By Don Koenig
These days the cliché what would Jesus do? (WWJD) is used by many Christians as a trite answer to all the dilemmas they face. Rather than using sound arguments from the scriptures on various topics they just say, "what would Jesus do?". I hear many such trite sayings these days. People seem to be speaking in sound bites and just repeating what they heard some TV preacher say or what they read in some book. In many cases that is exactly what they are doing. Some of the trite sayings and clichés sound good on the surface until you dig a little deeper and logically examine them. When this is done, many of these sayings are simply not valid, reliable or even truthful statements. For example, the very popular cliché "what would Jesus do?" goes something like this in a conversation, "I just try to do what I think Jesus would do in each situation." Oh really? Can you really get into God's mind and know what God would do in your situation?
A prime example of how this saying was not appropriate was heard by me in a former Sunday school class that I attended. The class discussed whether or not lying is always wrong and always a sin even when it is done to protect the lives of others. The example given was Christians protecting Jews in Nazi Germany by hiding them and telling the authorities falsehoods. This is the answer one person gave the class. "I try to think of what Jesus would do in that situation. Jesus would not lie in any situation, so I should not lie in any situation either even to protect their lives. We should tell the truth and let whatever will happen happen, because God is in control".
I am sure this person meant well, but I hope if she really believes what she said that she never is the one backing me in a foxhole (woman should not be allowed in foxholes anyway). God works through people on this earth for His purposes. Therefore, to take humanity out of the picture in a real world crisis would hypothetically be removing God from the situation. To say whatever will happen will happen is fatalism. God does use people to change situations and accomplish His will on the earth. When He speaks to your heart to take action to protect those that are being harmed by others and you do nothing, He will find someone else and they will get the reward you could have had.
Yes, Jesus would not lie, but does she have any clue what Jesus would do in that example or even what Jesus actually did do through His earthly representatives during those evil days? If Jesus were physically present, would He lie? Of course not, He is God and judgment is in His power. When someone is all powerful there is no need to deceive.
If Jesus were physically present He would either deal with the wicked instantly, or for His own purposes He would deal with the wicked later. Read about what Jesus did to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Read in the book of Revelation what Jesus is going to do to the wicked at His return. When Jesus walked the earth as a man He did not lose any of His disciples and no one could do anything to Him or them before the appointed time when Jesus would allow it.
Jesus drove the money changers who were doing evil out of the temple. The Jews sent a small army to capture Jesus to bring Him before the leaders of Israel and they would not succeeded if He did not allow it. All this really should give us a clue about the nature of Jesus. The reason Jesus would not and could not lie to protect the innocent is that He could never be placed in that situation. That of course is not true of you or I; we are not God. So the trite saying and comparison that was made by saying "I would copy what I believe Jesus would do in the Nazi situation, totally fails. Just saying to yourself "what would Jesus do?" will fail to correctly solve your dilemma in many situations.
A more appropriate thing to ask ourselves is, "What would Jesus want me to do in this situation?" the correct answer to that can only be known through knowledge of the Word of God and through proper understanding of it which comes by meditating on God's Word and through prayer.
As I implied we should be aware of what Jesus actually did in the Nazi situation. Jesus was in control even then. He works on earth through His people! He obviously inspired some God fearing men to save a remnant of Israel by any means necessary including human deception. You see, there are higher moral laws than telling people the truth.
If you know your truth will get people murdered you are not being moral by telling the murderer the truth about where they can be found. If your truth telling causes people to get murdered that would not have been murdered if you deceived those trying to kill them, you also would be guilty of their murder under moral law.
Does anyone really believe that a truth telling accessory to murder stands on morally higher ground than someone who deceives to try to save someone's life? Furthermore, Jesus used His Church to influence leadership in a group of nations to destroy Nazi Germany. In addition to what Jesus did, there is also something that Jesus will do in the future, each individual that lived in that nation will answer for any evil deeds they did on judgment day. That is what Jesus would do, did do, and will do in that situation but these are not things that we can do.
Those who truly believe they can emulate Jesus should heal the sick, raise the dead, die on the cross, take all sins of the world upon themselves, and speak a new creation into existence and then judge the fallen world with perfect justice. That is what Jesus did and will do. So why are those making this claim not following His perfect example?
Why are they so selective in what they think they can emulate? Obviously the answer is, we are not the Son of God and we can not do what He did. So then why does anyone think they can do what Jesus would do when we all have imperfect understanding? Any true understanding of God's will in situations that we find ourselves in comes from studying the word of God with enlightenment by the Holy Spirit, not from reciting trite mantras.
Jesus does not tell us to imitate Him, for this is impossible; Jesus tells us to follow Him into His death and resurrection. When we do that, Jesus will give us spiritual life and spiritual gifts to do His work on earth. Jesus is our perfect example of a man who kept all moral law. However, no man with a sin nature can keep the moral law nor can he walk in the shoes of Jesus while still in this this body of flesh.
We do have many examples of shoes we can walk in while in this body of flesh. They can be found in Hebrews chapters 10 and 11 (people of faith). The regenerated man lives now by the law of faith. The law of faith is the highest law because scripture makes it clear that you cannot please God without it.
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
If the law of faith pleases God, then it supersedes any of the moral laws which Paul told us were given to us to show us that we can not keep the moral law. Therefore, to please God we must come to God's Savior through the law of faith for forgiveness of our transgressions against God's moral law. This higher law of faith declares that anything not done in faith is sin (Rom 14:23). Conversely, anything done in true faith is not sin. So what is faith and where does it come from? Faith is trusting and believing God, which also means believing the Word of God (the Bible). Christians are to live under the law of faith because when we keep that law, the moral law has been fulfilled by Christ in us.
Rom 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Therefore it might sound wonderful for someone to say, "What would Jesus do in this situation?" but the answer is vanity because no one can know without a perfect understanding of God. The instructions on how Christians are to live are given to us mainly through the New Testament teachings and the Psalms and Proverbs.
Perhaps more of us should learn what these scriptures teach rather than learning a one sentence trite cliché that some think fits all of life's situations. It really does not! Let us learn from scripture and prayer about what God wants us to do in each circumstance and not try to parrot what we think God's Son might have done in our circumstance. All the collective human reasoning in the world is infinitely inadequate to understand the Godly mind of Jesus.
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