What It Means To Be Like Jesus
By
 Rev. Steve Ridenour
For Him Ministries

 

  Jesus tells us that those who follow Him will become like Him.  What does it mean to "be like Jesus" in the complex times of today's world?  To try and explain how we can be more like Jesus, we are going to examine what Matthew says about being Christ like.

  To be like Jesus means to accept our heritage.  Jesus' heritage was multiethnic and included several questionable individuals.  This is found in the first 17 verses of the opening chapter in the Book of Matthew.  Jesus is the international Christ, the savior of the whole world.  His heritage reached beyond the Jews and included several ethnic groups that occupied the Middle East during the Old Testament history.  But Jesus never denied His ancestry or allowed others to shame Him.  To be like Jesus we need to accept and understand where we came from, and we want to be sure that we don't criticize anyone else's ancestry.  (Matthew 1:1-17)

  To be like Jesus means to engage the world's pain.  Jesus' entry into human life was fraught with awkward tensions and human dilemmas.  Jesus was born out of a miraculous, but nevertheless embarrassing conception.  His earthly father was considering a quiet divorce.  An outraged king who resorted to infanticide ruled the country.  Jesus spent His early childhood in a strange culture, and later returned to a homeland that remained hostile and dangerous.  Just like Jesus we are born into difficult times and situations.  To be like Jesus we need to face up to the difficulties of the world and remain in it despite all of its troubles. (Matthew 1:18-2:23)

  To be like Jesus means to commit ourselves to other believers.  John the Baptist was not an average person.  He was born an unexpected child.  He lived not in the city, but in the wilderness (the other side of the tracks for that day).  He dressed differently and ate peculiar food.  Yet John the Baptist helped to launch Jesus' career.  In return, Jesus had nothing but praise and great things to say about him.  In order to be like Jesus we must not be so picky about choosing our Christian friends.  We should embrace other Christians and show our unity in Christ. (Matthew 3:1-17)

  To be like Jesus means to admit our vulnerability to temptation.  We must admit that temptation is very real.  Just as temptation is real so is the possibility of overcoming temptation.  We need to be honest about our struggles so that we can give honor to God, and recognize the very power of sin. (Matthew 4:1-11)

  To be like Jesus means to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ.  Jesus lived a perfect life, but even that by it self could not stand alone as an undeniable witness.  His perfect lifestyle needed translation, so he supplemented His good deeds with good news.  We Christians need to verbally state our faith if we want to be like Jesus.  We need to walk the talk.  We need to back up what we say by living a Christian, Christ like, lifestyle. (Matthew 4:12-25)

  To be like Jesus means to change our thinking and behavior.  Jesus explained to us, at the Sermon on the Mount, the values of the kingdom.  Money, prayer, relationships, possessions, information, and power were a few of the categories He redefined from God's perspective.  Jesus showed us that following Him would mean a radical change for most of us.  It will probably mean rethinking traditional sources of wisdom from our parents and culture.  To become like Jesus involves a tough-minded review of our values and a thorough change in our behavior. (Matthew 5:1-7:27)

  To be like Jesus means to serve others.  Now this one seems to be difficult for many of my Christian brothers and sisters, because I see so little of it and so much condemnation for it.  Jesus actively served more that 25 different people, which included undesirables such as lepers, and officer of the Roman army, the sick, the demon possessed, cave dwellers, tax collectors, and a diseased, outcast woman.  If we want to be like Jesus, we need to go out to the weak, to the oppressed, and the unsaved.  Just like Jesus we must become a friend to the sinners. (Matthew 8:1-9:38)

  To be like Jesus means to affirm other leaders.  Jesus spent much of His time developing others, especially the twelve disciples.  He gave each of them responsibility and authority, resisting the temptation to do it Himself in order to get the job done right.  By doing this He also accepted the risk that they might fail.  Before sending them out Jesus made sure that they had adequate preparation and when they returned he upholds them on the successful completion of their mission.  Jesus teaches us to help others to grow.  If we are to be like Jesus we will share the joys and risks of working together with our brothers and sisters. (Matthew 10:1-42)

  To the first century followers of Jesus, to be like Christ, included the prospect of persecution and martyrdom.  I think the same holds true in today's times, but no matter how much we are persecuted, criticized, or condemned we must continue in our walk to be like Jesus.  Jesus Christ should be number one in anything and everything we do in our lives.  Jesus said it best when he said in Matthew 10:38, "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me".

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996.
Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189.  
All rights reserved.

 Copyright 2002 Steven R. Ridenour