In the early 1990’s there was a phenomenally successful ad campaign designed around the phrase: “I wanna be like Mike,” referring to the basketball superstar Michael Jordan. Millions of aspiring athletes watched with awe as he weaved his way down the court through opposing players and slammed the ball through the hoop. On playgrounds across the country players of all ages imitated Jordan’s every move and even his unique facial expressions. He was admired and respected.
So who is your role model? Whom do you imitate and aspire to be? Is it a Marvel superhero, an NFL star, or maybe a world leader? There are many gifted people with impressive accomplishments whom we might admire and try to emulate. However, it is also true that no matter who the “hero” might be, he or she is far from perfect. We may be disappointed to learn that the talented athlete struggles with addiction to pain killers. The world leader may have trouble at home. Sooner or later, earthly heroes fail. They themselves need help. In our lives, too, there is evidence of sin and its effects, for “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
But there is someone who is different—Jesus. Millions are impressed by Him and admire Him for His kindness, love, and wisdom. But there is more to Jesus than that. He is the only perfect hero. He is completely without sin. He is true man, but at the same time true God. He did what no one else could. He kept God’s law flawlessly. As hard as His enemies tried to find fault with Him, they couldn’t. Jesus challenged them, “Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?” (Jn. 8:46). No one could.
There is no one better to admire and try to imitate. But if Jesus were simply a perfect role model, we would still be facing eternal punishment in hell. We could never match His holiness, and without perfect righteousness, there is no hope of pleasing God.
Thankfully, Jesus came to be our substitute. He took our place under the law to fulfill it for us. He took our place on the cross to pay the penalty for sin. He is not merely our example, He is our Savior! So then “let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).
Whom better to imitate than Jesus? As God’s children by faith, let’s strive to follow His example of love every day. But above all, let’s praise Him as our Savior from sin and death who has given us life and opened the doors of heaven. How might you do that today?
Service times tomorrow are the usual 8:00 and 9:30 a.m.
At 4:00 p.m. Rob Sauers will be installed as pastor of Luther Memorial, Fond du Lac. Everyone is invited to attend and join the congregation for lunch following the service.
In Jesus’ name,