WWJD, what would Jesus do isn’t always a helpful guide in life. Imagine you were in a small boat threatened by a storm. What would Jesus do? He’d rebuke the wind and waves and calm the storm. Good look with that!
I love this quote from Scott Sunquist which captures the complexities of following Jesus example.
So how is Jesus our role model for missionary work? There are two errors we must avoid in thinking about our mission in light of Jesus’s mission. First, we must remember that Jesus was God: he claimed this identity, revealed it through his actions, and was recognized as such by the early church. We can easily develop a messiah complex, by thinking that we are just like Jesus. We must remember that we do not have the power to save people or situations; we can only point to Jesus as the savior, teacher, healer, and exorcist. Our ministry is derivative of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. This may seem quite obvious, and yet many missionaries act like they are the savior of their particular mission field or their particular people group.
Second, we must avoid seeing Jesus as so completely different (fully God, but not so human, really) that we end up reducing our missionary work to moral or ethical platitudes. Jesus healed, he cast out demons, and he taught with authority and power. He expected those whom he sent to do this—to an even greater extent (John 14:12)! Jesus is our model in ministry, but not as redeemer—for there is only one redeemer. He is our model and example, but he is also the wisdom and power of God. We are invited to participate in his ministry as on a missionary team. However, all the power and wisdom of this missionary team flows from Jesus through us.