JESUS is our example in all things. 1 Peter 2:21 “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.”
He is our example in love! He taught us that love is essential to discipleship in John 13:34-35. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” HE even taught us to love our enemies. Matthew 5:43-46 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
HE authorized HIS disciples to teach us the same things, Romans 12:10 “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.”
HE demonstrated this love in HIS life. Romans 5:6-8 “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” HE always goes the second mile.
HE is our example in humility. Philippians 2:5-9 “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name.” Again, JESUS goes the second mile.
JESUS is simply doing what GOD has always required. Consider the following passages. James 4:6 “But HE gives more grace. Therefore HE says: “GOD resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” The wise man says in Proverbs 29:23 “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.” This humility is not only to be shown to GOD, but also to people around us. 1 Peter 5:5-6 says, “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “GOD resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of GOD, that HE may exalt you in due time.” Being humble before others is going the second mile.
HE is our example in sorrow. The prophet predicted that HE would be a man of sorrows. Isaiah 53:3 “HE is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from HIM; HE was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”
We see the fulfillment of that prophecy clearly in the Garden of Gethsemane. Matthew 26:38-39 “Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” 39He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Luke is even more explicit in describing his suffering in Luke 22:44 “Being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” This is another way to go the second mile.
HE is our example in prayer. Luke 5:16 “He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.” HE taught us to do the same thing. Luke 21:36 “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” HE was teaching us to pray at all times.
Paul tells us to follow that example and teaching. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.” When JESUS prayed without ceasing, HE was going the second mile.
HE is our example in forgiving others. Just consider the love that motivated HIM in Luke 23:33-34 “And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified HIM, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34Then JESUS said, “FATHER, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
HE taught us to forgive in the model prayer in Matthew 6:12 “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. HE taught us that forgiving others is a necessary condition to our own salvation in Matthew 6:14-15. “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly FATHER will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your FATHER forgive your trespasses.”
HE taught us to set no limits on forgiveness. Matthew 18:21-22 “Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” This is JESUS telling us to go the second mile when forgiving others.
HE is our example in obeying GOD. The writers of the epistles focused on HIS example of obedience. Philippians 2:8 “HE humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Even the SON of GOD was required to obey. Hebrews 5:8 “Though HE was a Son, yet HE learned obedience by the things which HE suffered.” The conclusion of this argument is that we must obey also. Hebrews 5:9 “And having been perfected, HE became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey HIM.”
Paul talks about this obedience in the context of baptism in Romans 6:17 “But GOD be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.” They had a transformation of the heart when they obeyed. They acted out the death, burial, and resurrection when they were baptized as they had been taught.
However, Paul laments that many of his fellow Jews had rejected GOD’s teachings in Romans 10:16 “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “LORD, who has believed our report?” Verse 1-3 tell us they had not submitted to the righteousness of GOD.
GOING THE SECOND MILE
We must go all the way with our savior. Going the second mile means doing more than is normally considered enough.
Consider the danger of only going one mile. In Luke 17:12-14 the ten lepers went far enough to be healed physically. “Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. 13And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.”
They received a great blessing, but they did not go far enough. They went on to present themselves to the priests. But only one of them turned back to say thank you when he realized his leprosy was gone. Only one of them stopped and glorified GOD. Luke 17:15-19 “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified GOD, 16and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. 17So JESUS answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18Were there not any found who returned to give glory to GOD except this foreigner?” 19And HE said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” Nine were healed only of their physical malady. However, the one who turned and came back was also healed of his spiritual malady. He was saved because he went the second mile.
JESUS will be with us until the end of the world, the end of this age, Matthew 28:20 “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Will we be with HIM all the way to the end? Will we stop following HIM after only one mile. Let us heed what JESUS told us to do in Matthew 5:41. “Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” My friends, to walk with JESUS we must also walk the second mile.
Dr. J. L. Edwards