We’ve all heard the phrase, “What would Jesus do?” made famous in the book, In His Steps, by Charles Sheldon. And in the story a pastor challenges his congregation for one year, that before they do anything to ask the question, “What would Jesus do?” I think to really answer that question we have to first ask ourselves, “What did Jesus do?” Rev. Steve Miller, who has been meeting with the Ministerial Fellowship to help us with the ministry of reconciliation, said that one of the greatest challenges he received was to look in the scriptures and really think about that question and the answer.
I started reading the other evening in the gospel of Luke (Matthew already gets lots of attention being first but Luke is an excellent read too). After his baptism and temptation, as he is beginning his ministry the first thing he does is to go home. On the Sabbath in Nazareth Jesus reads the scripture from Isaiah 61, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18,19) We don’t have to wonder very long what Jesus would do, he tells us himself. He preached good news, he proclaimed freedom, he gave sight to the blind, he released the oppressed and proclaimed the year of God’s favor. Time and time again we see Jesus reaching out to the common man, the poor, the outcast and making a connection with them. Yes, he taught, but not from haughty pride, but from love. He healed the sick and cast out demons, not to impress people with himself, but to impress on them that his message was from the Father. As someone has said he comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable.
If I am to live out this idea of living as Jesus would have, I have to not worry about what society says, at both the local level (my neighbors) and the national level (media). Now realize this, as Jesus lived out the Father’s will that put him at odds not only with secular society but with the religious leaders of his day. Jesus’ sharpest words and disputes weren’t with the heathen, they were with the Pharisees and teachers of the Law. Courage to live as Jesus did is courage to stand your ground even with those you love. So ask yourself when you post something on Facebook is this something Jesus would do (if he had had Facebook, of course he didn’t). When you take a stand are you standing with society or are you standing with Jesus? And here’s one more thing I can’t answer that for you. You need to be in the word, in prayer and seeking God’s will for your life to know the answer, “Is this what Jesus would do?”