Vol.XIX No.X Pg.5
December 1982

Will We Follow Jesus ?

Robert F. Turner

Activities of modern saint or sinner are to be imitative of Christ in whatever areas the teaching of his apostles bound those activities upon those saints and sinners they addressed. The Apostle Paul wrote: "The things which ye both learned and received and heard and saw in me, these things do: and the God of peace shall be with you" (Phil. 4:9). He also said, "Be ye imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1). It is clear from these texts, plus his statement that "in us ye might learn not to go beyond the things which are written" (1 Cor. 4:6), that apostolic practice and teaching constituted the sole standard for the governance of all saint's words and deeds, whether expressed individually or jointly.

Limited only by Moses' law which He kept perfectly, or by a uniqueness of deity, every act of Jesus is the divine standard for human conduct. (His miracles showed divine power.) In His Great Commission Jesus told his apostles to teach the persons baptized to observe all things he had commanded them to teach). He did not tell them to observe all things he had observed or do all he had done, or teach others to do so. He did not tell his apostles to bind on those they taught everything he taught prior to his death, e.g., keeping the Law of Moses while it was yet God's will. The redemptive death of Jesus was peculiar to deity, "once for all" enacted "when he offered up himself" (Heb. 7:26-28). Let us notice some exemplary actions of Jesus our Lord.

1. Jesus suffered for us. Christ taught his disciples to expect persecutions and evil speaking, yet to rejoice in suffering for his sake. Much later Peter told believers that their "fiery trial" was "proving" them. He called them "partakers of Christ's sufferings" and told them to rejoice in them (Mt. 5:10-12; 1 Pet. 4:12-19). Saints are to "follow in His steps" of patience, being without guile, sin, retaliation or threatening and wholly committed to God's will (1 Pet. 2:19-).

2. Jesus repelled the tempter by using God's word and prayer. We must take "the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God" and "with all prayer and supplication" we shall be victorious (Mt. 4:1-11; Eph. 6:17,18).

3. Jesus forgave sinners seeking his mercy. Both his example and the saint's admonition are seen in Paul's words "forgiving each other, if any man have a complaint against any; even as the Lord forgave you, so also do ye" (Col. 3:13).

4. Jesus exemplified compassion. Eight times the same verb form occurs to express this emotion prior to his acts of mercy. Christian's hearts are to show tender mercies and compassions" toward persons needing them (Phil. 2:1; Col. 3:12).

5. Jesus exemplified humility. By washing his disciples' feet he showed his willingness to serve others (Jn. 13:3-15). He rebuked selfish ambition and pride (Mt. 20:20-28; 11:28-30). Paul pointed believers to Jesus' example of humility in "becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross" (Phil. 2:5-8). — James R. Cope