Striving To Become Like Jesus
One of the key assumptions of this post is that God wants us to become like Him and the following scriptures support this position very well :
He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:6)
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. (1 John 3:2)
Jesus came to earth to save us all from eternal separation from God[i]. He did so by sacrificing His own life as atonement[ii] for our sins. In addition, He came to tell us the truth from the Father[iii]. How the Father has so much love and compassion for us that He sent His own Son[iv] to heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead and preach the gospel. If we are to have any part in Jesus then we should do the things that He did on this earth.
To some this must seem to be a bit of a stretch because we are intimately aware of our sinful nature. Yet, God directs us to seek the perfection that is in Him. God asks us to emulate his Son, the perfect model. It is against this perfect model of Jesus that all of our actions are compared and our defects uncovered. And, it is by looking at the model of Jesus that we find our way to salvation. In fact what we will find is that we are called to do greater works than Jesus did when He walked the earth. In the following scripture, we find that since Jesus is going to the Father that He is leaving things in our hands, with the expectation that we will continue in His work until He returns:
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. (John 14:12)
Jesus answered and said to them,
Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me. (Matthew 11:4-6)
Moreover, we are to go above and beyond this. We are to do things that are greater than walking on the water[v], feeding a multitude with a few fish and loaves[vi], raising the dead[vii], and being raised from the dead[viii]. All the same, if we believe in Jesus then He calls us to do what He did and even greater than He did[ix]. In the words of Jesus, we must look to Him, our Teacher, to be perfectly trained and then we can be like Him. In this example, we see that training has an impact on our ability to be like Jesus:
And He spoke a parable to them: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:39-40)
One of the objectives of this blog is to look at the life of Jesus like never before so that we can see the prefect model that the Father sent us. Jesus is the model of what we should strive to become. These passages further communicate God’s desire for us to become like Him. Now it is up to us to take action by moving toward this goal:
Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48)
I (Jesus) in them, and You (God) in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. (John 17:23)
Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,… (Hebrews 6:1)
[i] Matthew 25:32 – 41 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: ‘for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me. “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? ‘When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:
[ii] Acts 5:29 – 32 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
[iii] John 8:28 Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.
[iv] Romams 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
[v] Matthew 14:25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.
[vi] Matthew 15:32-39 So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel. Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way. Then His disciples said to Him, “Where could we get enough bread in the wilderness to fill such a great multitude?” Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven, and a few little fish.” So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude. So they all ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets full of the fragments that were left. Now those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. And He sent away the multitude, got into the boat, and came to the region of Magdala.
[vii] John 11:37 – 44 And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?” Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”
[viii] Luke 24: 3 – 7 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’
[ix] John 14: 12 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.