THE WORD: Follow in Christ’s steps

“What Our Lord Saw from the Cross” by James Tissot (circa 1886) is a painting in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum, New York. (Public Domain)

“Whoever claims to live in Him — must walk as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:6

Many have written ‘lives of Jesus’, setting forth the beauty, the grace, the wisdom, the gentleness, and the power of Him who was the chief among ten thousand, the altogether lovely one. But Paul tells us that in every Christian’s life — the life of Jesus is to be written, “That the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” 2 Corinthians 4:9. And it is these lives of Christ, written in men’s daily lives — which are needed in the world.

How is the life of Jesus to be manifested in His followers? It is not enough to merely talk about Him. There are those who, with silver tongue, can speak of Jesus eloquently and winsomely, in whom it cannot be said that His life is manifested in them. In this sense — it is not more preaching which is needed today — it is more gospels in the lives of Christians. It is only what we manifest of Christ in our own life — which is really witnessing for Him. We preach just as much of the gospel — as we get into disposition, character, deeds, life.

What was secret of the life of Christ? You have read your New Testament and have been charmed by the matchless beauty of that life which is portrayed in the gospels. His great central feature was love — love full of compassion; love serving even to the humblest needs and at the greatest cost; love which was patient, forgiving, thoughtful, gentle; love unto the uttermost — which went to a cross to save sinners!

Every page reveals some new beauty in the character of Jesus, and uncovers some new depth of His love. And the qualities of that blessed life — are to shine in our life. His disposition, His spirit, His compassion, His patience, His meekness, His peace, His joy, His humility — these are to reappear in us.

It is not enough — let us again and again remind ourselves — to preach about these gracious things in Jesus, to talk about them in our conferences, to extol them in our hymns — they must be manifested in our life. We must repeat in our own dispositions and lives — the story of Jesus.

“Leaving you an example, so that you should follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 

J.R. Miller was a pastor and former editorial superintendent of the Presbyterian Board of Publication from 1880 to 1911. His works are now in the public domain.