When he was first preaching to Cornelius, Peter made an interesting description of Jesus. Acts 10:38 "Jesus of Nazereth . . . who went about doing good." There are many other ways I would think of to describe Jesus to someone before I thought of that one. Son of God. Man of Sorrows. King. Loving Savior. Yet, Peter's description is perfectly correct. When you think of His life, Jesus went about doing good. So, if I am a disciple of Christ -- and disciple means a trained one or one who has been taught to do what his master did -- then my life should be defined by going about doing good too, right? So, the first question should be exactly how did Jesus do good?
He had compassion on the unfortunate.
Matt. 14:14 "And he came forth, and saw a great multitude, and he had compassion on them, and healed their sick." Of course Jesus worked miracles to confirm that His message was from God. He was establishing Himself as the Messiah. But if displays of power were the only end to His miracles, He could have done anything. He chose to heal, because He had compassion. People needed help and He had the ability to help, and so He did.
He also showed compassion when He fed the hungry. Mark 8:2-3 "I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and if I send them away fasting to their home, they will faint on the way; and some of them are come from far." This is the time He fed the five thousand and again, a chief motivation to use this sign was His compassion for those unable to help themselves.
Finally, He comforted the bereaved. Luke 7:12-15 "Now when he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, there was carried out one that was dead, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came nigh and touched the bier: and the bearers stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother." This lady was already a widow and now her only child had died. Beyond the grief normal to any mother, she now was without any means of support. She was grieving both her son and her own imminent destitution. Jesus had compassion on her.
Another way Jesus went about doing good is that He taught the good news.
Matt. 4:17 "From that time began Jesus to preach, and to say, Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." The book of Matthew is mostly a collection of His sermons. John, a treatise on His miracles, is still mostly comprised of sermons and personal discourses to His apostles. During the time of His earthly ministry Jesus never stopped proclaiming the good news. He proclaimed that the kingdom was coming. He told parable after parable describing the kingdom. He taught against the formulaic ritualism of the Pharisees and taught the disciples about being servants. He never quit sharing God's good news.
Finally, Jesus sacrificed for others. Rom. 5:8 "But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." He gave up His own so that others might have what they needed.
As His disciples, we can and should be doing these things ourselves.
We can have compassion on those less fortunate.
While we cannot miraculously heal the sick, we can tend to them. One of the qualifications of a "widow indeed" in 1 Tim. 5:10 is that she "relieve the afflicted." And, of course, all Christian can pray. James 5:14-15 "Is any among you sick? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save him that is sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, it shall be forgiven him." While this mentions the elders specifically, we know from a few verses later that the prayers of the righteous all work to good.
We can also work to relieve the unfortunate and feed the hungry.
Gal 2:9-10 "and when they perceived the grace that was given unto me, James and Cephas and John, they who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship, that we should go unto the Gentiles, and they unto the circumcision; only they would that we should remember the poor; which very thing I was also zealous to do." What did Peter et al urge Paul to do? What did Paul say he was already zealous to do? Help the poor. Act 11:28-30 "And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be a great famine over all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius. And the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren that dwelt in Judaea: which also they did, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul." These disciples heard of a need and immediately determined to help. Seems like that was a major focus of first century Christianity. Can we do that today? Yes, I know, "If any will not work, neither let him eat.' 2 Thess. 3:10, but not all who are having trouble are unwilling to work, and could it possibly be that we are just looking for excuses not to help? Many just need a hand and, while we can't miraculously feed 5,000 at once, we can help. Remember, the first person raised from the dead in the book of Acts wasn't the Apostle James or the great speaker Stephen, but Dorcas who spent her life taking care of the unfortunate (Acts 9:38-41).
Finally, we can comfort the bereaved.
Rom. 12:15 "Rejoice with them that rejoice; weep with them that weep." James 1:27 "Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." We can't raise anyone from the dead, but we can be with them, weep with them, sit with them. We can see to their needs as they go through their grieving process and beyond if the death has left them without support. We can't work miracles, but in every way that Jesus showed compassion, we can too.
And we can all teach the Gospel. Not all are gifted with the abilities to be teachers, whether in a public way or in one-on-one settings. Nor should all try (James 3:1). But every Christian can live his/her life in such a way that his light shines for all the world to see (Matt. 5:14-16). We can all be ready to explain the reason for the hope we in Christ (1 Pet. 3:15). This doesn't need to be erudite exposition, just a simple reason why we have hope. If a Christian who doesn't teach then interests his friend or neighbor he can call on one of the teachers to help follow up. But all can proclaim the Gospel in our lives.
We can also sacrifice for others. 1 Cor. 8:13 "Wherefore, if meat causeth my brother to stumble, I will eat no flesh for evermore, that I cause not my brother to stumble." The eating of meat isn't a problem in modern churches, but anything I'm doing that could harm a brother -- even if I have a right to do it -- should be sacrificed for our love for each other. 1 Cor. 6:7 "Nay, already it is altogether a defect in you, that ye have lawsuits one with another. Why not rather take wrong? why not rather be defrauded?" It is better to accept wrong than cause trouble in the church. We can, and should, sacrifice our desires for our brethren.
Our Lord went about doing good. Can we do any less?