As a child attending church services three, sometimes four times a week, we would sing a beautiful hymn called TO BE LIKE JESUS. It was, and still is one of my favorite hymns. The words are:
" To be like Jesus,
to be like Jesus-
All I ask,
to be like Him;
All through life's journey,
from earth to glory,
All I ask,
to be like Him..."
I was humming the song in my mind while working in the yard this week. Then I asked myself, what am I singing; examine the words of what you are asking for. Almost immediately the passage, the prophecy of Christ's life in Isaiah 53 came to mind .
* There is no beauty in Him that any should desire Him.
* He was not only despised, but totally rejected of men; the society in which He was born.
* He was a man of sorrows
* He was acquainted with grief.
* Society hid from Him.
* He was not only despised but He was not esteemed.
* He not only bore His own grief, but the grief of others.
* He carried others sorrows in addition to His own.
* He was looked upon as being stricken, smitten by God and afflicted.
* He was wounded not for His transgressions, but because of others sins.
* He was bruised for others.
* He was oppressed, afflicted, yet said nothing in His own defense.
* He was led as a dumb lamb to not only be sheared (made naked, exposed) but to be
* After being slaughtered He made His grave with the wicked (He died as one who was
wicked, although there was no sin in Him.
And I sang in church, and in my yard the request TO BE LIKE JESUS? Yes, I want to be like Him, but I do not want to go through what He went through. Is it possible to be like someone but not go through their experiences, life processes, learning and obedience's?
From a worldly perspective, can one become a member of the US Army Special Forces without going through boot camp and extensive training? Can one advance in the US Navy without learning how to swim? Can one earn a doctorate's degree without going to college? Is the heavenly process, the eternal different? Why have we been convinced that it is? Who has bewitched us? How could I have uttered the words TO BE LIKE JESUS without knowing in my heart that it is impossible unless I can identify and participate in the sufferings of Christ! To join in what the Apostle Paul called the " fellowship of His sufferings..."
Who set it up this way? Isaiah 53 says that " It pleased God to put Jesus to grief. Jesus would make His soul an offering for others sins; not His own, but others sins. It pleased God to bruise His Son. All for us...
He was wounded for our transgressions, not His transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities, not His iniquities. He was cut off from the land of the living and yet, did not open His mouth.
Am I willing to submit to this same process on behalf of friends, family, my community and nation? Do I submit or run from the poor, needy, oppressed, enslaved, and captives? Is not the same God of Jesus the same One that I claim to be my Father? Does He demand a different mindset of other "sons of God" of which we are, than of our example who is Christ?
How could Christ do this? One who was without sin to become sin!
Hebrews 12:2 says..."for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame, and He is now set down at the right had of the throne of God." He still intercedes for those the Father has given Him. He came from heaven above, sinless, spotless and fulfilled all of the prophecy given in Isaiah 53, every last drop from the cup, given to Him by the Father. He did not come to condemn, as I am so apt to do daily to others. He came to save the world.
When we feel rejected, shamed, despised, forsaken, we are in excellent company. The Saviour of mankind, the Redeemer of planet earth suffered the same. We must look unto Jesus, the Author and the Finisher of our faith. He who has started a good work in us will finish it!
As a footnote, I advise all to examine what we are saying, and singing, and thinking! It is being recorded in the heavens! Do not be surprised and think it strange that difficulties, trials and travails happen to us daily, it has happened to all who love and seek and adore God.