We should follow his example of humility (Philippians 2:7), of loving each other (John 15:12), and of being merciful (Luke 6:36). If we are supposed to do everything exactly the way he did, that would include: claiming to be the prophesied messiah spoken of in scripture, performing miracles to demonstrate to the Jews that you are God’s son, and making a new covenant with the world that replaces the existing covenant. Do you believe that every follower of Jesus is called to do all these things? Of course not, which is why Jesus clarified what he wanted his followers to do in John 14:12 when he says, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” In other words, he wants to use us to build on the things he has already done.
Through Christ we have the strength to do all things (Philippians 4:13), so why use that strength to justify hurting animals instead of using it to be merciful toward them? Jesus made it undeniably clear that those who believe in him will do greater things than he did. In what ways are you today doing greater things than Jesus did? One way to do greater things is to extend that humility, that love, and that mercy beyond just your human neighbors – to your animal neighbors. By doing so, you are doing the works of Jesus but also doing greater things because through you, Christ is drawing the kingdom of God he prayed for (Matthew 6:10) ever closer to this fallen world.