Wednesday, May 09, 2007

What did Jesus do?

I've always thought What did Jesus do? was a much better question than the hypothetical What would Jesus do? and it seems Mike Fleischmann agrees. His article in Today's Christian, published by Christianity Today, is well worth reading in its entirety.

Fleischmann lists 7 priorities, gleaned from his reading of the four Gospels which he believes guided Jesus' earthly life:
1. He sought the Father.
Forty-five times in the Gospels we are told Jesus went away alone to pray.
2. He embraced the outcasts.
Jesus embraced the sinful and sickly, the unseemly and unimportant.
3. He restored broken lives.
He cast out demons, healed broken bodies, raised the dead, forgave the sins of the guilty and even provided for people's financial needs. He showed that God's power is sufficient to meet every need.
4. He confronted hypocrisy.
Jesus demonstrated the heart of God by standing against lifeless religion. He openly confronted religious hypocrisy, inciting great opposition that ultimately led to his execution. Jesus repeatedly rebuked religious people who buried the true heart of God in their manmade traditions He cleansed the temple because people were using God's house for their own gain.
What would Jesus do? He would go on record against people who act in the name of God to hurt others. He'd stand up against crusaders parading with signs that venomously attack and label others. And he'd speak out against those who profit from the oppressed but who claim their God is full of compassion.
5. He taught God's Word.
He was always helping people discover his Father. Although he was the incarnate Word, he often directed people back to God's written Word.
You don't need to be a minister of Sunday School teacher to do this. Teaching simply requires being so filled with God's Word that it naturally overflows from our lives into the lives of those around us.
6.He served.
Sometimes we feel we're so busy doing God's work that we don't have time for people. But God's work is people! His business is helping a homeless couple find shelter before nightfall. His business is praying with a child for her sick kitty and reading the Bible with a new Christian. His business is pushing a stalled car through the intersection and taking that midnight phone call from a struggling friend.
7.He equipped leaders.
Besides sharing God's love with others, Jesus trained a future generation to continue his mission mission and change the world after his departure.

These seven priorities should drive us back to the gospels to take a fresh look at how Jesus lived. The fad phase of WWJD may be over, but we need to hold on to those bracelets and keep asking ourselves—What would Jesus do? It's a great question. But remember: If we're not sure what Jesus actually did in his life, then we're just guessing at what he might do in ours.

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