How many times have you heard that we are to follow Jesus' teachings? Without question that is to be our goal but I would rather phrase it as: Do what Jesus did. We have many of the tools that Jesus had. He had as Jeremiah tells us the new covenant from God where he has written his laws on our minds and hearts and is always there for us, loves us as his children and is willing to forgive us anytime we sincerely ask him to. Jeremiah wrote that some 600 years before Jesus was born. So Jesus and we are blessed with that new covenant, and Jesus did a great job summarizing the important things in the Scriptures of his day, the Old Testament, the Jewish Scriptures and he lived what he taught.
Now what are the things which Jesus did that we as well can do?
Like each of us, Jesus was human and as a human, there were times when he complained to God as St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Hebrews when he said Jesus "begged God with loud crying and tears to save him." We don't know how many times did that but Scripture tells us that at the agony in the garden he cried to the point of sweating blood for God to take the sufferings he foresaw he was about to endure and he added, Father not my will but your will be done. We are called to do the same thing by crying out to God to take away the trials or sufferings we are going through, the crosses we are experiencing but add as Jesus did and as we say when we pray the Our Father, "Your will be done" and just like Jesus have the confidence and trust that God will provide all we need and will never give us more than we can endure with his help. We give glory to God by accepting the crosses which God allows to come into our lives, just as Jesus did.
Another way we can do what Jesus did is to spend our life for others which will provide true satisfaction both here and in heaven. Essentially dying to ourselves and spending our lives for others. God doesn't require that all preach to the multitude but we can, as Jesus did, work to draw individuals to a closer relationship with God/Jesus. The Gospels include many stories of Jesus doing that like when the rich man approached Jesus and asked what he could do to have eternal life in addition to following the Commandments and the laws of the Jewish faith, which he felt he was already doing. Jesus, believing that the man highly valued his riches and his rich living, virtually having them as his God, told him that he needed to sell everything he had, give the money to the poor and follow him, essentially become his disciple. The man wasn't willing to do that.
Another individual Jesus worked with one on one was the Samaritan woman at the well who Jesus told her that he knew she was married 7 times and was now living with a an eighth man and she that she should sin no more. She went away and reportedly became one of his disciples.
So we can see that try as Jesus did, he wasn't always successful in drawing people to him. Even if we do as Jesus did spending our lives for others, working to draw them to a closer relationship with God we as well won't always be successful but we can make a difference for some.
I read a story the other day entitled "The Star Thrower" which is a classic story of the power within each of us to make a difference in the lives of others. The story goes: One day a man was walking along a beach and noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. He asked the boy, "What are you doing?" The boy replied, "Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going down. If I don't throw them back, they'll die." The man said, "Son, don't you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can't make a difference." After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it back into the surf. Then smiling at the man, he said, "See? I made a difference for that one."
By following just a couple things Jesus did in his life by being willing to cry to God, trusting him and spend our lives for others we can make a difference in both our lives and we can make a difference in the lives of other individuals.