Hebrews 13:17 says, ‘Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith.’
The author of Hebrews echoes Paul’s leadership approach when he says in
1 Cor 11:1, “follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.’
When Jesus walked the earth, following Jesus was a physical as well as spiritual endeavor. To follow him literally meant to go along with him, so it was as tangible as could be. When Jesus ascended and the Holy Spirit’s dwelling came down, following God was less tangible and became about following an invisible, present God through the leading of His Spirit. I believe Paul and the Hebrews author recognized the challenge of following an invisible God and encouraged Christian leaders to be a tangible example of someone who follows Jesus with authenticity and hunger. This would then give people a more concrete example of what following Jesus actually looks like.
Paul shows us an incredible example of a Christian leader, not because of perfection, or ‘super spiritual behavior’ but because he so heavily depended on Christ.
The Hebrews author recognizes the power that comes from the word of God being taught. A good leader will provide a good example of following which is not a perfect example, or a hyper spiritual example, but a concrete reality of what following Jesus looks like