You all remember the copy-cat game ‘Simple Simon’ right? For those of you who don’t know what i’m talking about, I’ll quickly quote Wikipedia’s description.
Simon Says (or Simple Simon Says) is a child’s game for 3 or more players where 1 player takes the role of “Simon” and issues instructions (usually physical actions such as “jump in the air” or “stick out your tongue”) to the other players, which should only be followed if prefaced with the phrase “Simon says”, for example, “Simon says, jump in the air”.
A fun game … if you’re 6.
A more religious version of this game exists, I believe, in the world today, with people thinking that if they do what Jesus did – if they copy the way He lived, all will be well with the world. Jesus says “feed the hungry”. Jesus says “Love your neighbour”. There’s nothing wrong with feeding the hungry or loving your neighbour, obviously. And copying everything that Jesus did is most certainly not at all bad. However, this idea of Jesus as a ‘good moral example’ is totally and completely missing the point. I know tons of people who do many of the things that Jesus did, but don’t claim to be Christians at all.
If you’ve ever read the very controversial book (but one that i love) The Shack, then you’ll have read the part that speaks about how Jesus wasn’t meant to be an example to follow, in terms of comparing yourself to Him and copying everything He does. He sets a very unattainable standard. At first, this was confusing to me, and contradicted scriptures like John 13:15 where Jesus says: “I did this as an example so that you should do as I have done for you.”
Realise though, that this was before anyone had received the enabling of the Holy Spirit.
In his book ‘Mere Christianity’ CS Lewis says it like this:
“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic–on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg–or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.”The point here, is that Jesus was and is the Son of God. That was the motivating reason behind everything He did.
Jhn 5:19 “”Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”
So where does that leave us?
The way Jesus lived on earth is an absolutely wonderful example, a PERFECT example, yes. But more than ‘good’ behaviour, He was an example of what a life lived wholly for God looks like. We should follow the example that Jesus set on how to prioritise our relationship with Him, how to do only what the He instructs, how to sacrifice ourselves for the desires of our Father, believing in His goodness and love. We should look at the example that Christ set, on how to pick up our cross and follow Him, and truly live for God our Father, and in doing so, our actions will become more like those of Christ.
I believe that ultimately, the best example Christ set for us, was to show us what it looks like to be a Son of God.
Romans 8:11 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.