5 Ways Jesus Was a Hospitable Leader at The Last Supper
The Last Supper isn't usually the focus of lessons on leadership. But it should be. And here's why:
In this setting, Jesus showed exactly how effective he was as a leader. He illustrated a prime example of why people felt so at home with him – and why, consequently, they were so willing to follow him on his mission to seek and save the lost and forever change the world.
So what did he do?
Jesus intentionally created a space that was physically, spiritually, emotionally, attitudinally and communicatively hospitable. Let's walk through examples of each type.
The Last Supper was physically hospitable.
Jesus paid special attention to the physical space in which his leadership activities happened. Prior to the supper, he sent Peter and John to get the space ready for a passover feast. Luke says he told them which house to go to and what room to use. He wanted them to make sure it was furnished properly. They had to find and roast a lamb and secure enough wine for the dinner. This wasn't a quick deal. Jesus was very specific about the physical environment, and he trusted Peter and John to prepare it properly.
The Last Supper was spiritually hospitable.
Jesus created a warm spiritual environment that flowed from who he was in relationship to the Father. John tells us that Jesus knew he came from the Father, had authority from the Father, and would eventually go back to the Father. The fact that he was at home with the Father created a spiritual climate that allowed everyone in the room to also feel at home.
The Last Supper was emotionally hospitable.
John says that Jesus showed "the full extent of his love" at The Last Supper. That's such an important fact about this event because it's a key principle to being a hospitable leader. These types of leaders make sure no one ever wonders whether or not they're loved by that leader. If we want to warm hearts, we have to figure out appropriate ways to convey love in the teams and organizations we lead.
The Last Supper was attitudinally hospitable.
One of the most memorable events of The Last Supper happened because Jesus had the attitude of a servant. He wrapped himself in a towel and began washing his disciples' feet. So Jesus postured himself as a servant who met the needs of his followers. He wasn't some dictator or authoritarian leader. He was a servant leader. Paul tells us we should take on this same mindset – to humble ourselves because Jesus, sent by God, became a human and lived among those he created. Leaders who are smart are always thinking about how to best serve their followers.
The Last Supper was communicatively hospitable.
This wasn't just a dinner – it was a dinner that set the stage for a leadership talk for the ages. During their short meal together, Jesus made a new covenant agreement, cast a vision for his disciples' future, engaged in extreme team building, prayed passionately for his followers, and revealed some of the inner workings of his Father's business. He told the twelve that he was going to hold them accountable. He chose them because he believed they would produce fruit, and he would make sure they eventually did just that.
Now, it's important to note – and it should be apparent enough from the scripture – that The Last Supper wasn't about the food and the wine. Jesus had a lot he wanted to accomplish that day, and the supper was his means of doing so.
Jesus knew that only people who are at home can cause others to experience home. He intentionally created an environment to make his disciples feel welcome and comfortable because he knew what they were about to hear would eventually change the world. He was on a divinely important mission, and he used very humanly important things – like food and drink – to help accomplish that mission.
There's so much to learn here from Jesus, and I hope you'll put some of his powerful leadership techniques into use with your team or organization. Be intentional about creating environments where people feel welcome and hearts feel warmed – because people who have warm hearts are much easier to lead to accomplish the good and beautiful.