A blog reader recently asked me that question. Jesus told his disciples to watch him and live as he lived. We are all to imitate Christ. So what does that mean? We are to wear first century clothes? Eat first century food? Likely not. Maybe it’s just about the spiritual and relational parts. We are to speak outside the temples and at the festivals? We are to seek out lepers?
The key in living like Jesus lived is not just imitating his exact words or actions, but living out the principles beneath them. Wherever in scripture we see Jesus doing something, we can ask ourselves what the underlying principles. He reached out to a leper and healed him. The principle there would be to associate ourselves with those society shuns or ignores, and to help them in whatever ways we can. Sometimes that’s physical, sometimes it’s spiritual. They—and we—are in need of spiritual renovation and transformation.
We follow a God who spoke to the Samaritan woman, called common fisherman to be his disciples, challenged the religious practices of the day. In each case, we need to discover the underlying principles and act accordingly. That is how Jesus wanted us to live.
How can you live like Jesus this week?
“He reached out to a leper and healed him.” Bob, you and I have had some discussions about the “lepers of our time.” I wonder what your readers think? Who are the lepers of our culture? Who are the untouchables whom Jesus would love, serve, and heal?
This question of living as Jesus lived is an ongoing one. I come from a tradition (Lutheran) that celebrates “real presence” as a part of our faith journey. It is the belief that we have been joined to the risen Jesus and that where we go he goes with us. This idea is embedded in the sacraments of the church but is something that is actually the essence of the life of faith. The Apostle Paul talked in more than one place about “the mind of Christ” and Martin Luther talked about receiving instruction from Christ who is our companioin and guide for life. Luther said that “Christ teaches so gently that he entices rather than commands.” Living as Jesus lived is now moved to the present tense – we live as Jesus lives (here and now). This means that living as Jesus lives involves both principles (which are important) and also alertness to seeing what God is up to and listening for Christ’s voice to guide us in the present. When we listen to the “mind of Christ” then our feet, hands and voices become Christ’s as well. The popular “WWJD” which is often short for “what would Jesus do?” is transformed into “Walk with Jesus daily” and we now watch for what Jesus IS doing, and then we join in!