5 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. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
– Philippians 2:5-11 (ESV)
If we are to become like Jesus, we will have to start to do like Jesus.
That sounds simple enough. It sounds almost like a formula. Doing like Jesus = being like Jesus.
We can get wrapped up in a whole lot of theological theory or biblical-sounding babble that sounds good but does us no earthly (or, even eternal) good. In the end, talk remains just as cheap in Christendom as it did in any secular sense. At some point, we have to do more of Christianity than simply study about it and show up for church, Sunday school or prayer meeting.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
-Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)
We need to do Jesus by doing like Jesus. That’s not as simple as it sounds. Look at what Jesus went through, too.
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. – Hebrews 12:3 (ESV)
And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. – Mark 6:5 (NLT)
27 Again they entered Jerusalem. As Jesus was walking through the Temple area, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him. 28 They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right to do them?” – Mark 11:27-28 (NLT)
No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God. – John 5:44 (NLT)
2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? – Matthew 11:2-3 (KJV)
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
– John 6:66 (NIV)
For even his own brothers did not believe in him. – John 7:5 (NIV)
Jesus went through a lot. He went through a lot with many of the people who should have had His back. He withstood unbelief and doubt, even an outright walk-out by some of His own disciples. Even John the Baptist, in his last days in prison, sent two of his own disciples to find out if Jesus was really the Messiah or not. Jesus had to deal with all of that.
The question is whether we can do like Jesus and endure the abandonment of family and friends.
Can we withstand those who will walk out or walk away and never walk with us again? Can we endure the doubters and their disbelief?
Can we stand firm when we have to stand alone?
No, the Lord never forsakes us. He is with us, but we have to understand that the Lord’s work can become lonely work in human terms. We have to accept the fact that some folks just won’t stick with us or stick by us as we continue on a journey with Jesus.
If you aim to do like Jesus, just expect to be done like Jesus, too. Let us not forget that it was Jesus who humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. It was Jesus who took on the penalty of sin upon the cross for the sake of mankind’s salvation. If that’s how people treated the Anointed One who healed the sick and performed miracle upon miracle, how do you think they’ll do you?
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself. . .
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