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Date Posted: 03:12:54 07/10/04 Sat
Author: Chris
Subject: Re: Jesus Imitators
In reply to: Mike K. 's message, "Jesus Imitators" on 23:40:48 07/09/04 Fri

Chris, this teaching is, however, biblical. Paul said: "Be imitators of God, therefore as beloved children" (Eph 5:1) as well as "You became imitators of us and of the Lord" (1The 1:6)

Yes and no. There is no universal, global teaching of "imitate Jesus" (in every way). You have to carefully read the passages. They don't say that we have to imitate Jesus in every way, i.e. gather 12 disciples around us etc. Both passage refer only to one certain aspect that is talked about in the context when they speak of imitation:

Eph 5,1 - Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Imitate God in the aspect of giving love.

1The 1:6 - You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.

Imitate the Apostles and Jesus in the aspect of loving the Word and rejoycing in suffering.

But there is no teaching in the Bible that we should imitate Jesus' unique ministry on earth as a global role model for evangelization. Jesus lived as a Rabbi with disciples, he called himself (indirectly father or master), but he forbade his disciples to call themselves father or master or Rabbi. He already spoke about the church, but this would come in the future.

There was Jesus' unique ministry and after him, the church. The local church and evangelization was different from Jesus' ministry, as you can see from the New Testament. But of course, they tried a lot to imitate Jesus in his attitude of heart, coined by love, meekness and forgiveness, but also by the truth and holyness. (Because Jesus was the truth, he also spoke some harsh words.) After all, Jesus taught that his disciples should "follow him," and this also means imitate him.

But I think you understand the point I wanted to make: If you imitate Jesus in every aspect and so perfectly that you become a little "visible" Jesus for other people, you are doing something wrong. You have to point people to Jesus, and make yourself more and more unnecessary for them. John the Baptist said "He must become greater; I must become less."

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