The little chorus of this same title that we used to sing some decades ago expresses our simple yet deep desire to emulate Christ whom we profess to trust, follow and serve.
But alas, a few decades down the trail of our discipleship journey, we discover to our sadness and, I believe, to the Holy Spirit’s grief, that in so many ways we are so unlike our Lord Jesus.
1 Peter 2:21 clearly states our discipleship calling: “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps.”
The apostle Peter continues, ”He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth. When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate. When He suffered He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.”
Instead of striving for position and power, or personal glory in man’s applause & accolades, or material gains and wealth, we should seriously lay up treasures in heaven and earnestly desire our heavenly Father’s pleasure, our Lord Christ’s approval and the power and joy of the Holy Spirit by following the example of our Lord Jesus who completely submitted Himself to the Father’s will (Luke 22:42).
He was not guilty of any crime yet had to endure false accusations. No deceit was found in His mouth as He spoke the truth plainly and boldly (e.g. Matthew 23). When insults were thrown at Him, He took them gallantly without spiteful retaliations. He suffered with courage without making threats or intimidations. Most importantly, He entrusted Himself to Father God who is the ultimate righteous Judge with absolute sovereign authority to have the final say, as only He, can and will give the conclusive verdict.
Hence the triumphant tone of Psalm 2, a Messianic Psalm of Christ’s victory in the face of His enemy’s plots and ploys, fumes and fury; verse 4 says “The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.” We ought therefore to “serve our Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling” verse 11 exhorts. This is in order since “we all must appear before the Judgement seat of Christ that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10), and “each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12), and “God will give to each person according to what he has done” (Romans 2:6).
May we therefore never be like the Sadducees of Acts 5:17 who persecuted Christ’s faithful servants because of jealousy.
A good contemporary example of such a faithful servant is Professor Living Lee C.P. mentioned by Ravi Zacharias in his recent talk. CP is a good friend of a few of my ex-students in a neighbouring country. For standing up for his faith in Christ, he endured great humiliation by a horribly hostile speaker who tore our faith in pieces in his talk. This hostile speaker publicly slapped Lee and asked for his shirt as well as trousers when Lee turned the other cheek upon his taunting derisive demand, purportedly based on Christ’s teaching in Matthew 5:38-42. I was truly touched and inspired by Lee’s Spirit-given courage in obeying our Lord Jesus’ commands. Upon hearing his wonderful testimony, my first thought was: ‘Praise the Lord! He is so like Christ!’ My thoughts travelled back to Pilate’s judgment hall on that very first Good Friday when our dear Lord was so extremely humiliated and mocked!
Emulation of Christ begins from our inside, our thought life. Philippians 4:8 teaches us what to think. The adjectives there can aptly describe our Lord Jesus. He is true and noble, right and pure, altogether lovely and admirable and most excellent and praise worthy. Jesus Christ therefore should always be the focus of our thoughts and actions.
May God help us to fix our eyes upon Jesus and follow His supreme example (Philippians 2:5-8) and truly endeavour to be like Him, our Saviour, Master and King.
By Leong-Lian King Teng (YCKC Bulletin 2&3 June 2018)