One of the measures we might put on someone who professes Christianity is “how Christ-like are they?” On its surface, it’s an unfair comparison. Jesus was one with the Trinity — divine as well as human. We mere mortals can’t be expected to do as He does!
Or can we?
Here Peter raises Tabitha from the dead. Just as Jesus had said, the disciples would do works that equaled His own. Peter does not hesitate when he hears that Tabitha has passed away. He immediately goes and performs this resurrection. Even in something as serious and difficult as a dead woman, it seems, we can be like Jesus; just like Jesus.
But that’s a dangerous thing. It’s dangerous because once you’ve reached the height of being like Jesus, you’ve taken on the responsibilities of all the things that Jesus might be and do. In fact, you’ve taken on all possibilities and all expectations. I mean, look at Peter! Once you’ve raised someone from the dead, what is there that you can’t do? nd what is there that others won’t expect you to do?
And the fact is that Peter didn’t spend the rest of His life raising the dead. He didn’t heal every sick person who might have crossed his path. He lived a fully human life, including, I suppose, not always living up to the expectations of others.
I think the message here is that while we should want to be like Jesus and try to be like Jesus — as much as we can be, anyway — we must accept that not every moment of our life is going to be a raise-the-dead accomplishment. In fact, most of our moments will be far more ordinary.
But here’s a challenge for us: how can we bring Christlikeness into those ordinary moments? Like Peter, we can show up when we’re called into a difficult situation. Maybe we won’t have a miraculous answer like Peter did, but we can act in the ministry of presence.
Like Peter, we can dare to be leaders in faith. When you’re a church leader, you can face the brickbats of criticism, but there are still those who are called to step up. Leaders with the heart of Jesus are needed. Are you one of these?
Most importantly, like Jesus and Peter, we can be attuned to the needs of those around us. Jesus didn’t heal every sick person who came near Him. He seemed, instead, to respond to those whose illness had exposed some seed of faith that could be nurtured. We too can look for these seeds in ordinary moments all around us.
Being like Jesus DOES mean that miracles are possible for us, but it also means that in between miracles there is a lot we can do to love and to lead and to tend to the faithful.