Something that is often spoken of in the church, and sometimes outside the church, is the idea of being like Jesus. Christians claim they want to be like Jesus, and even non-Christians sometimes wish the church looked more like the person of Jesus. With an idea like this that gets thrown around so much, it would make sense to ask, “What does it mean to be like Jesus?”
Although this topic could probably extend much further than a blog post worth of content, I’ll try to boil it down to a few important points that stand out in my mind, specifically as it pertains to the way Jesus related to people:
1. Jesus met people’s physical needs.
I feel this is an important starting point because there it deals with the physical aspect of Jesus’ love for people. There are several examples of needs being met, but some quick examples are: feeding the hungry (John 6:12-13), healing (Matt. 14:40; 15:30), and even raising the dead (Mark 5:41-42; John 11:43-44). Jesus, in His great love, did amazing, and even miraculous, things for people. He truly cared about people in a way that every person should strive for in life.
If someone wants to be like Jesus, they have to love people in a way that causes them to meet the physical needs of others, sometimes even in a sacrificial way. Jesus didn’t stop with the physical, though. He used the physical to meet people’s spiritual needs, which brings us to the next point…
2. Jesus met people’s spiritual needs.
Another extension of Jesus’ love, He was concerned about people’s spiritual state, namely their need for a Savior, which was none other than Jesus.
One of the primary examples of this that comes to my mind is found in John 8. Jesus comes across the so-called “religious” rulers of the time with a woman they had caught in adultery. They were ready to stone the woman, but Jesus intervened, which ultimately saved the woman’s life. But He didn’t just stop there. He told her to “go and sin no more.” Then, he went on to tell everyone present of a great gift, an offer of eternal life. He never let the conversation stay on physical things by continually pointing the woman and her accusers to their spiritual need for a Savior.
3. Jesus loved people sacrificially.
This is probably one of the biggest things that sets Jesus apart from everyone else. In today’s “be all you can be” society, we tend to focus so much on ourselves that we aren’t willing to put others first, even if it comes at a cost to us.
Jesus sacrificed his time and energy by making himself available to people so he could meet their needs. He sacrificed people’s perception of him by talking to people that most people would avoid, like the sick, the needy, and even sinners.
Most of all, he sacrificed his own life. He gave up his position in heaven to come down to earth, live a perfect life, and die for our sins. It’s because of this great love that we are able to come into fellowship with God. When I think about sacrificial love like this, I find myself asking “Do I love someone enough that I’m willing to give up my own life for them?” For me, it’s a hard question, but it’s one worth asking in order to best model after Christ with my own life.
I think what this boils down to is that the modern day church doesn’t always look like Jesus. It’s one thing to say we want to be like Jesus, but it’s a lot different to actually do it. But I’m not one to say that it’s just the collective church as a whole, because I know I don’t always act like Jesus in my own life. It takes individuals within the church becoming more like Jesus to change the world’s perspective of the overall church. If we say we want to be like Jesus, though, we have to constantly strive to live life the way he did, and that comes first by coming to know him. And I don’t mean come to know him in a purely intellectual way, but come to know him personally as Lord and Savior, because we can only accomplish this life by having Jesus work through us.
If you want to know a little more on this topic, our church has a great page on what we mean when we say we’re all about Jesus.