What Would Jesus Do?
This isn’t a WWJD bracelet or keychain. This is a serious, deep question. Same with the other posts this week. I’m not trying to jump on a trinket bandwagon. I take these questions seriously. This is how I try, and fail, to live. I don’t want to make a t-shirt or a slogan, I don’t want to shout anything or advertise anything. In peace and in stillness, I want my actions to demonstrate as best I can, with God’s help, an answer to this question, shadowy and imperfect though it may be.
Ridicule is nothing new for Jesus or his followers. People didn’t wait for Jesus to return to heaven to start mocking him and the taunting, insulting, defaming has continued for 2,000 years. So it should surprise no one to see headlines about his possible marriage, novels about his relationship with Mary Magdalene, pieces of art depicting him on a cross sunk into a bottle of urine.
When his feet still brushed this earth, while he touched lepers and raised the dead and healed women bleeding for twelve years, people abused him and friends betrayed him. He was called a bastard and a drunkard, accused of being in cahoots with Satan.
Yet never once did Jesus pull out a sword. His followers wanted to, and did, on occasion. But Jesus rebuked them. When they wanted to call down fire on people, Jesus refused. When one cut off the ear of a man come to arrest Jesus, rather than beckoning legions of angels to fight on his behalf, Jesus healed the man.
He taught that blessed are those who are persecuted on account of him, those of whom all kinds of evil things are said on account of him, because their reward in heaven will be great.
He taught that the merciful will be shown mercy.
He lived and died unafraid, unintimidated, humbly, and powerfully embracing suffering. Not hating those who hated him. Not insulting when insulted. Teaching his followers to love even those who seemed to be enemies.
The way of Jesus when he was on earth and the way of Jesus still today is the way of suffering, of humility, of forgiveness, of love. It is a gentle, quiet strength. Those who walk this way are deeply convinced of the value of every human being and are willing to live in a way that honors this value.
The way of Jesus is streams in the desert, water from a rock, life out of death, love in the place of hate.
The way of Jesus doesn’t guarantee power or honor or fame or beauty or ease or worldly success. It doesn’t guarantee anything except that, “through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom of God.”
Jesus never promised or tried to create world peace. Instead, he loved the unlovable, forgave the unforgivable, healed the shattered, comforted the grieving, strengthened the weary, gave honor to the shamed. He tore open the curtain between heaven and earth. He took on disgrace and abuse and became our peace.
And so, today, people try to walk in his footsteps, to live like he did. No one can succeed at this, we are all weak and needy and selfish. But people can press on in hope because Jesus didn’t force peace, or wish it, or wait still-ly for it.
He became it.
Other posts in this series: