By Mackey W. Harden
Alexander the Great; Napoleon Bonaparte; George Washington; Abraham Lincoln; Winston Churchill; Douglas McArthur; Dwight David Eisenhower; they all had something in common – they were all great leaders. The annals of World History are replete with these and more; men who possessed outstanding qualities as leaders. When we who are Americans reflect on the history of our great country, we are proud and feel so privileged in having had men as Founding Fathers who were indeed great and notable leaders. Had it not been for men of this stature we might not be the greatest country in the world, enjoying the freedoms we now have. We are certainly privileged above all people in the world.
Those of us who are citizens of an even greater kingdom, the kingdom of Christ, are privileged to have even a more notable Leader, Jesus Christ. While the aforementioned men were great leaders in regard to certain portions of American and World History, they do not begin to compare to the great leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ. He left the resplendent glories of heaven and came down to this earth; He went to the cross and died there so mankind might be redeemed from the power of the Devil and released from the bondage of sin. Jesus, our Great Leader, says, “Follow me” (cf. Mt. 4:17-22; 9:9; Jn. 1:37, 43, etc.).
There is a word in the Greek language that is used in reference to our great Leader, Jesus Christ. This word, archegos, connotes leadership, and is employed in the New Testament no less than four times. Through our study of this word in Scripture, those of us who are Christians should rejoice in that we have such a great Leader to follow, Jesus the Son of God.
Prince Of Life
The book of Acts records two of the four occasions where the word archegos is found (3:15; 5:31). The first eleven verses of Acts chapter 3, relate the story of Peter and John performing a miracle on the man who was lame from birth. As this trio entered the temple, the people were amazed at what had transpired. Peter took advantage of their interest, preaching them a sermon about Jesus whom they had crucified, by whom this very miracle was made possible. “But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you,- and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead, whereof we are witnesses” (Acts 3:14-15). The word “prince” in verse 15 is from the Greek archegos. Thayer’s Lexicon says this: “leading, furnishing the first cause or occasion . . . . 1. the chief leader, prince: of Christ, Acts V. 31. ” How privileged we are – Christ is the Chief Leader of life, of eternal life! Peter said just a short time later, “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:30-31).
Captain Of Our Salvation
The Hebrew writer said: “But-we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Heb. 2:9-10). Christ is the “captain” of our salvation, and thankful indeed we should be for such a wonderful Leader! W.E. Vine defines the word captain in verse 10: “archegos, primarily signifies one who takes a lead in or provides the first occasion of, anything …. the word suggests a combination of the meaning of leader with that from whence a thing proceeds.” Christ is the captain of our salvation, being made such because of His completeness, brought about through His suffering and death. “. . . And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow . . . . And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:8-11; cf. also Heb. 5:8-9).
Author And Finisher Of The Faith
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1-2). The word “author” found in verse 2 comes from the Greek archegos, which has already been defined to denote leading. The verse states that Jesus is “the author and finisher of our faith.” The word “our” has been supplied by the translators. The context, and other versions, indicate that Jesus is the author and finisher of the faith – the system of faith (cf. Acts 6:7; 13:8; Gal. 1:23; 3:23; Jude 3). The word “finisher” is also of vital importance. From the Greek teleites it is defined by Robert Milligan in his commentary on Hebrews: “it means a completer, perfecter, finisher; one who brings any scheme or enterprise to its full and perfect consummation. ” What a blessed privilege is ours in having such a leader and perfecter of the faith as Jesus Christ!
King Of Kings, Lord Of Lords
The temporal kingdoms of the world will no doubt continue to be led by great leaders, as in centuries gone by, but none can compare to the greatest Leader of all times, Jesus the Christ. He is “King of kings, and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16; 17:14). How privileged Christians are to be followers of the Prince of life, the Captain of our salvation, and the Author and Finisher of the faith. Paul told Timothy how to conduct himself “unto the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.- which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords . . . . to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen” (cf. 1 Tim. 6:12-16).
Guardian of Truth XXVII: 20, pp. 632-633
October 20, 1983