We sing songs about it. We pray prayers about it. We talk about it a lot. It is the Christian motto: “be like Jesus”. But let’s think about this for a little bit. Do you, do we really want to be like Jesus? Do we really want to be exactly like him? After all it even says it in the bible. “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus lived” (1 John 2:6 NIV).
Let’s break this down a bit. The Life of Jesus.
Born of a virgin in a stable
Lived among the poor
40 day fast in the desert
Tempted by the devil himself
Associated as a drunkard and friend of sinners
Seems he was a wonderer
Had no place to lay his own head
Accused of many things but innocent
Few people loved him most people hated him
People always talked about him (both good and bad but mostly people wanting to kill him)
Mostly considered crazy (associated with beelzebub: Matthew 12:24)
Beaten and given 39 lashes (basically up to the point of death)
Ridiculed, cursed at, then crucified
Died at 33
Betrayed and desserted by his closest friends at his greatest time of need
Took the full wrath of the Almighty God upon him for the world.
One day he was their hero the next day he was their enemy
But wait what about the good stuff?
The ability to heal, cast out demons, and raise the dead
Defeat Satan once and for all
To speak with authority
To Love unconditionally
To empower people
To walk on water and calm the seas
To still be the most talked about name 2000 years later (both good and bad)
So… Do you still really want to be like Jesus? Do you really want to live like him?
When I look at the list, the bad seems to outweigh the good. But don’t get me wrong, the good is really awesome. But the bad, is really bad. And let’s look at my current life and where I was born. I was born in a hospital, I am not poor, and I have not fasted in the desert for 40 days. If I am honest I don’t want to be ridiculed, beaten, crucified, betrayed, and deserted at my greatest time of need. I definitely don’t want to experience the full wrath of God. I am very grateful Jesus took that for me. I am older than 33. I want people to like me. NO! I want people to love me. I don’t want any enemies. I don’t want people to talk bad about me or consider me crazy. I like having a place to call home and lay my head every night. I have not really faced any persecution at all.
Often when we think about being like Jesus we think about all the good stuff. After all who wouldn’t want that. But we leave out the bad, tough, and ugly stuff. Do we do that with God too? Do we only take the stuff we like about God and leave out the other stuff? I like the fact the God is Love. But, he also has wrath. And the wrath of THE ALMIGHTY GOD can be a bit scary.
So what am I getting at here?
I want to give Jesus my all. I really do. I want to follow him wherever he leads me. But, to be exactly like him? umm… When the rubber meets the road will I actually do it?
What about you? Will you?
Do we really want to be like Jesus? Let’s be careful as we throw those words around. Let’s really think about what we are saying and what we are praying. To be like Jesus is to deny ourselves and to never ever look back. There is a huge cost to follow Jesus.
“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”
Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”