box as the plastic Easter eggs – shelving it until next year. But especially for Christian leaders, Easter must be outside that box, in our hearts and minds, reverberating throughout the year. We must daily consider those days of Easter for what they represent in every day of our lives and our leadership.

Consider Good Friday – the darkest day in history, when our Christ was crucified. A sinless, perfect man, and a loving God, but still forced to suffer and die for our sins – and at the hands of the leaders of the day. This is a day of conviction – no one is blameless.

Consider Saturday – a day of despair, when the followers of Jesus, who had trusted his leadership and divinity, now had to wrestle with the reality that He was gone — not trusting that He would return.

Consider Sunday – the greatest day of celebration, when Jesus resurrected himself from the dead, demonstrating ultimate and eternal victory over sin for all. There has been no greater miracle before or since.

If we consider each day of Easter weekend, we realize that we are daily living and reliving those moments in our walk and in our world. There are many who are caught in a continual cycle of Good Friday – needing Jesus to die for our sins. What makes Good Friday “good” after all is not his death but that he did so in our stead. In doing so, he redeemed us. Realizing the significance of His sacrifice for us, allows us daily to understand how the challenges, abuses, and violence of the world has already been overcome. This reality does not make those challenges, abuses, and violence any less significant, just as Jesus’ suffering is no less significant. But we have hope in what He finished.

Consider Good Friday...
Consider Silent Saturday...
Consider Easter Sunday...

Many others are enmeshed in the despair of a perpetual Saturday — caught between the confusion of what happened on Friday and the disbelief of what will happen on Sunday. In many ways, society today is functioning as if we are always in this Saturday. Our world is struggling, sad, without a compass because of how much is lost in our world and how difficult it is to comprehend that. Without the belief of the victory of Sunday, this Saturday society has made the conclusion of hopelessness — the result of not having faith in a resurrected Christ.

But we are not actually living in the conviction of Good Friday or the despair of the following Saturday, we are in Sunday. It arrived. He overcame. No matter what the circumstances, we have hope just as Jesus’ followers did on the day they saw the resurrected Christ. If we as Christian leaders fully understood the power and significance of Easter Sunday – the day that Christ defeated death, then we would approach our leadership with fresh perspective and renewed energy. Christ freeing us from sin means that we have principled power to be salt and light to the world. We have capacity to lead with confident humility and virtuous strength. We have true hope to share with the world. It is that principled power, confident humility, virtuous strength, and true hope that is the mark of a Christian and especially of a Christian leader. These are our rights, roles, and responsibilities to the world.

So Easter for Christian leaders is so much more than attending church services, and doing the family gatherings and traditions of that weekend. It is about claiming our rights, roles, and responsibilities to leadership after the cross.