1 Corinthians 4:11-17
11 Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don't have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home.12 We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us.13 We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world's garbage, like everybody's trash—right up to the present moment.
14 I am not writing these things to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children.15 For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you.16 So I urge you to imitate me.
17 That's why I have sent Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of how I follow Christ Jesus, just as I teach in all the churches wherever I go.
What a strange and confusing snippet of scripture.
Paul is writing to the church in Corinth telling them that He [Paul] is their only link, thru the Holy Spirit, to who Christ is.
Since Christ walked the earth lives have been irrefutably changed. We all imitate Jesus as best we can. But we have never seen Jesus. We never saw him move through a crowd with grace and purpose. We never saw with our own eyes as he, full of mercy and compassion, reached down to one of the helpless, invisible outcasts and healed them. We don’t have the luxury of believing because of the physical proof. We all have imitated Christ by imitating others who imitated Christ. They in turn imitated others before them.
Now we are the ones who are being imitated by our peers and for successive generations.
This weekend we watched as literally hundreds of people walked out onto the LCBC stages and held up signs that said things like “Went to church because of my kids” on one side, and “here now because of Jesus” on the other.
These people at one time or another had a life-altering moment that made them realize their need to know Christ and set out on a journey to imitate him. But they couldn’t see him – except through us. Maybe this weekend there was someone sitting out in those auditoriums, looking up at the stage and they too realized their need for Jesus. Who will they imitate? Let’s let this reality sink in: that if we are saved Christ is in us and to that person that is far from God, we ARE Jesus.