The Force of Example

Our Lord has enriched his word with examples. Not to be blind to his will, we must follow them. Is Zacchaeus not an example of repentance, or Peter and Paul –and even Judas in his ill way? Shouldn’t we be bound by these examples if we would truly repent? Or if we would understand faith, should we not commit to the examples of Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Deborah, Samuel, Elijah and Elisha; or Mary, Stephen, Paul and Silas, and many more?

If we would understand and obey the command to be baptised, should we ignore those examples that Luke provides? When Philip and the Ethiopian went both down into the water, do we resile from that example and refuse to follow? When Cornelius and his household are commanded to be baptised in water, do we repudiate water baptism? When the jailer in Philippi treats with equal urgency washing the wounds of Paul and Silas and being baptized, do we delay a year our obedience?

Jesus left us an example to follow in his steps. So did his first followers. At our peril we choose a pattern of obedience and worship that ill fits these examples. Yes, a few have twisted this principle into a legalistic nonsense. We, nevertheless, can intelligently and earnestly search the scripture for instructive examples –and be bound by them to perfect our faith and obedience to Jesus.