May 16, 2024

Your Best Life: 6 Characteristics of Jesus that Pastors Can Teach On

Today’s blog we'll 8 characteristics of Jesus that pastors can teach to their congregations on the way we should model our lives after.

Noah Cecil

Have you ever scrolled through social media posts, read books, listened to podcasts, or come across headlines that suggest the new best way to live? 

There can be a lot of noise in the world when it comes to searching for the best way to live our lives. Should we only do what’s best for ourselves, or contribute to the good of others? Should we never compromise on what we want, or find common ground? Do we learn to forgive, or do we cut off those who have wronged us? When we feel anxious, do we trust our gut or do we overcome fear? 

While the trends and new discoveries on how to live may change on a daily basis, or depending on who you’re listening to, pastors have the duty of sharing the perfect model for living our best life: Jesus Christ. 

Today’s blog I will be going over 8 characteristics of Jesus that pastors can teach to their congregations on the way we should model our lives after.

8 Characteristics of Jesus We Can Learn From:

1. Compassion

Reflected in Jesus's teachings is His unwavering compassion for humanity. Throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus extending love and mercy to the marginalized, the sick, and the outcasts of society. Matthew 9:36 shows us that "When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." This empathy forms the foundation of Jesus's ministry, and is an important lens for us to model our daily actions toward others.

As put by Rev. David Bast, of the organization Words of Hope

“The Bible often tells us that God is compassionate, but in the person of Jesus, it shows us. [...] Listen to these excerpts from the gospels: ‘Moved with pity he stretched out his hand and touched him’ (speaking of a leper, Mark 1:41). ‘Jesus in pity touched their eyes’ (of two blind men outside Jericho, Matthew 20:34). ‘He had compassion on [the crowds] . . . and he healed their sick’ (Matthew 14:14).”

2. Humility

Despite His divine and sinless nature (1 Peter 2:22), Jesus exemplified humility in every aspect of his life. Philippians 2:5-8 beautifully encapsulates this characteristic of Jesus, with the Apostle Paul writing "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men." 

Jesus’s willingness to humble Himself, even to the point of death on the cross, serves as a profound example of selflessness and sacrifice.

David Mathis, of the organization Desiring God, says:

“It is a mark of the fullness of his humanity, and identification with us, that He [Jesus] didn’t come on special terms, to be spared the frustrations of our limits and the pains of our world. Rather, he was all in: fully human in body, mind, heart, will, and surroundings.”

3. Forgiveness

Jesus's teachings on forgiveness are revolutionary, challenging societal ideas of justice and retribution. 

As we see in Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus declares, "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." 

According to Archbishop Bernard Hebda, of Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis:

“Jesus wants us to love one another as he has loved us, and he explained that the way that people will know that we are his disciples is by the love that we have for one another (Jn 15:12,15; 13:35). But our love is imperfect. We damage our relationship with God and our neighbor when we sin, the coin flips, and tails. To remain in sin and alienation is to be in a tailspin. Forgiveness is the way to turn the coin back to heads and return to love.”

4. Love

At the heart of Jesus's message is the commandment to love one another. 

In John 13:34-35, Jesus instructs His disciples:

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this, all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another." 

This radical love, characterized by selflessness and compassion, serves as the defining mark of true discipleship. Even before this new commandment, Jesus speaks of loving God, and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves, as the most important of the commandments (Matthew 22:36-40). 

Bret Eckelberry of Focus On the Family tells us: 

“Because Jesus loved us, He was willing to sacrifice His life for us. He suffered and died on the cross because He knew that was the only way we could join Him in heaven. We may not be asked to literally give up our lives for someone else, but we can still love like Jesus by sacrificing our desires to help those around us.” 

5. Courage

Jesus's life was marked by extraordinary courage in the face of adversity and opposition. From his confrontation with religious authorities to his ultimate sacrifice on the cross, Jesus remained steadfast in his commitment to fulfilling His mission. 

John 16:33 shows how Jesus encouraged His disciples to remain faithful, in the face of adversity: 

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." 

Not only does Jesus also encourage the disciples to have faith in the midst of a storm (Mark 4:35-41), but we can even learn from Jesus’s actions in the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus knew His time of betrayal was near, growing anxious as the fulfillment of His sacrifice was to follow. Rather than turning from this calling, Jesus took His fear and brought it to the Father in prayer (Matthew 26:36-46).

6. Hope

Lastly, one of Jesus's most prominent characteristics is His promise of hope –– hope for redemption, restoration, and eternal life. 

As we see in John 11:25-26, Jesus declares:

"I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" 

This message of hope continues to resonate with believers around the world, offering comfort and assurance in times of trial and uncertainty.

In an article for the Christian organization Crossways, Dr. Mark Jones discusses how Jesus models perfect faith in God by faithfully fulfilling His mission in spite of scrutiny, and his eventual sacrifice. Jones ends on this note about Jesus’s hope:

“Christ had to have trust in his Father, hope in his Father’s promises, and love for his Father in order to bestow on us those graces that are first in him. We can say with great praise that we are ‘so thankful for the faith, hope, and love of Christ; no hope without them.’”

Preaching On the Characteristics of Jesus

These are only some of the characteristics of Jesus, along with a few supporting examples that we can learn from. There are plenty of verses, stories, and parables all throughout the Bible that pastors can use to teach on the characteristics of Jesus and how we can follow in His footsteps.

When it comes to crafting a message on the characteristics of Jesus, pastors have the assistance of online sermon writing tools to make the most of their sermon. These writing tools are able to generate effective sermon outlines, quick search verses and Bible stories, create character studies, and even come up with modern-day examples of Biblical stories. 

What Better Footsteps to Follow In?

In a world surrounded by the noise of better living trends, “life hacks,” and conflicting social dynamics, we as Christians can put our trust in the character of Jesus. The characteristics of Jesus Christ are as relevant, transformative, and revolutionary today as they were during His time on Earth. As pastors teach on the life and teachings of Jesus, it’s important for the congregations to strive to live out His example and embody these timeless characteristics in their own lives –– enriching relationships, communities, and the world.

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