The Great Example
by: Gary L. Hutchens
Peter wrote, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Pet. 2:21). We are supposed to learn from our savior, not only from His teachings but also from the example of how He lived as a human being in this world.
The Hebrews writer noted, “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” (Heb. 2:17-18). In His physical life Jesus shared in the experiences and temptations that are common to life in this world. We can take comfort in that fact, knowing that our Savior knows exactly what we go through, because He went through similar Himself.
He was tempted to sin just as are we. But He did not succumb to the temptation, thus leaving us His example of faithfulness: “For we do not have a High Priest Who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).
Wow, what a savior! Jesus came to this world, not to live above man as pure deity but to live among man as man! In so doing, He went through all of the same kinds of experiences as do we. He can thus relate to us in a very special and personal way, and we can relate to Him, knowing that He has experienced what we experience. Of course, there is a big difference between how He lived here and how we live here. He faced what we face without sinning. What an example!
But that’s not all that we learn from His example. Paul wrote, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Phlp. 2:5-8). This incredible account of what Jesus did in order to be our savior is mind boggling.
He was in Heaven. He willingly gave up equality with God in order to become our Savior. The text says, “He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death...” We’re talking about God the Son humbling Himself, leaving Heaven, becoming a man and allowing Himself to be crucified on the cross to serve as the perfect sacrifice to pay the price for the guilt of our sins (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 10:10, 12). Such willing humility is certainly a graphic example for us.
Notice also that part about His becoming “obedient.” He went through the process of learning obedience, not for His benefit but for ours (Heb. 5:8-9). His example of obedience speaks volumes as to our need to be obedient to God’s will. If Jesus needed to exemplify obedience to God, we certainly do, and in so doing He also gave us a great example of willingness to serve God according to His will. We ought always to live our lives in service to God.
Jesus taught us much, not just through His teachings but also through His great examples. Two questions for each of us: 1) Have you learned from His examples, and 2) Are you living by His examples? A third question that, in many cases, ought to shake us to our souls: Are the great examples Jesus left us wasted on you?…
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Gary L. Hutchens