Originally written on January 2007 and migrated here.
It’s imaging Jesus, not imagining Jesus.
It is a “day one” concept that was very important but I have seemingly forgotten until today when I was just reminded again of it in my first cellgroup meeting. I was lost and as you know, I was even looking for my own self image in the previous post. I don’t know what I should become. Then my friend strikes me with a question, “If now I ask you what kind of person you should become? What is all Nathan really should be like? What will be your answer?”. I paused for a moment to answer this question and I even went with some ‘general answers’ like must be mature and God-loving and all that. Then in a flash, the answer came.
I should be like Jesus.
My friend snapped his fingers and said “That’s it!”. But then I continued to discuss about how it is very difficult to assess what Jesus was like. We have no clear -animated- depiction of Him and a full account of Him like His habits, activities, what he’s doing in His spare time, even how he talks, unlike some other characters we can clearly see presented in movies or so. Then he continued to discuss about how actually a lot on Jesus’ character is presented if we care to delve deep enough into it to see more into His personality.
Jesus was a fun person, and maybe even a fun-loving one. We see this part in how the children seems to like Him so much that the adults have to try keeping them away from Him. Of course children wouldn’t want to draw near to Jesus is He was scary, too serious or too ‘strict’, right? So we might conclude that He is a fun person and children like Him. But at times when He have to, He can also be firm and strict. He is not easily swayed by other people and He holds on to what He knows is true.
Like some of us, Jesus even had a run-in with tax collectors (see Matthew 17:24-27) and He followed the law. This tax was actually voluntary (com: Albert Barnes), but “from Peter’s reply, it is evident that our Lord customarily paid all taxes, tributes, etc., which were common among the people wherever he came. The children of God are subject to all civil laws in the places where they live – and should pay the taxes levied on them by public authority; and though any of these should be found unjust, they rebel not, as their business is not to reform the politics of nations, but the morals of the world.” (com: Adam Clarke).
Jesus experienced losses too. Although this point was debatable, if we see in the later chapters of the Gospels, Joseph was never again mentioned. Can it be that Joseph has passed away by the time Jesus started His ministry? Quite possible. And how about the responsibility to take care of our family? Jesus experienced it too. Think about it, Jesus was the firstborn son in Mary and Joseph’s family. If Joseph was gone, who would have the responsiblity to take care of the family’s well being? We see His love for His family. Even in the cross, Jesus thought of Mary and asked John to take care of her. So clearly we could see how Jesus behaves towards His family and parents here. Ever experienced family rejection? Jesus did too. If you read the whole story on Mark 3:20-35, His family thought Jesus has gone crazy and they went to take Him away (see commentary).
There are still a lot more to see on Jesus’ life and I can’t wait for the next cellgroup meetings to learn more about Him. My cellgroup leader have agreed that we will focus to study on Jesus’ life and try to image Jesus into our life. I think this will be very good for my personal and spiritual maturity development and I will continue to share more about it here as I learn more. Jesus is the only one we should try to learn from and imitate in our lives, the perfect embodiment of truth and life. I’m surprised that it took me all these long to finally learn of this very basic mistake of me that prevented me from growing any further in my spiritual maturity…