OceanSide church of Christ
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I WANT TO BE LIKE JESUS
Victor M. Eskew
“I want to be like Jesus.” This should be the desire of every faithful Christian. The desire expressed by these words is noble. The thought of the words fills one with a sense of zeal. If such could really be done, one knows that he would be well-pleasing to the Father.
Let’s add just a little bit of substance to the words: “I want to be like Jesus.” What does a statement like this really involve? First, it means that one’s life is yielded completely to God. Several times in John’s gospel we read about this element of Jesus’ life. “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34). In John 5:19, He said: “…Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son of man can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” John 6:38 continues this same theme of Jesus’ life. “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” Jesus was committed to doing the Father’s will. When God’s will came into conflict with His will, He always did the Father’s will. Total commitment. Total surrender. Total subjugation. These words describe the Jesus of the Bible. When we say: “I want to be like Jesus,” we must be of this mindset.
Second, when one says: “I want to be like Jesus,” he means that he wants to be a winner of lost souls. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). These words were spoken at the house of Zacchaeus, one who was chief among the publicans. Zacchaeus was a man despised by the Jews. Most tax-collectors of the day were greedy thieves. They worked for the government of Rome and made themselves rich at the expense of the tax-payers. Jesus saw a lost soul when he saw Zacchaeus. His concern and compassion for the lost caused him to enter into this man’s house. His presence and teaching humbled the heart of this sinner. “And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him This day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham” (Luke 19:8-9).
This was not the only man whose life was touched by Jesus. Jesus taught the multitudes. He taught harlots, publicans, and sinners (Luke 15:1). He spoke to a ruler of the Jews (John 3) and a woman of Samaria (John 4). He used every moment possible to convert the lost. His mission was to seek and to save. When we say: “I want to be like Jesus,” we, too, must have this mindset. We must be looking for opportunities to teach. We must speak to the undesirables of society. We must not fear rejection and condemnation. To be like Jesus, we must make a bold, fervent effort to seek and save the lost.
Third, to be like Jesus we must diligently fight the battle against sin. In Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus was engaged in major conflict with the prince of this world. Satan used every avenue of temptation to get the Son of God to err. He appealed to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Jesus, however, did not yield. He resisted the mighty adversary. Three times Jesus responded to Satan’s enticements with the words: “It is written.”
Our Lord was tempted again in a severe way during the hours prior to the crucifixion. Individuals lied about Him. They cursed Him. They beat upon Him. They condemned Him knowing He was innocent. In all of this, Jesus sinned not. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow in his steps: who did not sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (I Pet. 2:21-23).
If we are going to be like Jesus, we must be overcomers. We cannot let sin prevail over us. Satan will tempt us with all he has. To be like Jesus, we must respond with obedience to the revealed will of God. We must resist him with every fiber of our being. James has promised that if we will resist the devil, he will flee from us. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Brethren, we cannot justify our sins and be like Jesus. We cannot persist in them and be Christ-like. We must conquer sin. Then we can say: “I am like Jesus in this area.”
Fourth, to be like Jesus we are going to have to make attendance of the worship services our custom. The Old Law commanded every Jew to keep the Sabbath (Exo. 20:8). The Sabbath came every seventh day of the week. To keep the Sabbath, one had to do so 52 times each year. Jesus did not violate this commandment. Luke 4:16 describes Jesus as a regular participant in the services conducted in the synagogue on the Sabbath day. “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read” (emp., mine, vme).
If Jesus were living under the New Covenant, He would be faithful in His attendance of the Sunday services. He would not forsake the assembling of the saints together for worship (Heb. 10:25). He would make Sunday attendance His custom. He would never have to be begged to worship God. If one is going to be like Jesus, the same practice must be true in his life. His custom will be to worship God. He will always attend the assembly of the saints.
Fifth, if one is going to be like Jesus, he is going to have to fill the role of a servant. In John 13:4-5, the Son of man rose from supper, “…and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.” Dirty, sweaty, nasty feet need to be cleaned. None of the twelve had taken the initiative. Jesus grasped the opportunity. Foot by foot, he ministered to His disciples.
To be like Jesus, we must do as Jesus did. “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you” (John 13:14-15). Jesus was not trying to teach literal foot-washing. He was teaching servanthood. He was teaching us that we must be willing to do the lowly, dirty, and thankless tasks that need to be done. We must do these things if we are going to be like Jesus.
“I want to be just like Jesus.” These are words that are easily spoken. To accomplish the task, however, involves surrender, obedience, self-denial, and a willingness to serve. Perhaps this is why we hear the words more than we see them practiced. Dear readers, the desire to be like Jesus is noble. Let’s make up our minds to turn the desire into a reality. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (I John 2:6).