When I’m counseling people, I try to emphasize that we learn by way of contrast and by way of example. We can observe marriages and say, “I want to have a relationship like that.” Or, “I definitely don’t want to do it that way.” And since no relationship is perfect, you can learn by contrast and by example, while observing the same person’s marriage.
Similarly, we learn from both what people say, and what people do. The Bible actually has a good bit to say about that.
Our words reveal what’s in our hearts, and our actions reveal what we really believe. And because no one of us is perfect, we can speak more truly than we’re often able to live, and we can sometimes even act more in line with Scripture than we’re able to explain.
It’s important that we understand that Jesus’ actions teach just as much as his words do. Jesus is himself the Word of God made flesh, according to the words of John 1:14. That means that his words are the Word of God, and his actions are the Word of God, because he himself is the Word of God.
In the gospel accounts, Jesus performs all sorts of extraordinary works — miracles — so that we would be amazed by him, and follow him, and worship him.
For example, in John 6, we find the familiar story of Jesus feeding the five thousand with just a boy’s sack lunch of five loaves and two fish.
John 6:11 records the miraculous provision: “Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.”
Notice that Jesus is personally the mediator of the materials. He takes the loaves. He pronounces a blessing. He distributes the bread to those who were seated. He doesn’t pass the food around to the disciples to help speed up the distribution.
Jesus intentionally and personally gives the people the bread and the fish, “as much as they wanted.”
Jesus isn’t stingy. No one could ask for too much from Jesus. Jesus isn’t weary. There’s power in the hands of Christ.
Some of you rack yourself with spiritual anxiety because you think that you are somehow too much for Jesus to handle, that you’re wearing him out. Jesus fed an entire army of men entirely by the power of his own hands! He can handle you and whatever issues you have going on! His wisdom transcends the wisdom of men, and his power transcends the power of men. Yet he bends down to feed his sheep with his own hand.
With Jesus, we have so much to learn from his example. In fact, the whole Christian life can be viewed as an ever-increasing conformity to the image or pattern of Christ’s life.
However, Jesus is far more than an example to follow. He’s a Savior to be received and worshiped. Salvation comes no other way.
Garrett Walden is a pastor at Grace Heritage Church in Auburn, and he’s a 6th grade teacher at Auburn Classical Academy. He’s an Auburn University alum living in Opelika with his wife and three kids.