“Do not . . . be called ‘leaders,’ for your Leader is one, the Christ.”—MATT. 23:9, 10.
Prior to his birth as a human, God’s Son apparently had the name Michael. In the book of Daniel, Michael is called “the prince of [Daniel’s] people,” Israel. (Dan. 10:21) The disciple Jude indicates that Michael was involved in the affairs of Israel long before Daniel’s day. After Moses’ death, Satan apparently intended to use the corpse to further his own interests in some way, possibly by inciting Israel to commit idolatry. Michael stepped in to prevent this. Jude relates: “When Michael the archangel had a difference with the Devil and was disputing about Moses’ body, he did not dare to bring a judgment against him in abusive terms, but said: ‘May Jehovah rebuke you.’” (Jude 9) A little later, before the siege of Jericho, it was doubtless Michael, the “prince of the army of Jehovah,” who appeared to Joshua to reassure him of divine backing. (Read Joshua 5:13-15.) When a demon prince tried to prevent an angel from delivering an important message to the prophet Daniel, the archangel Michael came to that angel’s assistance.—Dan. 10:5-7, 12-14.
From the beginning of his ministry on earth, Jesus proved himself to be “Messiah the Leader.” Within a few days, he began gathering disciples, and he performed his first miracle. (John 1:35–2:11) His disciples followed him as he traveled the length and breadth of the land, preaching the good news of the Kingdom. (Luke 8:1) He trained them in the preaching work and took the lead in preaching and teaching, setting a fine example. (Luke 9:1-6) Christian elders today do well to imitate him in this respect.
Jesus pointed to another aspect of his leadership by comparing himself to a loving shepherd. Oriental shepherds literally lead their flocks. In The Land and the Book, W. M. Thomson wrote: “The shepherd goes before, not merely to point out the way, but to see that it is practicable and safe. . . . With [his] staff he rules and guides the flock to their green pastures, and defends them from their enemies.” Showing that he is a true Shepherd and Leader, Jesus declared: “I am the fine shepherd; the fine shepherd surrenders his soul in behalf of the sheep. My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:11, 27) True to his word, Jesus died a sacrificial death in behalf of his sheep, but Jehovah “raised him up to be leader and Saviour.”—Acts 5:31, New Jerusalem Bible; Heb. 13:20.