I think we’re all familiar with WWJD, and many people seem to have an idea of what Jesus would or would not do, whether or not they have read or actively read the Bible.
So, I’d just like to forsake all preconceived ideas, pick one of the gospel accounts and go through a (very non-exhaustive) list of things that Jesus would do, as shown by scripture.
I really enjoy Luke, so let’s go through Luke:
Warning: I underestimated how many lessons we could learn, and how long it would take me to find and write about them, so I stopped before I was even close to the end. Maybe I’ll do the rest of Luke some other day :)
- Answer With Scripture (4:3-12)
One of my favorite observations from the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness is that for each statement of the devil, Christ responded with “It is said” or “It is written” and quoted the Scriptures to condemn Satan. The same principle is the basis for this post: what does the Bible say, instead of what opinions and ideas can we come up with. So, how do your responses to religious questions or confrontation compare to the retorts of Jesus? Are your beliefs and convictions Scripture-based?
- Expect Disciples to Forsake All (5:28; 9:23-25, 57-62, 14:25-33)
When Jesus gathered His disciples, statements like “leaving everything, he rose and followed Him”, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”, “the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head”, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God”, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God”, “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
What would Jesus do? He would live this life in such a way to leave no question as to where His priorities were. The scriptures are clear that Jesus was heaven-bound and heaven-centered. His treasures were spiritual, and He didn’t so much as build himself a home on this earth. Jesus recognized the value of the kingdom of God and lived His life serving His Father’s purpose. How do we compare?
- Teach and Help Everyone (5:17-26, 29-32; 6:27-36, 7:44-47; 8:27…)
It is well-known, I think, that Jesus spent much time with sinners. I hear this a lot, somehow used in a way to further support that Christians should never judge (scroll down to the “Judge Righteously” point to see why I disagree with that statement), so we should probably study what exactly Jesus did. I’ve only included a few examples of the people Jesus helped, but they range from: the seriously diseased and unclean, sinful (such as the married woman who was caught in an affair-okay, not in Luke, but still a scriptural example of Jesus) the very poor, paralyzed, blind, despised and dishonest, deformed, naked, possessed and rejected from common society, widows, and also respectable people and friends, and the Pharisees and even a servant of the high priest that came to seize Him. I often hear how we shouldn’t judge those in sin because Jesus ate with sinners, but if that’s what we get out of these accounts, it seems we’ve missed a huge point. Jesus wasn’t even solely concerned with ‘eating’ with sinners, He was wholly devoted to saving those who were lost in their sin, which included every single person; people I’d be willing to say you and I wouldn’t be very excited to approach. I’ve heard people who hold this ‘Jesus didn’t judge because He ate with sinners’ view, also express their absolute zero tolerance for adultery/affairs/women-who-betray-their-husbands-who-love-them-by-having-sex-with-other-men-behind-their-husband’s-back/while-he-is-at-work. I say it so bluntly because it is sin, and as such, it is honestly a difficult thing to look kindly upon, no matter who you are. Yet, Christ knows the penitent heart and is willing to embrace that woman if she turns from her sin; not only embrace Her but save her, forget her sin and never hold her accountable for it again, never bring it to remembrance. Like Jesus, our minds must be focused on loving the souls of everyone around us, desiring all sinners come to repentance. If our minds reflect the mind of Christ, we will be willing to love our enemies or those who have hurt us, even maliciously; to talk about God to the homeless man on the street corner or to the one with deformities; the one that stole from or betrayed us; those with different personalities, interests, hobbies, backgrounds, occupations, reputations, nationalities, skin colors, levels of intelligence; we won’t overlook the partying college student or rebellious teen, the drug dealer or promiscuous, the unmarried teenaged mother-of-three; the shady neighbor or unreliable co-worker, the old woman in the nursing home or the guy who never takes a bath and allegedly stole his friend’s employer’s assistant’s cell phone, twice, and lied about it. And if you’re the type that would feel more comfortable with those listed above, then the point is that you should be eager to share Christ with those outside your comfort zone: that respected government official or the successful man with five more degrees than you ever even considered obtaining, the Muslim family that just moved in next door, or the lonely widower who would tell you his life’s story all day, each day if you were willing to listen, or perhaps the person that passed harsh judgment on you before you became a Christian.
The point is, if we are like Christ, our goal will simply be to make disciples; save souls, at any cost and without regard to personal bias or past sins or appearances.
