Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of articles on what it means to be a man after God’s heart. This article focuses on “Jesus, the Man After God’s Heart, Par Excellence.” Future articles will look at our call to be men after God’s heart; a closer look at the Scriptures; and a daily plan for becoming men after God’s heart.
Jesus, the Man After God’s Heart, Par Excellence
The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. . . (1 Samuel 13:14).
Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does” (John 5:19-20).
So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him” (John 8:28-29).
For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say. (John 12:49-50).
. . . but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me (John 14:31).
As incredible as it may sound, the Creator of all things, our Heavenly Father, wants us to know his heart and wants to give us the grace to be “a man after his own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). He who is all-knowing and all-loving invites us, who have limited knowledge and who find it hard to love and forgive, to come to know his mind and heart and share his way of looking at the world. He wants us to seek to understand his love, mercy, wisdom, and justice. He wants us to understand that following his ways opens us up to his blessings and a peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7). He wants to teach us to hear his voice so that we may learn what is important to him, may value what he values, and may choose to obey his words.
Jesus, of course, fits these characteristics perfectly and is the model, par excellence, of a man after God’s heart. His most outstanding characteristic was his constant desire to do the Father’s will. We don’t know how good a carpenter or businessman he was. We don’t have any indication he was the most learned of Jews or the most politically astute. Jesus’ perfection rested in his preferential love for God and the things of God, and his desire to be pleasing to his Father.
The Scriptures at the beginning of this article show us, through Jesus’ own words, why he was a man after God’s heart. Yet when we hear these words of Jesus, how easy it is to think, “Jesus is the divine son of God. It was easy for him to have a heart after the things of God, his Father. He was sinless; I am a sinner. He was perfect as a man; I am imperfect.” Yes, Jesus knows the imperfections, as well as the longings of each of our hearts. He knows our past sins and failures. Nevertheless, he invites us to join him as a man after God’s heart.
When we are baptized into Jesus’ death and resurrection, we all receive the grace to say “yes” to God and “no” to sin and temptation. We all have the strength to resist the devil, who tries to deceive us into forgetting who we are in Christ. Jesus calls us to leave our weaknesses and sins behind and set out with him on a new life of freedom and peace, as we try to be like him and seek after the things of God’s heart.
Lord Jesus, you more than anyone, were a man after God’s heart. I want, like you, to do your Father’s will and be pleasing to him. I ask you for the grace to follow in your footsteps and be that man after God’s heart you have called me to be.
[Many thanks to The Word Among Us for allowing us to adapt material from daily meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.]
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
1. Reflect on the Scriptures at the beginning of this article. What do they tell you about Jesus?
2. What were the characteristics of Jesus that made him the perfect model of a man after God’s heart?
3. How would you rate yourself against these characteristics?
4. What steps can you take to better take on these characteristics and be more like Jesus?
5. At the end of your meeting pray for one another that each of you would become more like Jesus, and like him, be men after God’s heart. Use the prayer at the end of this article as the starting point.