Why You Don’t Want To Be Like Jesus
There was this old quote I read recently by a long-dead world reformer. He said – “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
I am sure you probably get what he was trying to say. But the funny thing is that he like most people have only talked about a little part of the problem.
So, what is the problem? The problem is not always that Christians are unlike Christ, it’s that most of us (including the guy I mentioned) don’t really know who Jesus is.
We pick a part of something Jesus said, make it the whole of who Jesus is and “voila” we have a Jesus that we can make into any world-view we like.
I came across a few things about the God-man Jesus that got me thinking more about who He is. And here goes
The Secret Jesus
The Bible only records two stories about Jesus before He started His evangelical work. The events when He was born and the events when He was twelve years old
The thing about these stories is that they don’t really show any earth-shaking event. In the story of His birth, He is more of a silent spectator in the unfolding events
His twelve-year-old temple story puts a bit more participation by Him. And his only part was to stay back and ask the big hats questions. But if we stop there we may probably miss out one of the most important parts of His thirty plus growing years
“Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:51-52
We see that He spent 30 years being a plain Galilean kid growing up, listening to people telling Him what to do and doing it. And funny thing is that He was becoming wiser and getting thumbs up from God and everyone else by doing just that
Where the Math Doesn’t Add Up
If we follow that train of thought, Jesus lived anonymously for 30 years so He could complete His mission in three and half years.
Can you believe this? Over 90% of Jesus life was lived in secret – where He didn’t preach a great sermon or do any miracle.
This puts a whole new perspective on effective living. What do you think He was doing throughout those 30 years? Well, if we go back to Luke, it would seem He was very busy doing the ordinary things of life.
This is probably why the folks from His hometown were surprised when He came home teaching and doing miracles –
Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” Matt 13:54-56
He obviously did not show any signs of having it in Him during the thirty growing years. This explains why they could not relate the Jesus in front of them with the Jesus growing up.
By the way, His family members were also on that boat – When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” Mark 3:21.
The Confusing Jesus.
Did you notice that Jesus did not pull His punches whenever He preached?
Most preachers try to dumb-down a message so that the audience would get the gist, He did the opposite. He complicated the talk He gave the audience and only made it simpler to understand (most of the time) for His disciples
The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. Matt 13:10-13.
This goes against the usual approach that we adopt – make it easier for the public and complicate it for the converted. I guess complicating it for the people was a way of “weeding out” the casual observer.
Some of the greatest sermons by Jesus were not made to His crowd of listeners, they were made to His disciples. For example, the famous sermon on the mount was made to his disciples and not an audience – Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said. Matt 5:1,2
The Private Jesus
Did you ever remember a time when someone said that crowds are a sign of doing it Jesus-way? Funny thing was this, so many times Jesus avoided the crowd. They would come and His approach could be any of these:
1 – Perform miracles to confirm His ministry (Matt 11:4-6).
2 – Drop His talk as parables to confuse them (Matt 13:10-13).
3 – Throw out harder punches to eliminate the uncommitted-at-heart (John 6:25-70)
4 – Avoid them altogether and hang out with only the disciples (Matt 5:1,2)
It seems that His concern was more with the few who truly believed in Him and not the crowd that felt they were getting what they wanted. For Him, crowds were not a sign of a fruitful ministry.
Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person. John 2:23-25
And You Must Be Jesus And More
Did you read the part where Jesus talked about doing what he did and doing more than He did?
I have always wondered what He meant by this. Does this mean I have to do more miracles than He did? Or teach more than He did?
Well, I’m still learning but I’d like to share a bit of what I understand when He talks about doing what He did and some more
1.Doing what He did
So, what did Jesus really do? Instead of coming up with something fancy, I think I’ll let Jesus say it exactly – I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. John 17:4.
Jesus brought glory to God by doing the job God wanted Him to do. We can talk about “The Job” another time, it’s not our chat for now. This is just doing what Jesus.
To do what Jesus did, we simply have to bring glory to God by doing whatever job we have in a way that makes God happy. So, we have to be husbands, friends, sons, worker and any other job you can add to the mix in a way that would make God happy. God should look at us and say “attaboy” or “attagirl”
2.Doing More Than He did
Jesus did some many things but there was one thing He avoided doing – He didn’t speak on His own behalf. If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true – John 5:31. Jesus would make reference to John the Baptist and God’s work & word through Him as testifiers John 5:32-39
But this is one thing that we can do and should do. We can give testimony about who Jesus is and what He represents. And you know it is when we do this that we really get people riled up. Everyone is ok with us doing a good deed now and again. They get all worked up when we testify about Jesus.
This was that even the Apostles found out – Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. Acts 5:29-33.
Why You Don’t Want To Be Like Jesus
Back to where we started this whole thing from.
We can only be like Christ if we know more about the personality of the God-man Jesus Christ. it’s about knowing how and why Jesus lived the way He lived. And we are meant to be like Jesus but do more than Jesus did.
And we almost sure to get into trouble when we do more than Jesus did because this means telling people that Jesus is the Son of God.
But this is part of the real deal – it’s what Christians do. And it’s why we sometimes don’t want to be like Jesus.
This is what we do.
We just have to do it in a God-honoring way.