|Volume 24 Number 7 July 2022
We Shall Be Like Him
The apostle John, in his first epistle to his fellow Christians, wrote, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 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 3:1-2 NKJV). What a glorious thought it is that when Christ comes back, He will raise our mortal bodies in the likeness of His glorious body. Compare what the apostle Paul also wrote. “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:20-21). However, if we want to be like Jesus in Heaven, we should first try to become like Him on earth. Note that the apostle Peter taught, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).
What do we learn from Christ?
The first thing we learn from Christ is that He was obedient to the Father in Heaven in all things. The Bible says, “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5:8-9). Before He began His ministry, the record says, “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?’ But Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed Him” (Matthew 3:13-15). Jesus knew that Psalm 119:172 says, “My tongue shall speak of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness.” When He was to die on the cross as the propitiation for the sins of the world, Jesus went into the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed saying, “…O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39).
Secondly, Jesus was a very humble man. Speaking of Him, the Bible says, “Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:6-8). Most times He referred to Himself as “the Son of Man.” On one occasion a man called Him, “Good Teacher” (Mark 10:17). “So Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God’” (Mark 10:18). Was Jesus good? Of course, He was. On earth He was God in the flesh (John 1:1, 14). He was not denying that He was Divine, but Jesus’ response teaches us how humble our Lord was on earth, and it helps us to understand the passage in Philippians 2:6-8 which says, in part, “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself” (8). He refused to accept a title that so rightfully belonged to Him. How sad it is that many today who claim to be His servants call themselves by such titles as reverend, pastor or doctor (Matthew 23:9-12).
Thirdly, Jesus was always ready to forgive those who had wronged Him. He was praying from the cross for those who had mercilessly beaten Him and were crucifying Him, saying, “…Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). When the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman before Christ, saying that they had caught her in a sinful act, about which Moses had commanded that such a person should be stoned to death, and they were ready to put her to death, Jesus said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (John 8:7). Of course, none did, and all left the woman. Jesus asked the woman, “…Where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” (John 8:10). “She said, ‘no one Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more’” (John 8:11). The point is that sinful men were condemning a sinful woman, but Jesus who never sinned (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:21) forgave the sinful woman! To His followers He taught, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15; cf., Mark 11:25-26). If we want to be like Jesus, we should learn to forgive others (Colossians 3:13).
Fourthly, we observe that Jesus was a man of prayer. Prayer had a special place in the life of Christ. We find Him praying right after His baptism (Luke 3:21). He prayed before choosing His apostles (Luke 6:12-13). When He multiplied the food to feed more than five thousand, He prayed (John 6:11). At the tomb of Lazarus, before raising him, He prayed (John 11:41-42). Before He was betrayed and crucified, He was praying (Matthew 26:36-44). Finally, again, when He was dying on the cross, Jesus prayed (Luke 23:46). Like Christ, we ought to learn to pray often.
Fifthly, as a man, Jesus was tempted, as we all are, to do wrong, but He never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). He resisted every temptation with the Word of God, saying, “It is written.” Right after His baptism, the Spirit took Jesus Christ into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil, as we read in Mathew 4 and in Luke 4. There, He was without food for forty days, and when He became hungry, the Devil tempted Him by saying, “…‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’ But He answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’’” (Matthew 4:3-4). Jesus used the words, “It is written,” again and again, each time Satan tried to tempt Him. This should be the template or the standard for every follower of Christ when temptation comes.
Sixthly, Jesus was uncompromising. He stood for the truth and never changed His stance. An example of this is found in John 6. There, Jesus was teaching those who had become His disciples. Yet, many of them were offended at His teaching; they did not like what He was teaching and responded to Him, “…This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” (John 6:60). The Bible says, “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more” (John 6:66). Jesus did not stop them from going; He let them go. He did not change His words. The same uncompromising principle is true even today. Jesus taught, “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved…” (Mark 16:16), but many who believe in Him and claim to be His followers, even preachers of His Gospel, do not want to accept this teaching of Christ. Jesus is not going to change His words, but instead He warned, “He who rejects Me, and does not receive my words, has that which judges him – the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).
Seventhly, Jesus was a man of courage. He never hesitated to speak the truth. Wherever He found people not walking according to God’s truth, He told them plainly that they were wrong. When He observed people were not worshipping according to God’s teaching, He told them straightly. “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’” (Matthew 15:7-9). In John 2, we read that Jesus made a whip of cords to drive away all those who were making God’s temple in Jerusalem a house of merchandise, by putting up all kinds of businesses around the house of God. Evidently, Jesus was upset; He was angered while observing that people were changing the nature of God’s house. He told them, “…Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” (John 2:16). To be like Jesus, we must have the same attitude today for His church, which is the house of God (1 Timothy 3:15; Philippians 2:5). We should be courageous enough to speak out boldly against any introduction of unscriptural doctrines or practices in the church.
If we want to be like Jesus in Heaven, we should first try to become like Him on earth. Note that the apostle Peter taught, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).