Jesus: I receive My nourishment by serving the will of the Father who sent Me and completing His work
– John 4:34
“What would Jesus do” became popular, particularly in the United States but elsewhere as well, in the 1990s and as a personal motto for adherents of Christianity who used the phrase as a reminder of their belief in a moral imperative to act in a manner that would demonstrate the love of Jesus through the actions …*
The inspiration for this motto came from a book written by Charles Monroe Sheldon in 1896. The book “In His Steps: What would Jesus Do?” has sold over 30,000,000 copies making it one of the best selling books of all time.
What would Jesus Do?
How do we answer this question in light of the political, social, cultural, and religious issues we witness in our world?
I believe to answer the question “what Jesus would do”, we first have to identify His mission.
The following is a list of possibilities I have compiled through conversations, social media, and numerous op/eds and opinions.
The Social Activist Jesus.
If He were here today His primary concern would be social justice.
His mission would be leading the charge against economic, social, environmental, injustice.
The Serenity Jesus (as depicted in most painting and pictures) carrying out the mission to provide harmony, serenity, peace, and at all costs to not make waves.
The Vending Machine Jesus.
Just deposit the right amount of coins (or prayers) and this Jesus produces on demand, and is primarily concerned with your health, wealth, and success.
The Political Jesus.
This Jesus identifies with one political party and supports their cause, regardless of moral and biblical shortcomings it’s advocates may have.
The end justifying the means.
The Great Moral Teacher Jesus.
This Jesus mission is to be accepted as the great moral philosopher, someone to be admired, but not worshipped.
The Religious Jesus
This Jesus has a mission to make sure we dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. And if we fail to do so is ready to speedily pass out the failing grade.
Style and ritual are the name of the game.
But only on Sundays and Wednesdays.
I have taken quite a bit of liberty and a little sarcasm to highlight what some believe is the mission of Jesus and what He would do.
The reason many failed to recognize His true mission when He walked the earth, and the reason many fail to recognize it today, is because we assign a mission He did not come to carry out.
And we base what He would or should do on that mission.
If you were to ask the Jewish people in that day what was their greatest need most would answer freedom from Roman oppression.
If you asked in our day what is the greatest need Jesus could fill many would answer from the examples I have provided. Activist Jesus, political Jesus, serenity Jesus…
But what would Jesus do about all those issues?
Is Jesus concerned with our social, political, economic, religious ills?
Yes He is.
But again we have to identify the mission before we assign expectations of what He should do about them.
Christianity.com provides great perspective in a post titled-
“What Jesus Is Not”.
Jesus was/is not a political deliverer. This is one reason some Jews of Jesus’ time could not believe He was their Savior – He didn’t deliver them from the oppression of their Roman occupiers. He never actually intended to. The deliverance Christ offered and still offers today is of a spiritual nature, reconciling mankind to God (Matthew 11:27). The peace this Messiah brings is internal. His hope is for each human to be restored to a relationship with God, which sin has broken.
Deliverance, reconciliation, peace, relationship.
These form the mission from birth to resurrection Jesus came to fulfil.
What Would Jesus Do?
Whatever it takes to make what He has already done a reality for you and I.