Of all the humans who have walked the earth, no one is more worthy of imitation than Jesus Christ. Why is that? Jesus himself once said: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father also.” Jesus reflects his Father’s personality so perfectly that observing the Son is like seeing the Father. Therefore, as we imitate Jesus, we draw closer to Jehovah, the greatest Personage in the universe. How, though, can we know what Jesus is like? Thankfully, we have an inspired written portrait of Jesus. Jehovah provided that record, as found in the Christian Greek Scriptures, because he wants us to become acquainted with his Son so that we can imitate him.
Christ suffered for us. And now Christ is asking us to suffer for him.
It is not that Jehovah wishes suffering upon anyone. The reason suffering is involved is because following Christ’s example is not easy. We may be persecuted by family and “friends.” Having Christ as our model means being honest and truthful and sometimes that creates consequences we must suffer. Our suffering may come about because of figuratively amputating an offending limb or two.
In the future following Christ will be much more challenging. That will involve the soon-to-be-unleashed beast that will war against Christ’s followers. Until now governments, at least in the realm of Christendom, have protected the civil rights of Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, what will happen when the political and economic system crashes, as it is certain to do in the immediate days ahead? Revelation 13:9-10 answers: “If anyone has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is meant for captivity, he will go into captivity. If anyone will kill with the sword, he must be killed with the sword. This is where it calls for endurance and faith on the part of the holy ones.”
Following Christ has always required endurance and faith, but in the aftermath of the mortal wound upon the head of the beast God will allow the beast to conquer and kill the holy ones. In that scenario Jehovah’s Witnesses will be outlawed, not unlike the tribulation Christians in Rome faced when various emperors viciously persecuted them. For anointed Christians living in the time of the end following in the footsteps of Christ will require them to give up their human life. By doing so, though, they will be instantaneously transformed into the exact image of Christ in heaven.