Reading Time: 6 Minutes
For as long as I can remember I have made it a practice to read a chapter from one of the Gospels on a daily basis. One day, when reading today’s Bible passage, a phrase seemed to jump off the page. When I read, “It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher” (verse 25), the “bells and whistles” of my heart seemed to go off.
What I saw in that moment is that we have been given the greatest opportunity of all time – to be like our teacher, Jesus. Even though the passage today has to do with conflict, the good news is God has made it possible for us to be like Jesus.
Jesus told his followers, “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household” (Matthew 10.24-25).
Beelzebul literally means “lord of the flies,” and is another name for Satan. The conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders reached such a level that they now called him Beelzebul or Satan. Why did a man, who healed the sick and set people free from demons, come into conflict with people whose job was similar to his?
G. K. Chesterton was an English writer who was highly influential in the early part of the last century. He observed that everyone is able to generally identify the problems of society. He found that conflict arose over differing solutions about how to fix the problems.
Consider Chesterton’s statement in today’s context. You don’t need to be an investigative reporter to discover the problems in America today. Corona virus, racial tension, unemployment, and crime are issues that are easily identified. Conflict arises not over what the problems are, but over what solutions should be attempted to solve the problems.
In a similar way, Jesus and the religious authorities both saw sin and sickness as a problem. However, Jesus did not solve the problems the way that was prescribed by the religious system of his day. The religious authorities opposed him, because he didn’t do things their way.
The evil governor of Jerusalem was perceptive enough to know what was the root of the religious establishment’s hatred of Jesus. At Jesus’ trial, Pilate knew “it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up” for crucifixion (Mark 15.10). Jesus was able to do what they could not do and he operated outside of their power and control. They were so envious of what he was doing that they wanted him eliminated, permanently.
A Blessed Opportunity
As Jesus warns us that we can expect name calling and worse, he offers people a great fact of life, “It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher” (verse 25). I can’t believe I missed that truth for so many years.
Imagine this! It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher! That is the greatest understatement of all time. It is not “enough” to be like Jesus. It is the best news possible! We should shout this truth from the rooftops. We human beings have the opportunity to be like the greatest Being of all time.
Please take a few minutes and let this sink in. Ask God to make this blessed truth explode in your mind. May we all be totally captured by this magnificent truth.
How Does It Happen?
How can we cooperate with Jesus to open the door to this indescribable blessing?
We need a general idea of what it looks like to be like Jesus. The major reason why we are engaged in a detailed study of Matthew is to enlarge our understanding of who Jesus is. As we read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), the Holy Spirit will point out things to us and expand our vision of what it is like to live a Jesus-kind-of-life.
Both Coach Jake Taylor and I are influenced by the ministry of Richard Foster. Foster clearly has a vision of what it is like to have our lives molded into the image of Jesus. He also has cooperated with the Holy Spirit for over 30 years in the process.
James writes, “faith without works is dead” (James 2.26). If we have a vision of being like Jesus, but we don’t make any effort to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in producing the result, it will fail.
A little known fact about me is that I once wanted to be a professional golfer. I can say that I once played against Tom Watson in a golf tournament. We both played in the state high school golf tournament. He won it and no one ever knew I was there.
Besides innate talent, there was a big difference between Tom Watson and me. He made an effort to diligently improve his game. I just played the game for fun and dreamed of greatness. When I met Jesus, I exchanged a relationship with him for the golf game.
I hope the vision of being like Jesus will encourage all of us to diligently seek to be like him. We can’t go at it with a casual, game-like effort. We have to see the vision of living like Jesus and then go for it as a major priority in our lives. If we do, we can count on the assistance of the Holy Spirit to help us.
If you are reading the Gospel of Matthew on a daily basis, you are on the road to cooperating with the Holy Spirit in his desire to make you like the greatest Being of all. I’m sure you are adding prayer to your reading.
Now, let’s all add a desire that says “I won’t settle for anything less than becoming like Jesus in every way that is possible for a person like me.”
Dear Jesus, it is such an amazing thought that you said about us, “It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher.” We praise you for your amazing love and goodness that you want to bless our lives like this. Please help us to cooperate fully with the Holy Spirit for this to happen.