‘Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.’ 1 Corinthians 11:1
When we read the Bible closely and attentively, we discover ever more that the gospel cannot be separated from the person who is preaching it. A few days ago we read: ‘Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith’ (Hebrews 13:7). Here too, the attention is clearly focused on the person. Paul says plainly: ‘Follow my example’. Understandably so, for the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power (1 Corinthians 4:20), and power can only be revealed if there is faith. Without people, there can be no faith!
In the first verse we read today, this also is clear: ‘I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one, who called you to live in the grace of Christ, and are turning to a different gospel’. So, people were deserting Paul and the word he preached, and turning to other people and their word.
Even when two persons preach the same word, the meaning may differ, because one is speaking a word that has been tested in his life, while the other is merely imitating someone else, which makes his words powerless. That was the clear distinction between Jesus and the teachers of the law: ‘Because He taught as One Who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law’ (Matthew 9:27).
Jesus called upon the people to follow Him, in a life dependent on God, and He was crucified for that. Paul, enraptured by the revelation of Jesus, became His follower and died a martyr’s death.
Please, understand that anyone who still tries to please people, cannot be a servant of Christ!