Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.
– 1 Corinthians 11:1 (Paul writing)
We’ve been focused the last few days on the apostles Jesus commissioned to tell His story – first to Jews, and then to the rest of the world.
The Greek word which translates to “apostle” in English means “to send on mission” and is a cognate of the Greek verb meaning “to send.” You can see the connection when I show you that the Greek word for “apostle” is “apostolos” and the Greek word for “send” is “apostellô.” Thus Jesus sent these men to be His representatives. What’s amazing is how well these otherwise common men represented Him.
In the course of His ministry on earth, Jesus had said:
“A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.”
– Luke 6:40
A worthwhile question to ask is, “Were the apostles like Jesus?” Yes – amazingly so!
Jesus lived His life in service to others, teaching and performing miracles. He continued doing this in the face of increasing opposition until finally His life was taken from Him. By all reliable accounts, the apostles filled out this same pattern – every aspect of it.
By their own admission, they had been sinful men. For example, listen first to Peter, then to Paul:
But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!”
– Luke 5:8
It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.
– 1 Timothy 1:15
Having been common sinners, the apostles could testify of having been changed by Jesus and therefore of the truth of these words:
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
– 2 Corinthians 5:21
Therefore, when one of the apostles says to us through his writing that we should imitate him as He has imitated Christ, we should take him seriously. Truly, Jesus knows how to teach disciples to become like Himself!
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, it’s hard to imagine that we could become as righteous as You…or even as righteous as the apostles, but we know that You wouldn’t want us to despair at such a thought. You’d rather we take Your teaching ministry seriously…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)