The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach. Acts 1:1 (KJV)
We live in a time when the culture appears to be more enlightened than ever, with access to an ocean of knowledge, but sadly, the culture appears to be more perverse and groping in the dark, with heightened decadence and a dearth of good role models in every sphere of society, from religious, political, educational, and even the home front.
However, we see both the problem and the solution to this quandary in the aforementioned scripture, as well as a way out of the dire straits that society, and especially the Church, has found itself in. According to the new testament scriptures, Jesus is evidently set forth as the pattern Son , and approved model and standard for living for all mankind in matters that pertain to both life and godliness (John 19:5, Hebrews 1:1-3).
John 19:5( KJV):
Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!
Hebrews 1:1-3 (KJV): God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
In the aforementioned scripture, John 19:5, Pilate made a profound statement by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit when he said, “behold the man”. Little did he know that he was speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and presenting Christ to the people who stood by at the trial, and to those who would live afterwards in all ages and dispensations, as God’s approved pattern for living in all matters that pertain to life and godliness.
In the same vein, the author of the book of the Acts of the Apostles, opens the book by giving a summary of the life of the Lord Jesus Christ in his treatise. He said that Jesus was first a doer and a practitioner of the word before He taught the same. This has a profound implication for us as individuals, families and corporate body in this contemporary culture. This suggests to us that God in His Omniscience expects everyone of us to make a lasting, transforming impact in our sphere of influence. We must, of necessity, be first exemplary by being doers and practitioners of the word or what we preach before we are revelatory and expounders of the same.
It is little wonder that God, in preparing His prophets and vessels, He takes them through dealings to make them have experience and become what He wants them to declare and speak to His people. We see this pattern in His dealings with the prophet Ezekiel . In order for the prophet Ezekiel to accurately declare God’s counsel and mind to His people, He was made to sleep on the left side of his body for three hundred and ninety days (one year and twenty-five days using a three hundred and sixty-five day calendar), each day representing one year of the three hundred and ninety years that Israel forsook God, and He was also told to sleep on his right side for forty days, with each day representing a year of the forty years that Judah forsook God.
Ezekiel 4:1-7 (KJV): Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and pourtray upon it the city, even Jerusalem: and lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it; set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round about. Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel. Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity. For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year. Therefore, thou shalt set thy face toward the siege of Jerusalem, and thine arm shall be uncovered, and thou shalt prophesy against it.
Similarly, if you are going to make an impact and not mere impressions through your life and ministry, you must become a doer of the word before you are a teacher of the same. To do otherwise would be tantamount to hypocrisy, and the consequence of this is that no one within your sphere of influence will ever experience any real change and transformation by the Holy Spirit. As a wiseman once said, “you can preach what you know, but you can only produce who you are, and after your kind.”
May God help us all to follow the pattern that has been modeled for us by the life of Jesus Christ