Saturday, September 12, 2015

What Would Jesus Do?

WWJD? Is it just a bumper sticker that Christians put on their cars? Does the fact that we have the T-shirt mean that we know what it means?

If you want to know what Jesus would do, you have to read the gospels in the New Testament. Mathew, Mark, Luke and John tell us very specifically what Jesus would do; what He did. I think sometimes we read the written record of Jesus' life and we really miss the point of what it means to be Christlike.

Yes, I know He is the Son of God with powers, knowledge and determination that I will never have. I know that He is perfect, but still, He lived as He did when He was here to set us, and His people at the time, an example.

I, and my Sunday school class, have embarked on a study of the book of Matthew. It is something that is rapidly turning into a study of the life and teaching of Jesus. I have not been able to teach Matthew without also going to the other gospels for details of the same events. The whole thing is growing into a monster study and I love it. The class seems to be enjoying to. There has been much discussion and questions explored. We are moving at a snail's pace, but I think this is a good thing. We are using no lesson book and the Bible is our only guide. I am willing for them to go down into every nook and cranny of scripture to find correct meaning. I believe it is genuine Bible study. The class members are a wise bunch. I have no fear of heresy spreading.

That being said, I think we are genuinely discovering what it is that Jesus would (did) do. And it has been surprising for some. After the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus immediately began doing some amazing and remarkable things that  the Jewish religious leaders of His time would never have done.

He allowed a leper to approach him for healing. Lepers were unclean according to the law of Moses and so was anyone that touched them. Jesus touched him and healed him.

Jesus worked with a Gentile Centurion to heal his servant. Jews steered clear of Gentiles as much as possible to avoid spiritual contamination.

Jesus cast out demons that tormented many. He had no fear of evil spiritual influences. Rather, He did what He could to ease the suffering of those tormented by Satan and his servants.

Jesus allowed women to approach him and speak with him. One such woman was experiencing constant bleeding for a number of years. No doctor could help her. Jesus did. Jews were to avoid contact with blood and Jewish men were to avoid contact with any woman that was not a part of their immediate family. Jesus did not seem to care about this. He was more interested in helping. He did not rely on every nuance of the law to relieve Him of responsibility.

Jesus was not above touching the dead either, though forbidden by Jewish law. Jairus' daughter comes to mind in this regard. Of course, she was not dead for very long. It's amazing what being touched by Jesus can do for someone.

Then there's Matthew himself. He was a Jewish boy, but he did not have a good reputation. He was a tax collector, viewed by his people as an agent of Rome and a sinner and traitor. Jesus invited this sinner to join his group and He even ate at Matthew's house with his friends who were also 'publicans and sinners'.

All of this got Jesus much criticism, but when he claimed to have authority to forgive sin, that was kind of the last straw for his critics.

So that's what Jesus would do. Are you doing stuff like that? I know you can't heal or raise the dead, but are you helping? Are you loving? Are you showing mercy and compassion toward those in need?

Or are you like Jesus' critics, avoiding publicans and sinners and certain races or nationalities or those among your own that have been weakened by sin or poor health or evil circumstance?

Brothers and Sister! We cannot behave that way. We have to look to do what Jesus would do and try to emulate His behavior. We can even forgive when someone sins against us if we are willing to get over ourselves and off our high horses.

So the next time you are vexed wondering what Jesus would do, read a few chapters out of one of the gospels and then go do something about whatever it is. You will ultimately be blessed for it and Jesus will be smiling down on you as you go out among 'them' like He did.

Hang in there Christian. It's only going to get better and if it doesn't, it will. :^)))

I love y'all. Se ya in Church!      

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