by Dou Ting Didymus
based on Mark 6:334; also: Jeremiah 23:1-6 Psalm 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6 Ephesians 2:13-18
Who is your role model? Who do you look up to? Who is your hero? Who do you imitate?
As little children, we look up to our mothers and fathers. Our heroes are Mama and
Papa. Our parents serve as our role models. This is proper. Its proper providing
father and mother are truly good examples for their children.
But as we grow older different role models present themselves. As teenagers, some of us
look up to sports heroes or movie stars. As young adults, some of us find our heroes in
But then we grow older. We mature. We are no longer children. When I was a child,
I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. As we
leave childhood, our thinking changes, our role models change. Today, who is your role
model? Who do you pattern your life upon? Who do you imitate?
As Christians, who is that person who we should take as our role model? Who is that
person we should pattern our lives after? If we strive to be the best human beings
possible, if we reach for perfection
then who has set the best example for us? Who
should we imitate?
There was a monk who lived during the 15th Century. His name was Thomas A. Kempis. He
wrote a wonderful little book. The book is called The Imitation of Christ. Thomas A.
Kempis book was originally intended for monks. But over the centuries this small
volume has proven to be one of the most popular references for Catholics. In many homes,
if there are two religious books on the shelf
one is the Bible and the other is
this small volume called The Imitation of Christ. Each word of this book is music. Every
passage is a profound truth.
As Christians, Jesus Christ is our role model. Imitating Christ is the essence of our
lives. We should pattern our lives after Him. We should imitate Him in all that we do. So
what did he do? Who was Jesus Christ? How did He live his earthly life? What was His
personality like? Lets take a few moments to get to know Jesus Christ.
Todays readings emphasize for us Christs role as a shepherd. The prophet
Jeremiah, disappointed with his generations leaders, foresaw an ideal king to come.
The great prophet foresaw the Lord Jesus, a shepherd who really cared. That was and is
Jesus. He is a person who really cares about people.
In His earthly life, Jesus was fully human and fully divine. On his human side He
experienced all the feelings that we do. There were times when he was dead tired. There
times when He was exhausted, physically and mentally. There were times when He desperately
needed rest from his teaching and healing. In todays reading from Mark we get to
know Jesus Christ on a human level. We see a Jesus who needed time to himself.
There were times when He desired to withdraw from the crowds. We, too, should sometimes
withdraw from the crowd. Jesus was under continuous strain and needed rest. We, too,
should take time to rest. It was also necessary that some time be set aside so Jesus could
be alone with His disciples
to teach them. We, too, should take time to be alone
with our children, to teach them. In addition, Jesus needed time for prayer. And so we
should set time aside for prayer.
As we learn from todays reading in Mark, so many people came and went before
Christ and his apostles that these spiritual workers didnt have a chance to eat. We
know from last Sundays readings, that the disciples had just returned from a
demanding assignment of preaching, healing, and casting out demons. Their energies were
spent; it was time for solitude. They were tired, exhausted and hungry. So Christ and His
disciples got in a boat and set out in the Sea of Galilee. They meant to get away for
awhile. They left the town of Capernaum and headed for the other side of the Sea of
Galilee. They had to sail about four miles to get to the other side.
Before He left in this boat, the people had been watching Jesus. They were astonished
at the things He said and did. They wanted more from Him. It was easy to see the direction
His boat was taking. Many people just started jogging around the top of the Sea of
Galilee. They meant to be there when Christ arrived. And they had a pretty good idea where
He was headed.
The River Jordan flows into the North end of the Sea of Galilee. Two miles up river was
a village called Bethsaida Julias. It was for this place that Jesus was headed. Near
Bethsaida was a little plain or flat place where the grass always grew. This was to be the
scene of wonderful happening. With five barley loves and two little fishes
would feed over five thousand people. He would feed them because, as a good shepherd, he
cared about them. He knew they were hungry. He cared about their physical comfort. Jesus
was an extremely thoughtful person.
When Jesus arrived at the other side of the Sea of Galilee, the crowd was waiting for
Him. He would get no rest. He would get no sleep. He would find no solitude. The people
would not leave Him alone. They needed Him.
What would be your reaction if you were in Jesus shoes? You have healed and you
have taught, and you have driven out demons until youre exhausted. You try to get
away for a well-earned rest. And still people approach you to be served. What would be
Jesus Christ had a reaction. When His boat arrived near Bethsaida Julias, and Jesus
stepped off, He saw a vast crowd. There were thousands waiting for Him. Did he chase the
people away? Did he plead for a little time for Himself? Did He ask from some courtesy and
respect? No, He did none of those things. His heart was moved with pity for them.
And He began to teach them many things. The good shepherd set aside His tiredness;
he ignored His hunger
and he took care of his sheep. He prepared for them a meal in
the wilderness. He made it His duty to build up and restore their souls. And, eventually,
He laid down His life for them.
The Jesus Christ that we should imitate was a selfless, loving, and caring person. He
was an attractive person. Children, who have a special ability to pick out frauds and
phonies among adults
children came willingly to seek out Jesus and climb in His
lap. When is the last time a group of strange children came to you, seeking your company
and your blessing?
The Christ that we should imitate had compassion. He had compassion for individuals and
for the vast crowd. We, too, should be compassionate people. The Christ we should imitate
brought people together; He did not divide and make factions in His community. He healed
personal differences. He made all of humanity one by breaking down the barriers of race
and ethnic group that create hostility and keep us apart. If Jesus were to make the
seating chart for this church, He would make sure we were all mixed up and sat together.
As our lesson from Ephesians teaches us, He created a new man from us, a man who follows
one universal law of love for God and neighbor.
Christ is our role model. For Christians, imitating the life of Christ is the essence
of our lives. Get to know Jesus Christ. Get to know the shepherd. If you do, you too will
run all night around the lake to meet Him. You, too, will marvel at his tenderness. You
will be moved to love by His caring.
Be like Him. Be like Jesus. If you endure every trial and slight and slander and even a
blow from your enemy
if you do this without hatred toward them and without
then rejoice and shout for joy. Live a life in imitation of Jesus
Christ and His great gift of mercy will come to you in the evening, the morning, and at
noon time and even when you eat and drink and often in conversation and when you sing and
read and pray and lie down on your bed. As the great Psalm says, that mercy will pursue
you all the days of your life. Be like Him. God bless.