Live like Jesus Lived on Earth
We focus so much on the death of Jesus Christ, that sometimes I think we overlook some other things that are emphasized in God’s Word. Don’t get me wrong; the death (and resurrection) of Jesus was the turning point of history, the climax of the Old Testament narrative, and the only means by which we can be saved. It, in one sense, is everything. So please hear that.
But I do think that in my intense focus on the death of Christ, I’ve missed some things that the scriptures say are also important to my daily life—one being, the life of Jesus here on earth.
Walk in the same manner as He walked
I was reading in 1 John, praying that the Spirit would guide me into truth, and I came upon this verse. I’ll include the two translations I was reading from:
“The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”(1 John 2:6 NASB)
“Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.”(1 John 2:6 NLT)
That verse hit me hard. I put myself in the text: “I, who say I abide in God, should walk in the same manner as He walked.” or “I, who say I live in God, should live my life as Jesus did.”
I knew I was to live my life in the resurrected life that Jesus provided through His death and resurrection (Romans 6:8). And I knew generally that the life of Jesus had ramifications for my life.
But I’m not sure I had the tangible thought that I should take stock of how Jesus actually lived on earth as a young Jewish man (I’m the same age that Jesus was during His public ministry), and that it is how I should approach my own life. This may not be new to you, but it was to me in a powerful way.
Reading the gospels with fresh eyes
This realization has brought fresh eyes to my reading of the Gospels. I suddenly realized that over three quarters of the Gospel narratives are about His life here on earth. And the stories about Jesus are no longer just interesting stories that pave the way to His death (which, of course, they are), but also stories that give me practical, down-to-earth principles by which to life my life daily.
Of course, we can only do this when we’ve been crucified with Christ, and now live in His resurrected life, empowered by His Spirit (Galatians 2). But it should look like something, and 1 John 2 says it should look like Jesus’ life on earth—“the same manner as He walked.”
So as I’ve read the Gospels anew, here are some of the lessons and principles I’ve been gleaning (I’m sure the list will continue to grow):
- Jesus reached out to the lowest, most unvalued in society (tax collectors, prostitutes, sinners, etc.).
- Jesus walked among and ministered to those with horrible communicable diseases like leprosy.
- Jesus went beyond cultural norms of the day and affirmed the value of women.
- Jesus loved children, and chastised those who would try to keep them from His love for them.
- Jesus wept over Jerusalem, heartbroken over those who would not accept His invitation to abundant life in His kingdom.
- Jesus called out legalism and Pharisaism, those who would seek to live by a religious code of ethics (rather than seeking heart renewal).
- Jesus prayed constantly and earnestly, going out early in the morning to spend time with His Father.
- Ultimately, Jesus came to serve us, not be served by us, and to give His life for others.
That’s the type of life that Jesus lived. The type of love Jesus demonstrated. And it should radically transform us. Our affections, our worship, our daily lives.
Pointing my kids to the life of Jesus
I’m a father of three, and this is impacting how I lead my children spiritually. I view my kids as little disciples (“learners” or “followers”), and that my role is like Paul’s: “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). So what the Lord is taking me through in my own disciple-relationship with Him, I seek to pass along to my children in discipleship.
So this is what I’ve been praying with my kids at night:
- That we would love like Jesus did (radical, self-giving, gracious love),
- That we would care about the truth like Jesus did (share the truth of good news, and stand up for God’s truth),
- That we would lay down our lives to serve like Jesus did (even for those who don’t love us).
I’m sure this list will also grow, as I find more practical truth about the life of Jesus to pass along to my little disciples.
Let me reiterate that I’m not deemphasizing Christ’s death. But I am emphasizing something new (for me)—that the way in which Jesus actually walked on earth has immense implications for my own daily walk, and for those that follow after me.
As those who say we live in God, let’s live our lives as Jesus did!