He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.

Isaiah 53:7

Last Thursday’s devotional about following Jesus courageously might have left some of you feeling a bit overwhelmed. It might have sounded like we’re expected to be so much like Jesus, almost to become him. But Jesus is a divine being. He’s God in the flesh. We’re mortal beings. It’s impossible for any of us to become him.

Following Jesus means to try and be like him, to speak like him, to do the kinds of things Jesus does, to love. It means to have him in our hearts as we go from day to day. It means to have him as an example to follow.

I, like most, have been hurt by others and want to cry out and complain. I want to speak out against injustice. And then I look at the Scripture above that says this about Jesus:

…as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.

And I wonder. Does that mean that if we want to follow Jesus, we should be quiet when we or others are being unjustly treated?

The series I’m writing (A Life Worth Living) shows how William Wilberforce repeatedly spoke out, calling for the abolition of the Slave Trade. As a result, he helped overcome injustice. When we witness wrong-doing, God calls us to do our part in setting it right. And that often means to speak out and expose it.

We are not called to die in the way Jesus did—without saying anything about the evil we’ve experienced. We are not called to be willingly led to the slaughter as Jesus was.

There was only One who would die that way. Only One would be willing and able to carry so much hatred and sin upon his shoulders on our behalf. Only Jesus had such great love to give.

We can try to be like Jesus. But only Jesus will be Jesus.