Do You Walk in the Savior’s Footsteps?
ONE of the finest compliments you can pay a person is to imitate him. Children often imitate their parents. Teenagers may model themselves after popular entertainers, adults after prominent leaders in the fields of business and politics. But how many try to imitate the greatest leader in human history—Jesus Christ?
A recent poll conducted by the Gallup organization revealed: “Eight in 10 Americans said they are making at least some effort to follow the example of Jesus.” A mere “twelve percent said they were making the greatest possible effort.”
What, though, makes Jesus more worthy of being followed than other influential men? For one thing, as The World Book Encyclopedia observed, Jesus Christ “has probably influenced humanity more than anyone else who ever lived.” But unlike other influential men, Christ did not lead armies into the field to make forced conversions. He did not rely on costly propaganda as do well-known evangelists today. Nor did he support any political party. His influence was due to the sheer power of his message and his way of speaking it.—Matthew 7:28, 29; John 7:46.
Jesus moved people to make dramatic changes in their lives, spiritually and morally. What other influential man has so beneficially affected so many? Too, what other human leader could be described as “loyal, guileless, undefiled, separated from the sinners”? (Hebrews 7:26) Jesus’ example is therefore a perfect one—unlike that of any other man who ever walked the earth!
‘How, though, can a weak and imperfect human follow such an example?’ reason some. Historian H. G. Wells in his book The Outline of History notes that from the beginning men balked at following Christ. “For to take [Christ] seriously,” says Wells, “was to enter upon a strange and alarming life, to abandon habits, to control instincts and impulses, to essay [attempt] an incredible happiness.” Concludes Wells: “Is it any wonder that to this day this Galilean [Christ] is too much for our small hearts.”
But is that really true? Granted, to follow Christ perfectly would be an impossibility. The apostle Peter nevertheless said that Christ ‘left a model for us to follow his steps closely.’ (1 Peter 2:21) Note, he did not say “perfectly” but “closely.” What kind of model, then, did Jesus leave us? How can we imitate it?