Saturday, February 26, 2011

What would Jesus do?

Jesus is, to put it simply, our role model. Looking at His life we see things He did that we must emulate. There are many, each worth discussion, but here are four I believe are key.

He loved God. He hated sin.

And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. (14) And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: (15) And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; (16) And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise. (17) And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. (Jn 2:13-17)
Both Joshua 1:8 and Psalm 1:2 tell us to meditate on God's Word "day and night." David in Psalm 63:6 states, "When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches." Something we meditate on becomes our primary focus. We think about it all the time.

Athletes will so absorb themselves in their sport that it becomes all they do to the exclusion of everything else. They adjust what they eat to better their performance. They adjust their schedule to allow more time to exercise and practice their craft. In this same way, God's Word needs to get all our attention. We measure everything we think, speak, or do by what is contained in it.

When Jesus entered the temple, he had just left the marriage feast at Cana. God's power flowing through Him turned the water into wine. It's no wonder then, with the memory of that still in His thinking, that He was so angry when He entered the temple and found the money changers there. His zeal, His ardor or fervency, for God and against sin, consumed Him. He would not compromise His faith for the sin of the present day.

We too must refuse compromise. As your mother used to say, "If they asked you to jump off a cliff, would you do it?" Sin is sin, folks, no matter how popular that sin as become. Jesus loved God, but He hated sin. Therefore, so do I! I would do what Jesus did.

He guarded His words.

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: (22) Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: (23) Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously. (1Pe 2:21-23)
Jesus knew when to speak and when not to speak. He understood the power of His words to affect His life and the lives of those around Him. When the devil tempted Him in the wilderness, Jesus spoke only the Word of God. (Mt 4:1-10) When He stood before Pilate, we are told He gave no answer, no defense. (Mt 27:14)

Looking at these incidents separately, we see several important things. First, the temptation of the devil was a mental struggle. The Bible in Hebrews 4:15 states that Jesus "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." In short, He's been there. He knows how we feel. How many times have we struggled with the thoughts that come into our head? And what is our greatest defense against them? It is the same defense as Jesus gave at that moment. He said, "It is written." Ephesians 6 tells us to take up God's armor, which armor includes the Word of God as the sword of our offense. (v11,17) The Word of God spoken in our mouths combats the lies the devil places into our thoughts. Jesus didn't discuss His options with the devil. He didn't repeat what the devil had said. He didn't write it down. He didn't murmur or complain about it. Instead, He spoke the Word and the devil left!

On the other hand, as Jesus stood before Pilate being accused falsely, He said nothing at all. (Mt 27:12) I used to think this was strictly to fulfill what He knew was the plan of God for His life. Yet I believe now there was a deeper purpose. Jesus refused to allow His words to be the condemnation of any man. Against even those who were there to falsely accuse Him, He wouldn't offer defense. If you think about that, how could He? How could the Lamb of God, come to die for all of man's sin, stand there and argue, "What he just said about me is a lie!" In the face of extreme adversity and the sting of man's tongues, Jesus shut up.

There is a lesson to be learned in these. There are times when we must speak God's Word to combat the devil and other times when we must hush to avoid bringing shame on people. This is what Jesus did. This is what we must also do.

He forgave.
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. (Lk 23:34)
We look to Jesus as our example of greatest forgiveness, yet oftentimes we don't do what is required to forgive. Thinking back again to the story of Pilate. When Jesus didn't answer to accuse the false speakers, He also refused to walk in unforgiveness. This is evidenced by His words in Luke 23:34 where He forgave everyone. Hebrews 12:4 states, "Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin." This is the sobering truth. We haven't. Nothing we come up against will ever compare with the struggle of Christ on that day. Therefore, we should walk as He did, in forgiveness.

I heard a preacher say in speaking about the story of man with the palsy that when Jesus said, "Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?" He was describing the SAME POWER available to do both. I admit I never understood Jesus' statement. But I see it now! The same power that forgives, heals. We cannot cut short one without it affecting the other. This is what Jesus did. He forgave, looking for His own eternal redemption and the "joy set before Him." (Heb 12:2)

We must also forgive, and we forgive as much through our speech as our actions. To move forward in our lives, we stop looking back at what was or might have been. This is true forgiveness. (Heb 11:15)

He gave.

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. (Mt 4:23)
In Jesus' life we see physical healing, mental healing, and the provision of money. He healed the blind, strengthed withered limbs, and restored men who were consumed with leprosy. However, he also delivered people not in their right mind. He brought them to a place of sanity and peace. (Mk 5:15;Lk 8:35) There are so many stories like this in the Bible.

Yet Jesus' giving wasn't limited to physical healings. He also gave prosperity. He turned the water into wine. (Jn 2:7) He multiplied the loaves and the fishes, not once but twice. (Mt 14:17;Mark 6:38) He caused Peter to catch his greatest boat-load of fish ever. (Lk 5:4)

But here is the fantastic truth! Jesus said we would do "greater works" than these! That's "GREATER!" (Jn 14:12) When we see a need, like Jesus, we do what we must to fill it. This could be prayer; it could be the laying on of hands; or it could be a financial gift. Whatever the need, we use our faith to help others to the same extent we use it to help ourselves, and this pleases God. (Heb 11:6)

What would Jesus do? Like Him we hear, believe, and obey God's Word. We love God, but hat sin. We use our words as healing and forgiveness. We strive to help others. And in the process, we come out clean vessels fitted for the Master's use. That's what Jesus did, so that's what we must do.

Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

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