An example of how we should
live our lives
Sometimes we are given a task to do but it is difficult to know how to do it based solely on the instructions. It is much easier to complete the task if we can see what the finished item looks like. Maybe we are going to build a boat, if someone shows us what the finished boat will look like it is easier for us to know what we need to do.
So an example is something we can look at and copy so that we learn what we need to do. It is an clear way of teaching.
God wanted his creation (men and women) to ultimately be like Him, in character. In His book, the Bible, He gave them instructions on what they must do to achieve this. But to help the men and women who wanted to obey Him and be like Him, he gave an example. This example was a man called Jesus Christ. If they could be like Jesus Christ then they would have character similar to God.
Son of God
God sees all believers as His sons and daughters. They have been adopted into His family when they are baptised.
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, John 1:12 ESV
he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, Ephesians 1:5 ESV
However, God has one son who is different to the others. Jesus is a begotten son.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 NKJV
Mary would be his mother and she would give birth to him. But we are told that he would be the son of God. As the son of God, he inherited the characteristics of his father. As he lived his life, he developed those characteristics, so that his character was increasingly like that of his Father (God). So much so that he said “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). What he meant by this is that even though we can’t see God, we can learn what he is like by understanding and observing the character of Jesus (God’s son).
The Jews thought he was saying that he was equal to God (John 5:18). But he made it clear that this was not the case.
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. John 5:19
Jesus was saying here that he was not equal to God. But he looked to his Father to learn what he must do. God was the example to Jesus, as Jesus is the example to us. Jesus prayed that we also might be one with God, by learning from the example of Jesus and His Father.
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, John 17:20-22
Son of man
Even though the father of Jesus, was God, his mother was human. Jesus himself was human. He made this clear by regularly referring to himself as the Son of man. This made him a good example for all mankind to follow - because he was like we are. He experienced all the normal human weaknesses and emotions. For example, when Lazarus died he felt grief. There were times when he was tired and needed to rest. There were other times when he was angry to see injustice.
As we face temptations, Jesus also experienced normal human temptations.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15
Because Jesus faced temptation, he understands when we likewise are faced with temptation. But this makes him a great example to us – for as we all sometimes give into temptation, Jesus never surrendered to temptation. His life was free of sin – he was perfect!
But this perfection didn’t just come easily to him. Jesus had to make a conscious and personal effort to be righteous.
Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, Hebrews 5:8-9
No one forced Jesus to live a life free of sin. He did it because of his immense love and faithful obedience towards his Father.
The way to overcome temptation is to develop a mind that puts the will of God first. Jesus Christ is the supreme example for us in this. We must reject temptation to sin, like he did. As Paul says, we must “crucify the flesh”, or put to death “the [mind or thoughts of the] flesh” with its tendency to sin.
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. Romans 8:13
As we have seen, Jesus is a perfect example. He is one with His Father, because his character is the same as His Father. This makes him a perfect example for us. But he is also a human like all of us, so he knows what it is like to face the day to day issues each one of us as face. Because he overcame these obstacles this also makes him the perfect example for us.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
Jesus is the example that we must follow that we might be like God. In other words, God is the model and Christ himself the example.
To be a believer, we have an example that we must follow. If we really do want to follow that example, then we will not only obey God by being baptised and but then we will walk faithfully before God. But it won’t stop here, we will also follow the example of Jesus, in feeling compelled to speak of God and His message to others so that they too may share the great hope of salvation.
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Last Updated: Friday, 10 April 2015