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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

JESUS' MODEL BEHAVIOR


He is an example in handling persecution and suffering (1 Peter 2:21).  He was a role model who could always be trusted to follow (Acts 1:1; 10:38; 1 Cor. 11:1).  Did you know that a prophet over 700 years before His birth foretold of such exemplary behavior?  Isaiah 42:1-3 is about Jesus!  Matthew confirms it in Matthew 12:15-21, in the midst of Jesus healing a man with a withered hand (9-14) and one who suffered a variety of maladies, demon-possession, blindness, and muteness (22-23).  Certainly, Jesus was doing these miracles to verify His identity as God's Son, but He also revealed much about the kind of attitudes are right for mankind to possess toward others.  

Observe Jesus' Conduct Toward The Sick (15-17).  This is actually seen throughout this chapter and, certainly, throughout all four gospels.  He healed all that came to Him (15).  He restored the man's hand (13).  He healed the possessed man (22). He did what He could for them.  Now, His power infinitely outweighs our own, but we can and must minister to the sick (cf. Matt. 25:36).

Observe Jesus' Conduct Toward The Outcast (18,21).  The Gentiles were certainly held beyond arms' length by the Jews at the time Jesus walked the earth.  But, Jesus' coming brought justice for them and gave them reason to have faith.  Ephesians 2:11-13 shows the sad condition of the Gentiles when Jesus came on the earthly scene.  As most of us are Gentiles by birth, we are grateful for His gracious outreach.  How do we treat those who society has little use for, the poor, the dependent, the chronically ill, and the like?  How do we treat the "abject" sinner, the one with the sordid past (and even present)?
Observe Jesus' Conduct Toward Himself (19).  This is a remarkable, unique passage.  What does this verse depict, but the meek and gentle side of Jesus' nature? Keep reading and you will see Jesus, the Master debater (24-37), far outshining the world's best attorney.  Read the Master teacher in chapter 13, speaking so many things in practical, powerful parables. Read of His incredible miracles in chapter 14, His bold teaching in chapter 15.  Later in the book, He drives out the moneychangers with a whip and excoriates the Pharisees with the most condemning language of the New Testament. In the midst, God audibly declares Him His Son up on that mountain.  Yet, inclusive of His nature, was what Jesus declares of Himself:  "I am meek and lowly in heart" (11:29).  He was not one who drew attention to Himself.  He was no parader, vaunter, or promoter of self.  This Lion is also the Lamb.  His righteous anger was reserved for sinners and injustice.  His godly understanding of duty drove Him to teach and do good.  His humility caused Him to always project all glory to the Father!  In all of this, He is our example.

Observe Jesus' Conduct Toward The Powerless (20). Briefly notice an extension of Jesus' perfect self-control.  He showed compassion and assistance to those who could not help themselves.  What a demonstration of Christlikeness for us to help, do favors for, and reach out to those who are in no position to pay us back for the kindness.
The Pharisees so often acted to be seen of men.  By contrast, Jesus deflected undue attention from Himself as He busily served and honored the Father.  May we diligently work to follow His great example as we "dwell among men."
 
--Neal Pollard

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