Do you desire to be just like Jesus?
Most of us would agree that the essence of holiness is Christlikeness, right? At the end of the day, if our lives don’t exemplify Jesus, then I would suggest that we’re chasing the wrong things. Jesus should be the centrality of our churches, ministries, and lives. John said, “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6). What does it mean to walk as Jesus did? Stated differently, how do we discover His central mission? My friend and scholar Jon Ruthven asked four questions to discover what Jesus did and what we’re supposed to look like as New Testament believers. First, what is it that the New Testament says that Jesus came to do? The Bible summarizes Jesus’ ministry by the following: preaching, teaching, healing, seeking, and saving the lost, and destroying the works of the devil (see Matt. 4:23; 9:35; Luke 19:10; 1 John 3:8). Second, what did He actually spend His time doing? The answer would be preaching, teaching, healing, seeking and saving the lost, and destroying the works of the devil. Third, what did Jesus tell His disciples to do? Well, He told them to do the same as He did: preach, teach, heal, seek and save the lost, and destroy the works of the devil (see Matt. 10:1-8; Luke 10:9; 10:19). Fourth, what is it that they actually spent their time doing? They spent their time preaching, teaching, healing, seeking and saving the lost, and destroying the works of the devil. Obviously the next question is: what should we be spending our time doing? I propose to you that if our central activities as followers of Jesus aren’t preaching, teaching, healing, seeking, and saving the lost, and destroying the works of the devil, then we’ve drifted from the main emphasis of New Testament Christianity.
As Jesus was nearing the end of His days on earth, He pulled back the curtains to His heart by sharing with His disciples some essential instructions. During His final hours He said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father” (John 14:12). Works (ergon) mean deeds, activities, accomplishments, and efforts. If we note the space devoted to the “works” of Jesus in terms of miraculous deeds and supernatural activities that is recorded in the gospels, the percentages are very revealing. Supernatural, miraculous works comprise 44 percent of Matthew, 65 percent of Mark, 29 percent of Luke, and 30 percent of John. Additionally, when you examine the believers in the book of Acts, 49.7 percent of their works were given to supernatural, miraculous activities such as healing, prophecies, and spiritual transformation of people and cities. These percentages should tell us that Jesus not only gave Himself to this kind of ministry, but He commissioned and empowered His followers to exemplify Him—and in fact, they did. When Jesus deployed His disciples He said, “As you go, preach, saying ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give’” (Matt. 10:7-8). When He deployed seventy others, He sent them in pairs to heal the sick and tell them that the kingdom of God had come near (see Luke 10:9). My point is that being like Jesus must include preaching, teaching, healing, seeking and saving the lost, and destroying the works of the devil; we must give ourselves to supernatural, miraculous activities if we are to be like Jesus.
Not long ago I was talking with someone who had graduated from a Bible college and their degree was in religion. They were eager to enter the ministry, so I proceeded to ask them how many classes they had concerning the supernatural activities of Jesus. I wanted to know if they learned how to heal the sick, cast out demons, or destroy the works of the devil through Spirit-led prayer. They laughed aloud when I asked them because they didn’t have one class that emphasized the very activities that Jesus spent His time doing and then deployed His followers to do. What is even worse is that the miraculous, supernatural works that Jesus did and commissioned us to do were spurned and depreciated during their educational process. Are we in trouble? Something is wrong in our educational and discipleship process if we’re not emphasizing the works that Jesus did. I’m not downplaying being like Jesus in oneness with the Father (see John 17:21), walking in love and humility (see John 13:14-15), or living with moral integrity (see John 8:46). I’m merely underscoring the fact that if we’re going to be like Jesus, then we should be like Him in regards to the extraordinary works that He did, too.
The truth is you’ve been “clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). You are filled with God’s Holy Spirit! Think about that for a moment, the One who preached, healed, cast out demons, and raised the dead lives inside you. This is the mystery that was hidden for ages, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). It’s time to let Him out; He’s “able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20). Take the risk, release His presence, and be amazed by how Jesus uses you. It’s time to be just like Him.
Dear God, you’ve empowered me to replicate Jesus. Use me to preach, teach, heal, seek and save the lost, and destroy the works of the devil. I want to do what you did, Jesus, all the days of my life. In your name I pray, amen.