Becoming Like Jesus the “Way”
In our quest to become more like Jesus the Good Shepherd, we must also become the Good Shepherd to whom we are entrusted. We must take an ownership position by guiding them toward the green pastures of God. We must pray for them. We must always remember that the Good Shepherds’ love for His sheep is so great that He protected them with His own life.
In a previous posting we were introduced to the Altar of Burnt Offerings (look at the index found in the right hand column of this page.)
What we uncovered there is that this altar is prophetic of Jesus in several ways. We found that the Altar represented the cross of Jesus. We found that the blood of the slaughtered lamb was sprinkled on the Altar for the forgiveness of sins. This of course is prophetic of the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. Finally, the animals’ carcass would be burned on the Altar as a perfect sacrifice to God, and this of course is prophetic of Jesus’ passion that led to His death on the cross. In this way the Brazen Altar of the Tabernacle is perfectly prophetic of Jesus and His purpose of dying on the cross.
The sacrifice of Jesus gives us much to contemplate. If we are to follow in His footsteps then we must come to the understanding that sacrifices are required to help people. This often means giving up our own aspirations to ensure that others are loved, protected and looked after. In loving others we loose ourselves as we are no longer internally focused. In this regard we die to ourselves, but with the knowledge that we will gain a better life with God forever in the resurrection (as Jesus was also resurrected.) After all, this is exactly what Jesus did:
For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:24-26)
Jesus is the Good Shepherd because He chose to save us rather than saving Himself. Jesus did not run from death at our expense but rather gave up His life for us. His life was not taken from Him but rather He gave it freely. He did not defend Himself even though He was innocent of all transgression. The following passages support this position.
Jesus Knew His Fate
Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, that He said to His disciples, “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” (Matthew 26:1-2)
Jesus Shed His Blood
Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. (John 19:32-34)
Jesus Did Not Run
Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?” They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am He.” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground. Then He asked them again, “Whom are you seeking?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,” that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, “Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.” (John 18:3-9)
Jesus Did Not Defend Himself
Immediately, in the morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council; and they bound Jesus, led Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate. Then Pilate asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” He answered and said to him, “It is as you say.” And the chief priests accused Him of many things, but He answered nothing. Then Pilate asked Him again, saying, “Do You answer nothing? See how many things they testify against You!” But Jesus still answered nothing, so that Pilate marveled. (Mark 15:1-5)
In patterning our own lives after the life of Jesus, we find that there are many lessons to be gained by becoming like Jesus, “The Way.” First of all, Jesus was obedient to The Father in going to the cross. So, the sacrificing of our own way in obedience to the Father is something we should strive to achieve.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” (Matthew 16:24-27)
Second, we must strive to support the welfare and betterment of others.
For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. (Mark 9:41)
Third, we must be ready to resist the status quo that will seek to derail our quest to do the good work that God has shown us to do.
Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him. But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.” And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.” Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad. Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death. (John 11:45-53)