” I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” -Jesus- (John 13:15)
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” -Paul- (1 Corinthians 11:1)
The main reason Jesus came to us in human flesh, was to be the Lamb of God, and die to pay for the sins of us all, but He had another purpose for being here. Jesus came to teach us how we should live, by what He did and what He said. He was the example for us all.
What He Did
Baptism was the first example He set for us. He did not need to be baptised, as He was the only sinless man on the Earth. He received the baptism as an example for us, and a symbol of our “dying” with Him (submersion) and being “raised” (resurface) to new life in Him. (Mt. 3:13-17, Mk.1:9-11, Lk. 3:21-22)
Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights, when he was lead into the wilderness to be tempted (Mt. 4:2, Lk. 4:2). Fasting often goes along with praying, and Jesus prayed often, whether He was fasting or not (Mt. 26:36, Mk. 1:35, 14:32, Lk. 22:40-41, Jn. 17).
During His time in the wilderness, Jesus battled the temptations of Satan by using the Word of God (Mt. 4:3-11, Mk. 1:12-13, Lk. 4:3-13). Nothing is more powerful than the Word of God, as Hebrews 4:12 states, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”, and Jesus knows it well, which is why we would do well to know God’s word, too.
Jesus’ main message to the people, was, “Repent and live.” (Mt. 4:17, Mk. 1:14), the same message of John the Baptist. To “repent” is to confess our sin and turn away from it, forsaking it, and living in such a way that is holy and honorable to God. Jesus also travelled around from town to town, preaching His gospel (good news) to all who would listen (Mt.9:35, Mk. 6:6b).
Jesus associated with people, that the religious leaders of that day, condemned as sinners, the lowest of the low. He countered the religious leader’s objections by telling them that He came to save the lost, and gave the example of the sick, not the healthy, needing a doctor (Mt. 9:11-12, Mk. 2:17, Lk. 5:31). He often rebuked the religious leaders, the Pharisees and Saducees (Mt. 15:1-9, 23:, Mk. 7:6-13, Lk. 11:39-52), and He warned His followers to beware of their teachings. Even today, we find “false teachers” posing as religious leaders, that we should be able to recognize and discern their teachings with what the Bible teaches.
Something else Jesus did often, as an example of what we should do, is give God thanks for the meals we eat. Before feeding the 5000 (and later the 4000), Jesus broke the bread they had, and gave thanks to God the Father (Mt. 14:19, 15:36, Mk. 6:41, 8:6-7, Lk. 9:16, Jn. 6:11). The result was a miracle in which the bread and fish were multiplied and all the people ate until they were full.
Jesus performed communion, as a way to help us remember the sacrifice He made on the cross. Communion is “symbolic” of His body being broken, and His blood being spilled; poured out for many for the forgiveness of sin (Mt. 26:26-28, Mk. 14:22-24, Lk. 22:19-20).
Finally, one of the most important thing Jesus modeled was, servanthood. He taught us to consider others more highly than ourselves, and to be humble in the presence of others. When Jesus washed the feet of His disciples (Mt. 20:26-28, Mk. 8:35, Jn. 13:1-17), it was a great example of humility and service to others. I kind of understand this as a way we are to take care of the needs of others, and let others take care of our needs. The world would be a better place if we followed this example.
Jesus also performed many miracles. He turned water into wine; He cast demons out of many; He healed the sick and diseased, helped the blind to see, the lame to walk, and raised the dead to life; He walked on water, and rebuked the fury of the weather, all to show that He was God, the promised Messiah. His compassion for a lost and dying world, was given to all, who would accept it.
What He Said
Jesus preached about many things, that showed us how we should live. He expanded on the Commandments, and showed how they pertain to the condition of our hearts (the seat of our emotions). The entire “sermon on the mount” (Mt. 5:, 6:, and 7:), was a “how to” on life in general. He also taught on how we should treat others, spoke in parables on what the Kingdom of Heaven is like, gave us a glimpse of the events to come when He returns to reclaim His chosen people, and He gave the commission for His disciples when He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Mt. 28:18-20).
Jesus was the prime example on how God wants us to live. May we follow Him faithfully.
Written By: Varlen McIlvanie