A question that is often asked and has become somewhat of a slogan for some, especially youth groups in various churches is, “What would Jesus do?” The idea is to ask oneself this question when faced with some situation wherein one is not sure of the right choice to make. When one might reason that it would be perfectly within his right to do something, but also realize that it might be ethically questionable, considering what Jesus would do would certainly be a noble and wise course to take. In fact, in all matters it would be wise to consider what Jesus would do. However, it would seem that, given thought, we would have to realize that we do not always know what Jesus would do in certain situations. Honestly, how many of us, without our prior knowledge of Him having done so, would have thought that when Jesus entered the temple in Jerusalem and found the debauchery and lack of respect for things holy, would do what He did (John 2:13-17)? We would expect Him to respond with words of correction and rebuke, but not with the driving them out of the temple and turning over the tables and such. Generally speaking, we can only apply the general character of Jesus in our efforts to do what Jesus would do. Yet, there are some things that we can know, without a shadow of a doubt, that Jesus would do.
We know that Jesus would die in order to be obedient to God! How do we know this? We know because that is what He did. The apostle Paul wrote, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:8). In the book of Hebrews we read, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered” (Heb. 5:8). Many times obedience to God does not require much sacrifice, but what if it does? Are we ready to do what Jesus would do, no matter the sacrifice we have to make? The verse following the one we just noted from the book of Hebrews says, “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:9). Our salvation is dependant upon our obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. For some reason, that is deemed to be too great a sacrifice for many who toot the “what would Jesus do” horn. Baptism or rather the purpose of baptism is often argued or debated among people who claim to be Christians. Some argue that one is saved at the point of belief in Christ and then should be baptized as some outward sign of an inward grace. Others point to the Bible showing that the scriptures teach that baptism is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; Mark 16:16) and puts one “into” Christ where salvation is (Rom. 6:3-4; II Tim. 2:10). Baptism is just one of many examples that could be cited of commands of God that are set aside for man’s own opinions. We know what Jesus would do, He would obey God, no matter the cost to him. How much better when obedience results in no physical pain. To refuse to obey God is a sure indication that no matter what the mouth is saying, one is not really interested in doing what Jesus would do. Jesus once spoke of some saying, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matt. 15:8).
We know that Jesus would die in order to save souls! How do we know that? We know it because that is just exactly what He did. The Hebrew writer said, “…by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us…How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Heb. 9:12, 14). Since every Christian is taught by God’s word to teach others, this is really a continuation of the point about obeying God. We know what Jesus would do about trying to save souls, but what about the majority of those calling themselves Christians today? In some lands today, one might have to do what Jesus did and die in order to save souls. For the most part, in this land at this time, we are still free to teach others. Are we really interested in doing what Jesus would do? One thing for sure. Jesus would teach only the word of God, not man’s opinions, and He would do it even if it did cost Him His life.
One more thing we know that Jesus would do is that He would die for the church! How do we know this? Because that is just exactly what He did. Paul said, Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also love the church, and gave himself for it” (Eph. 5:25). He also said that Christ purchased the church with his own blood (Acts 20:28). In a land full of people who do not have the time to even regularly attend the services of the church, much less put forth the effort that a Christian is truly responsible for, maybe some should re-ask that question, “What would Jesus do?”. We know what Jesus would do for the church. The real question is what are we willing to do for the church. Are we willing to sacrifice our time, our money, our abilities and even our own life if required?
Robert Oliver is pastor of The Church of Christ and a long-time columnist for The Sampson Independent. Send any questions or comments to: [email protected]