For a Christian to want to be like Jesus is the most noble of desires. Those who love and serve him want to imitate him. All of us who march under his banner want to love like he did. We want to be righteous as he was. We want to be devoted to our heavenly Father as he was. The list of qualities that define his holy character is long.
The result we expect from living like Jesus, the best we can, is that we will be full of joy, know true peace in our hearts, and live above the cares of the world as we look for his appearing. I am sometimes amused and sometimes angry when on the rare occasion I watch a TV preacher. It seems that most of them teach that if you follow Jesus you will have no want, spiritually or financially, and live in good health. They didn’t get that from the Bible.
Being like Jesus will be painful. Hundreds of years before Jesus became a man the prophet Isaiah said of him.
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.(Isaiah 53:3)
Jesus knew the pain of rejection, experienced deep sorrow, and was acquainted with grief. Did you know that when you are rejected you are living like Jesus? Do you realize that when you are in your deepest sorrow that Jesus has been there too and knows how you hurt? And are you aware that in those times when grief has almost completely overwhelmed you that you are perhaps more like Jesus than at many other times?
Jesus was fully God but fully human too. Joy springs from our hearts when we talk about, and sing about Jesus calming the raging sea, giving sight to the blind, and forgiving the sins of many. We glory in his deity and we should. Oh, but he was just as human as we are.
Because Jesus was human there is no depth of loneliness, no sense of rejection, no storm without or within that he does not fully know and understand. There is an old song we sang in little mountain churches in the hills of North Carolina that says, “Jesus knows all about our troubles…” and “There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus”.
May we not only glory in Jesus’ deity but let us also glory in his humanity. But for his humanity his deity would be pointless. It was in a human body that he always did the will of his heavenly Father and in that human body, though tempted in every way we are, never once sinned. It was that righteous life, that lifetime of loving obedience, that Jesus offered when he willingly gave himself to die for us. It was in a body like yours that he was beaten, humiliated, was sorrowful, grieved, cried, and was rejected. Because he loved us so he gave his holy life by dying on a cross where he took the full measure of God’s wrath against sin, for you, for me.
It’s the greatest love story ever told. Because he lives, even death is not a threat. And you can know that in the middle of your deepest trouble (you will have trouble…) Jesus is with you and knows in the most intimate way possible what you are experiencing. You can rest in the truth that he has your best interests in mind and that in that awful pain you are being like him.
Have you lost someone you love? Did you just learn your child has a disability? Did your business fail? Did a loved one betray you? Jesus knows all about your troubles and he will lead you through them all into the sunlight of a better tomorrow. He has been where you are, he is with you now, he will never leave you, even in death, he is there.
So, when trouble comes, don’t try to run away, run to Jesus, you’ll find him right in your worst troubles and where he is you are safe and secure. In Jesus’ life of suffering and dying there came a resurrection morning. Because he lives you will have one too!