What would Jesus do: Remember that one? Just in case you missed the 90’s, that was the Christian youth catch phrase to end all others. There were backpacks, bracelets, t-shirts, teddy bears, pencils, bumper stickers, and the list goes on. If it could be printed, it was.
The question wasn’t new. “What would Jesus do” is asked by the characters in the short novel In His Steps by Charles Sheldon. The locals of a small church congregation are challenged to ask this simple question before making any decision of consequence, and their lives are changed in the process. The only problem, of course, is that we cannot always know for certain what Jesus would do in a particular circumstance. What then?
I asked my BCM youth this question last week, and they came up with “Read the Bible” pretty quickly. It was a good answer. The four gospels give us the narrative biography of Jesus’ life, and detail several miracles, parables, lessons, and a few sermons. We can read his words and try to get at his motives. Last night I came back with another, sometimes more definite, way of know what Jesus would do; we can study what he did.
There is an old saying that actions speak louder than words. Rather than just study the things Jesus said, and/or instructed others to do, we can look at the things he actively did. Jesus encountered the wicked and the faithful; he was worship by some and nearly murdered by others; some people followed him around just to test him, while others believed he was the Son of God. We can discover a wealth of information about becoming Christlike if we find the lessons in these encounters. How does Jesus respond to criticism? What does he think of paying taxes? Did he honor Cesar? Did Jesus ever get mad? Was he ever extremely happy? How did he talk to sinners? What types of things impressed him? By learning all we can about exactly what he did in different situations, we can make a more educated guess about what he might do in our place.
I have written several posts on the examples given by Jesus, and have at least a few more to add. Jesus’ example is listed under categories in the right-hand sidebar. Why do I keep writing articles on this subject? Because we told in scripture to have the mind in us that Christ had, to be imitators of Christ, and like the disciples to continue the work he began. We are the body of Christ. Knowing what his body did is our first clue to what we should be doing now.