As Jesus’ disciples, we are called to WALK like Jesus, THINK like Jesus, ACT like Jesus…in other words we are called to BE like Jesus. It is clear in Scripture that our biblical mandate is to imitate Christ.
Here’s what Apostle Paul said about our call to be like Jesus…
- Romans 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.
- 1 Corinthians 11:1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
- Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.
I know what you’re thinking, “There is no way I can be like Jesus…He was God and I’m not!” It is true, Jesus was fully God and He was also fully human. What makes the thought of imitating Jesus even harder is the fact that many Christians view Jesus as a super hero with super powers. They imagine Jesus to be kind of like Clark Kent…He appeared to be human but He was really super-human.
The problem with this line of thinking is that it is poor theology. Jesus was fully human NOT superhuman. And that is a critical distinction because if Jesus was superhuman it would be impossible to imitate Him. If Jesus was superhuman then His sinless life would not be able to redeem us.
But if Jesus was not super-human, how could He be “fully God” and “fully man” at the same time? How could He maintain His divine nature while living in a human body?
Paul gives us a glimpse into how Jesus can operate both as fully God and fully human In Philippians 2. These verses describe what theologians call THE KENOSIS OF JESUS.
Philippians 2:5-8 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Jesus was NEVER less than God yet He chose to live His life NEVER more than man.Tweet
In other words, Jesus was NEVER less than God yet He chose to live His life NEVER more than man! Jesus chose to temporarily restrict the full expression of His deity in order that His humanity could find full expression. He veiled His deity but did not void his deity.
What are the practical implications of all of this? What does this mean for us? It means that everything that was available for Jesus to do what He did is available for us to walk as He walked! The beauty of Christ’s life is that He modeled how to live life in total dependence upon the Father. Jesus showed us how to live as God intended us to live…fully dependent, fully obedient, & fully reliant upon the Spirit of God, the Word of God, & prayer.
Everything that was available for Jesus to do what He did is available for us to walk as He walked!Tweet
Jesus was fully dependent on The Spirit of God
Every aspect of Jesus’ life was surrendered to the Holy Spirit. The Gospels tell us that Jesus was: conceived by the Spirit (Luke 1:35), anointed by the Spirit (Luke 4:18), filled with Spirit (Luke 4:1), sealed by the Spirit (John 6:27), rejoiced in the Spirit (Luke 10:21), and performed miracles by Spirit (Matt 12:28). If Jesus, in all His greatness, refused to live His life without the constant help of the Holy Spirit, why do we ever attempt to live our lives by our own strength?
Jesus was fully obedient to The Word of God
The Word of God was central to Jesus’ life and ministry. On over 90 occasions Jesus quoted the Old Testament scriptures, referring to 70 different passages. Jesus knew the Scriptures and He studied the Scriptures. Jesus was completely obedient to the Word of God and only did what the Father told Him to do. He quoted Scripture and used them in everyday situations in His life: from resisting temptation, teaching in the synagogues, and rebuking the religious leaders of His day.
Jesus was fully reliant on The Power of God through prayer
Jesus began His ministry with prayer and He ended His ministry with prayer! More than 40 times in the Gospel it says that “Jesus withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Prayer was the source of His strength to resist temptation, prayer was how He aligned His life with the Father’s desires and prayer was how He communed with God and prayer was how He obeyed what His Father told Him.
So, what does it mean to BE LIKE JESUS? It means to be fully dependent on the Spirit of God, fully obedient to the Word of God, and fully reliant on the Power of God through prayer.