- Expect Repentance (5:32, 6:32-36, 45, 46; 8:21; 13:3; 15:7, 10; 17:3-4)
Though we just touched a little on this, let’s look at the examples. Since I’ve already brought it up, Jesus told the adulterous woman in John 8:11 to “go and sin no more.” In Luke, we see that Jesus came to call “sinners to repentance” and that he contrasted His disciples from sinners in chapter six, when exhorting them to love their enemies, because even sinners can love those who love them, implying that His disciples should be separate from sinners. Later He likens disciples to trees which cannot bear both good and bad fruit, saying “each tree is known by its own fruit…the good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil.” When we put on the name of Christ, we surely must put off “evil” ways.Then He goes on to make statements such as, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it”, “…unless you repent, you will all likewise perish”, “…there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance”, “…there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Jesus even tell us to rebuke our brother who sins, and to forgive if he repents: “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” One way in which the love of Christ is so extraordinary is that He never begrudgingly forgives us. He is willingly and eagerly merciful and loving and forgiving to anyone who repents, which is a very difficult characteristic to develop. I’m sure you know at least a few people who are simply embittered by years of abused trust and under-appreciation, maybe you are one of those people. It is a wearisome thing to maintain a disposition of open arms to all who would sin against and hurt and betray you, yet that is precisely what Jesus would do if that sinner were to repent. Forgiveness is hinged upon repentance, and like we established earlier, if our minds are set on the souls of our neighbors, we will be all the more eager to confront or rebuke as necessary, so that there may be joy and comfort in repentance.
- Encourage the Poor and Hated, Warn the Rich and Loved (6:20-26; 12:13-21, 22-32, 16:19-25, 18:18-30)
Rather than coaching His disciples on how to manage their material “blessings” or goods in this life (unless “Sell your possessions and give to the needy…Provide yourself with…a treasure in the heavens that does not fail” counts) and being responsible and successful, Jesus always maintained heaven as a priority, and this life as but a vapor. Notice, He never promises material blessings, money, good health or anything of the earth, instead He promises a heavenly and spiritual reward that will come to those who follow Him until the end. I’ll just let these thought-provoking passages speak for themselves:
“And He lifted up His eyes on His disciples, and said: Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.”
“Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me. ” But He said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And He said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And He told them a parable saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.'”
Do your priorities align with those of Christ Jesus?
- Judge Righteously (6:37-45, Matthew 7)
I was going to skip this point because I chose Luke, and there isn’t much about judging in Luke. However, it’s a necessary point, so real quick:
“Matthew 7:1-2 is often misquoted by people who believe judging is unscriptural.“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”Verse 2, however, emphasizes the importance of sincere, non-hypocritical judgment. Verse 6 goes on to show that judgment is required: “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces” (Matt. 7:6). One cannot know who is a “dog” or “swine” without judging.” – A post from someone else with the same idea about how Jesus would judge
(Also, read this post if you don’t think your sin is anyone’s business)
- Speak the Truth (11:37-54)
This is such an intriguing passage, let’s break it down:
“The Pharisee was astonished to see that He did not first wash before dinner. And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also? But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you. But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it.”
Jesus compared his actions to the actions of his host.
He used difficult words- Woe to you! Fools! Can you imagine being the Pharisee, hearing this rebuke from Jesus?
He ultimately spoke a very important truth, though, regardless of how it might hurt.Then:
“One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also.” And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. Woe to you!….Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those were were entering.” As He went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press Him hard and to provoke Him to speak about many things, lying in wait for Him, to catch Him in something He might say.”
Needless to say, His audience was offended by His (rightful and true) accusations of their hypocrisy and shallow, only outward appearance of righteousness. Yet, He continues to speak the truth, and as a result, they sought to trap and catch Him in something He might say…and ultimately deliver Him up to be crucified because of their pride, jealousy and anger.
So, that’s what Jesus did. What would you do in that situation?
- Fear God More Than Man (12:4-9)
Since there is a definite change once we become disciples of Christ, and we no longer live for this life, it is imperative that we develop an attitude of fearlessness in doing the will of God. In Luke 12, Jesus minimizes the damage of one who can only kill our physical bodies, and turns His focus to the One who can destroy us in hell. How we live our lives should reflect this knowledge; we ought to always do what will please God in the end, rather than what will please man right now. This may mean anything from risking embarrassment, ridicule or lost friendships, to actual humiliation, torture or death.
Our home, our treasure and our Father is in heaven.
And I think that’s really the key to understanding what Jesus would do.