If we ever worry about how well we are, or are not, doing at being a good Christian; at being Christ-like; we should not be too hard on ourselves.
Think about the disciples that lived and were taught by Jesus, all those years ago. They had the benefit of weeks, months and years in his company; of understanding the importance of sheep and fish and vineyards; of seeing the mannerisms and nuances that accompanied the parables and the teachings. They had the benefit of ‘being there’.
And yet, still they got it wrong; regularly and outstandingly. They saw what Jesus did and still did not always see that they were meant to be like him. Maybe they saw his behaviour as eccentricity to attract the masses or to ridicule the Temple.
They were right and (at a push) left hand men; there must have been some authority in their closeness to the Lord; something that marked them out as ‘better’.
Surely they were not meant to be poor, persecuted or meek; surely they were not to be servants and less than servants; surely they were not meant to give up their lives in order to live the life of the Kingdom?
Why do we think Heaven is ‘up’? Why does Jesus ascend? Why the mountains? Does God have to use these metaphors and imagery because that’s how we think; we have to see that rising up out of this place to that place; and that place being better?
We will be like Christ when we can see him as he really is; really is.
He is a servant – how do we accept the role?
He is an obedient son – What sort of children are we?
He turns away from the world’s temptation – do we?
He loves unconditionally –Hmmmm?
Our ambition to be Christ-like is in itself a paradox – involving a lot of letting go and letting God work in us. Becoming less so that we may become more.
I have a problem with some images of Jesus; particularly the gentle, meek and mild image. I don’t really know where that idea of Jesus can help me in my life. I do like the Temple-crashing Jesus and the other times that he stands up to those who refuse to listen.
This probably says a lot more about me than about Jesus.
Because Jesus did teach gentle, meek (still not convinced about mild) but that these attributes could be, should be, strengths.
That authority was not about having the power to makes changes but having the desire to makes changes and to make them for the good of others.
Perhaps this week pray about one of the times that Jesus did make himself a servant; the washing of the feet, cooking the meal for the apostles and see it as the gift it was.
Then perhaps look at some of the times in your life where you have had to, where you still do, take this role, maybe against your will or at least without good grace. Then make a conscious effort to see the hand of Jesus holding yours, making what seems menial, holy – becoming a little more Christ-like.