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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Getting a little tired

Posted by Gary on November 7, 2008

I must confess that I am getting a little tired of hearing Christians throw out the phrase “What would Jesus do?” (WWJD). Now of course what concern could I have with doing what Jesus would do? Well this is the problem, most Christians when they use this phrase really have only half of the real Jesus. After the recent election I heard an email read addressed to Christians that made sure we knew that we should do what Jesus would do in light of the fact that we recently elected a president who is unmatched in his commitment to infant murder.

What most of these Christians mean is that we are to walk around with a glow, speak only of the love of God and do good things for other people. Yes, Jesus brings joy, God is love and I heartily concur that we should do good deeds:

Matthew 5:16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” 

Here is the essential problem I have with most chanters of “What would Jesus do?” They are not willing to consider all that Jesus would do and did do. Most fundamentally I wonder if we are blind to the fact that what Jesus did do lead to Him being hated and put to death. Most people who hold forth WWJD mean by the phrase that we are to above all cause people to think well of Christians so that they will think well of our Savior and want to receive Him. In measure nothing wrong here but where is the rest?

What Jesus said and did led more people to hate Him than love Him. Jesus not only spoke of the love of God, He warned of the danger of hell and warned people that they should also fear God:

Matthew 10:28 "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

I do marvel that we never hear about doing and saying the things He did that led people to hate Him enough to put Him to death which by the way He said would also happen to those who would do what He did:

Matthew 10:22 "You will be hated by all because of My name…”

John 15:20 "Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you…”

Let us also not forget that John the Baptist was doing what Jesus would do and the Spirit of Jesus led Paul to write everything he did in his epistles. Yes, even the things about God having roles for men and women and condemning homosexuality. Are we not to factor these realities into our application of WWJD? Would those who speak often of WWJD acknowledge that Jesus was willing to call a political leader a fox?

Luke 13:31-32 “Just at that time some Pharisees approached, saying to Him, ‘Go away, leave here, for Herod wants to kill You.’ And He said to them, "Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal.’”

How is it then that some people sense the love of Christ in His people and other people become angry at Christians and persecute them? It is a matter of God’s work in a person’s life. Those that God has chosen and called will see the beauty and love of Christ and embrace the warnings while those that God leaves to themselves will do what their sinful nature dictates, they will hate the presence of Christ in His people and rebel and persecute. When a Christian is willing to embrace doing and saying everything Jesus did, He leaves an aroma:

2 Corinthians 2:15-16 “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.”

Brethren, thank you for the reminder that we should do what Jesus would do. Let me also remind you that we are commanded to do and say all that Jesus did and at the end of the day what Jesus did and said led to Him being put to death. Is that what you mean by WWJD?

WJDD-What Jesus Did Do

Posted by Gary on May 28, 2008

Luke 4:16-30 “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down.

And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”  And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”  And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’ What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.”

And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”

When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, he went away.”

As I read this passage recently I was taken by the way of the Savior Jesus and how intent He was (and is) to do the will of God which always includes exalting God and humbling sinful man by speaking the truth.

Up until this point in Jesus’ public life all is well, could not be better. Jesus has performed miracles, the people are following and then this amazing set of circumstances.

The setting is the synagogue and Jesus is handed a role of Scripture. He reads from Isaiah a section of Scripture that is prophetic concerning the Messiah. Now understand what is happening, Jesus reads the passage, sits down and tells the people that the prophecy has been fulfilled in their hearing. We might think at this point they would say, “You’ve gone too far Jesus, you may be doing some amazing things but we are not going to tolerate this claim to be the Messiah.”

Instead we are told that after Jesus claims the fulfillment of prophecy in Himself the eyes of everyone are fixed on Him and they are all speaking well of Him and marveling at the gracious words that are coming out of His mouth. We would say that Jesus “has them”. In the realm of oration Jesus has them eating out of His hand, He is well thought of and has the favor of the people.

Now watch carefully…Does Jesus revel in the adoration and approval of the people? What a temptation this is for God’s servants. We are sinful and want to be well thought of, we want the people speaking well of us and eating out of our hands. We are loathe to do or say anything that will cause us to fall out of the people’s favor.

Bring yourself to this point in the scene: they eyes of all on Him, His praises in the mouths of all, “What a preacher”! What does Jesus do next? He goes for the jugular, He forsakes the approval of sinful man and instead proclaims to man his sin: “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’ What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.” Jesus looks into the hearts of the people and sees their sin, they are not interested in God or righteousness, they want to see miracles.

If this were not enough Jesus calls them to the time of Elijah and reminds them that there were many Hebrew widows during that time who received no miracle from God but instead it was the gentile, heathen woman from Zarephath whom God favored. Likewise there were many Hebrew lepers but it was the Syrian Naaman whom God healed.

Jesus knows full well what He is doing. He is showing the people their sinfulness, He is convicting them and in so doing He is forsaking all the favor and adoration that were His a few moments before. In a few moments Jesus is going to be hustled out of the synagogue and to the brow of a cliff to be thrown down all by His deliberate choice to speak the truth.

Are we as Christians (especially elders and pastors) willing to forsake the approval of man so that we may have the favor of God? If we are not careful we will have the favor of the people now only to have them curse us later when they face the truth in eternity. Better to have them hate us now and love us later. Better yet to have God pleased with us at all times.

John 5:44 “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?”

Lord give us the grace to love you more than ourselves and the favor of man. Give us the faithfulness that we always see in Your Son Jesus.