Jesus Set the Example
In our day of participatory leadership and consensus building, we preach that no one is indispensable. But when it comes to God’s plan of salvation, Jesus was the only One in a position to fulfill it. Only the perfect Son could pay the price for our sin and free us from Satan’s prison. And it wasn’t easy.
Jesus’ job wasn’t easy logistically. When we read the narrative of Jesus’ birth we can’t help but feel sorry for Mary and Joseph. This poor couple endured the twists and turns of a role they didn’t ask for and an adversary in Satan who tried everything possible to stop them. When Jesus grew to be a man and His ministry began, He had to design His ministry around foot paths, fishing boats and word of mouth communication.
Jesus’ job wasn’t easy physically. A carpenter’s son had his work cut out for him (no pun intended). There was furniture to build and customers to please. Jesus grew up strong, and some artists do Him an injustice when they fail to show His muscular forearms and calloused hands. This upbringing prepared Jesus for the rigors of ministry, and it subjected Him to the bumps, cuts and bruises associated with physical labor.
Jesus’ job wasn’t easy relationally. His family worried about Him. His disciples misunderstood Him. His elders hated Him. The crowds hounded Him. And somewhere in this mix, He still found a way to heal the sick, raise the dead, restore the fallen, love the forgotten and give hope to the hopeless. Don’t believe for a moment it was easy for Jesus to manage all of the people in His life while maintaining His own emotional well-being.
And finally, Jesus’ job wasn’t easy spiritually. His arrival on earth was a direct challenge to the foothold Satan held in people’s lives. The fight was on the moment Mary was told she was pregnant, and it didn’t end until Jesus burst forth from the tomb to proclaim victory over sin and death.
I love the words of Howard B. Gross in his Hymn, “Give of Your Best to the Master”: “Jesus has set the example, dauntless was He young and brave.” The only way life could have been easy for Jesus would have been for Him not to come. The way He came wasn’t just the best way. It was the only way. Do you see a pattern?