1 Corinthians 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
These words were penned by the Apostle Paul (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) to the Corinthian church (and thus all believers.) The context of the letter has been Paul explaining the mandate to be servants and stewards of the Gospel of Christ. He has just shared the selfless attitude required to reach out to people – “that they may be saved.” (10:33)
The thing I love is the beauty of the discipleship message found in this verse. I have been asked in the past about the best model of discipleship and I have answered very simply: “Jesus did it by saying follow me, and when I am gone do what I did.”
Paul here has said keep an eye on me; imitate me; now run the same course. It is the discipleship relay!
Think about a relay team: a race between teams of competitors in which each member of a team runs... only part of the total distance to be covered… the current runner must pass a baton to the person running the next section. (Bing Dictionary)
Picture the guy waiting to run the next leg. He is intently watching the first runner’s course and as the first runner approaches him their races will briefly intersect and then the baton will be handed off for the second runner to run the same course…
Are your eyes on a runner that is showing you the course? Are you running with the intent of handing off the baton to a next generation runner? The church is supposed to be a discipleship relay team!
Jesus very clearly taught this idea with simple commands like “the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” (John 20:21)
In other words the relay goes like this: Jesus ran His leg of the race; Paul imitates Jesus and runs his leg; and now we are to imitate Paul running our part of the course! (Obviously there have been many legs of the relay run in between…)