Jesus: The “Model” for the Christian

Jesus in a suitBeside the fact that Jesus is the Lord and the Savior, I think many people who claim to be Christian forget that he is also the Model! Let me show you what I’m talking about! How many times (I’ve lost count!) have you heard someone who is supposedly a Christian say something like this: “Nobody’s perfect! The only perfect person who ever lived was Jesus!” They usually say this as an excuse for a failure or a mistake. Or they may something like this: “That was Jesus, but I’m just human!” The point of their excuses is that they don’t think they should be expected to live like Jesus! But isn’t that the whole point of being a Christian; to live like Jesus? By the way, although Jesus was and is the Son of God, he lived his life on earth as the Son of Man! Whatever Jesus did on earth, he did it as a man fully indwelt and controlled by the Holy Spirit. He did not use any of his divine prerogatives! In other words, whatever Jesus did on earth during his earthly ministry, we have the potential to do also! In fact, Jesus said in John 14:12, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whosoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” (ESV) The primary goal of Christianity is not a ticket to Heaven or a pass from Hell; it is to be like Jesus!

Luke wrote an interesting point in his introduction to the Acts of the Apostles. Luke wrote: “In the first book (a reference to the Gospel of Luke), O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach. . .” (Acts 1:1 ESV) Do you see that? He didn’t say that his first work was about all that Jesus did and taught, he said it was about all that Jesus “began” to do and teach! The implication is that although the atoning work of Jesus was finished at Calvary and with his resurrection, there are certain aspects of the ministry and work of Jesus that were NOT completed! The work goes on! All that Jesus began to do and teach is to be continued by those who live in his name; by those who wear the name: Christian!

Just as Jesus did not live for himself, but was totally consumed and occupied with the will of his Father, so should the life of the Christian be today! The life of the Christian is a life lived in the name of Jesus! The Apostle Paul put it this way: “To live is Christ!” In the Greek text, there is no verb. Paul literally said: “To live, Christ!” The terms “live” and “Christ” stand in apposition to each other. For Paul and for the true Christian; life equals Christ! Therefore, everything we do and everything we say should be in the name of Jesus. The Christian life is a life in which Jesus lives through the life of the Christian. Just as the Father did His work through Jesus; Jesus does his work through the Christian. Therefore the life of the Christian does not belong to the Christian to do as he or she pleases, but rather to do the will of Christ! That is why the first requirement of following Jesus is that a person deny (that is say “no” to) their self! (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23)

So, what should the “Christian” be doing today? They should be continuing all the things that Jesus began to do and teach while he was on earth! The life of the Christian is not just about preaching and teaching the Gospel, it also involves getting involved with people to make their lives better!  It is also about providing a physical and practical demonstration of the power of the Gospel! If every person in the United States who claims to be Christian would actually “be Christian,” many of the moral and social evils that are present in our society would be gone in a matter of years, perhaps even months or weeks! The ministry of Jesus was about relieving the suffering of people in addition to helping them establish a relationship with the Heavenly Father. He didn’t do one or the other; he did both! He preached to the multitude AND he fed the multitude! He preached the Kingdom of God AND he demonstrated the power and validity of the kingdom by casting out demons and healing the sick! Jesus was concern about and ministered to the whole person; mind, body and soul! Therefore, if we are to be truly Christian; we are to be models of him! We are to continue to do what he started in his name! We are to be the visible, physical, and practical agents and representatives of the invisible spiritual God!

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