If I asked the question- What do you admire about Jesus?, perhaps some would reply that their view of Jesus is way beyond mere admiration and therefore the question is mildly irreverent? Others might respond that their adherence to Jesus is not about admiration at all, it is simply a matter of spiritual survival. Their allegiance to Jesus is driven out of necessity, the need to avoid future pain and suffering.
Despite these possible attempts to divert the question, some would undoubtedly attempt to identify those things about Jesus' teachings and mode of living which they found to be admirable and therefore exemplary. Any real attempt to consider Jesus' example as our rule for living today is highly problematic. The old question of what would Jesus do often seems to lead where we would not willingly go.
Of course, some successfully ignore or discount much of the Jesus story and lay claim to "Jesus on the great white horse". These folks admire the warrior Jesus as seen in Revelation Chapter 19, so they embrace that as their example. This version of the real Jesus is more palatable than some others because it closely aligns with our normal egoic thinking. It sounds great to think that Jesus intends to destroy His enemies and ours too, some day in the future.
However, if I have to confine my take on Jesus to the words of the four Gospels, the choices are less comfortable. I could latch on to the account of Jesus cleansing the Temple in Matthew 21 and try to claim the warrior Jesus, but little else in these four books would support that depiction.
Elsewhere in the Gospels, we see a consistently uncomfortable picture of Jesus, his actions, and his teachings. The idea that we should emulate Christ in his selflessness, his meekness, his non-confrontational nature is just too, too foreign to our minds. Following Jesus in these examples quickly bring to mind the idea of failure and even suicide. It all can be easily relegated to the realm of nice in an ideal world but not practical in the real one.
In reaching such a conclusion we admit that we may admire Jesus in terms of what he accomplished through his atypical life style but not to the point hat we would want to emulate it to any real extent. Unavoidably, this implies that we take Jesus for what he did for our eternal benefit but we reject what he taught leading up to that benefit. We accept the benefit which appeals to our self interest and disallow the teachings which defy our sense of self interest. We embrace Jesus' selflessness on our behalf and reject our own selflessness on behalf of others. It's a spiritual conundrum for us all.