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.
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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
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)
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
All rights reserved.
Copyright 2002 Steven R.