3 Ways Jesus Is Our Example
What Would Jesus Do (WWJD)? This question rose in popularity due to the publication of Charles M. Sheldon’s novel, In His Steps, in 1896. But long before Sheldon was even born, Jesus Himself established the principle of following in His footsteps:
“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13:15)
And Paul reminds believers frequently to use Christ as the mold for their lives, walking as He walked (Colossians 3:13; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Ephesians 5:1-2). So how did Jesus handle the cultural pressures of His time?
1. He publicly opposed those who violated God’s will (John 2:13-16).
When He discovered that the temple courts had been turned into a marketplace, He didn’t shrug and reference the changing of the times. He didn’t pass it off as a simple shift in tradition or admit that, really, the merchants were only displaying good business sense and deserved to make a profit.
John records that He “…made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts…” (John 2:15).
2. He did what was right with little regard for cultural norms.
Jesus sought out a one-on-one interaction with a Samaritan woman (John 4:4-9), crossing several boundaries in the process.
First, Jewish tradition did not allow a man to speak with a woman alone. This was such a well-established expectation that even Jesus’ disciples (who were surely accustomed to some boundary flouting at this point) were caught off guard (John 4:27).
Second, Jews and Samaritans did not speak to each other under any circumstances (John 4:9). But Jesus had no interest in observing these “modern” societal expectations. He wanted to change her life, and the lives of those who would hear her witness.
3. He directly addressed misinterpretations of Scripture.
Jesus was frequently at odds with the reputable, well-educated crowd who knew existing Scripture backwards and forwards. He performed miracles on the sabbath with too much regularity for it to be anything less than purposeful and direct confrontation of their religious misconceptions (Mark 3; John 5; John 9; Luke 13; Luke 14).
When He healed a man’s withered hand in the synagogue, Scripture tells us that the Pharisees were watching Him. Maybe they’d even placed the man there on purpose to see what Jesus would do.
In this situation, I might have noticed the warning glares and led the man outside to heal him in an alley where no one would see. But Jesus did the opposite: He commanded the man to “…‘Stand up in front of everyone’” (Mark 3:3).
Our Savior was consistently unrelenting in His drive to love people and confront those things in His environment that opposed God’s will. That fierce boldness is the example we are commanded to follow.
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