1 Corinthians 11 Lesson

Imitating Jesus

IMITATING JESUS

Paul makes this statement to the Corinthians.  In doing so, he displays confidence that his behaviors and values mirror those of Jesus.  Is that a statement that we are prepared to make?  Most of us would admit that we are still a work in progress.  However, if our behavior is not currently worthy of being imitated, it does give us something to strive for. 

Think about the people that God has brought into your life, especially those Christians whose character and behavior were something that you hoped to someday achieve.  What was it about these spiritual mentors that led us to want to learn from them?  Hopefully, the answer is that we saw Christlike characteristics in their teachings and behaviors.   

CHARACTERISTICS OF JESUS

Jesus is the Savior of the world and our perfect example! If we are looking for an example to follow, we do not need to look any further than Jesus. Throughout the Bible, we read about Jesus’ love and compassion. Here are five characteristics of Jesus that we can imitate as we strive to be more like Jesus:

  1. Jesus forgave others. As Jesus was being crucified, He uttered the following words, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” -Luke 23:34. When Jesus was asked how often we should forgive a brother who sins, He was asked if that brother should be forgiven as many as seven times. Jesus responded, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” – Mathew 18:22. Our Savior taught us through His words and actions that we are to forgive others,
  2. Jesus promotes peace and is referred to as the “Prince of Peace.” - Isaiah 9:6,
  3. Jesus taught others. There are many examples of Jesus teaching. Often, we see Jesus perform a miracle, crowds would gather, and Jesus would teach them. One of the most powerful examples of Jesus the teacher is found in the Book of Mathew as Jesus delivers His Sermon on the Mount. “When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them.” - Mathew 5:1,
  4. Jesus was selfless. He came to earth, not to be served, but to serve others. Jesus said, “Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” - Mathew 20:26-28,
  5. Jesus was obedient. As the hour of His crucifixion approached, Jesus prayed to His Father, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” – Mathew 26:39. As Jesus was both human and Deity, He was not looking forward to the torture that He experienced on the cross. And yet, during the most challenging time of His life, when He was abandoned and left alone to die on the cross, He was obedient to His Father’s commands, “Not as I will, but as You will.” If we want to imitate Jesus, we need to remain obedient during the difficult times in our lives.

CHASING PERFECTION   

Jesus was and is our perfect example. And although we can never be perfect, as He was, we need to try. The character is in the trying!

Have you ever wondered why Jesus asks us to be perfect, and then the Bible tells us we all are going to fall short?

  • “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Mathew 5:48,

  • “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 3:23-24.

The answer is that if we strive for perfection, we just might catch excellence.  While none of us will ever be perfect like God, it is something that we can strive for. 

The following five verses talk about perfection:

  1. “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:12,
  2. “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” - 1 Peter 5:10,
  3. “For by one offering, He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” - Hebrews 10:14,
  4. “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecterof faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” - Hebrews 12:2,
  5. “He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just.  A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.” - Deuteronomy 32:4.

We are not perfect, yet we can become perfected through God’s grace and Jesus’ redeeming blood.

CONCLUSION

As Christians, we are to imitate the characteristics and behaviors of Jesus. And while we will never be perfect as Jesus was, we have a responsibility to try. The character is in the trying.

God wants us to live a life where others see God working in us and want to emulate the behaviors that we demonstrate.  Jesus talked about this as recorded in the Gospel of Mathew: Mathew 5:16 says:

  • “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” – Mathew 5:16.

We will conclude today’s lesson with the following scripture:

  • “For you have been called for this purpose, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you would follow in His steps.” -  1 Peter 2:21.

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Comments

Dan W.

Though we are not perfect (as in sinless) we are to be blameless. If we claim to be without sin we deceive ourselves (1 John 1.8), yet being blameless is a qualification for a bishop/elder (1 Tim. 3:1,7 and Titus 1:6). Great post, Brother!

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What other characteristics of Jesus do you try to imitate?

Reply
Dan W.

Though we are not perfect (as in sinless) we are to be blameless. If we claim to be without sin we deceive ourselves (1 John 1.8), yet being blameless is a qualification for a bishop/elder (1 Tim. 3:1,7 and Titus 1:6). Great post, Brother!

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