Summary: We don't have to guess what Jesus WOULD do... we know what he DID.
What DID Jesus Do?
I was recently sitting in a preacher meeting and I noticed that Kevin James was wearing socks with “W.W.J.D.” printed on them. I have seen other people wearing bracelets, hats, key chains, t-shirts, and other items with the “W.W.J.D.”
I think the whole idea is a good one.
Our scripture verse for the day makes is plain that such a question should become a type of guiding principle of our lives. It should serve as a moral compass, helping us to apply many abstract elements of our Christian faith to many practical questions we face each day.
However, this hypothetical question presupposes we have already answered another equally important, yet less obvi¬ous, question: What did Jesus do?
If we don’t know what Jesus DID do in His life, how can we expect to guess what He WOULD do in ours?
We can look at the four gospels with these questions in mind and discover six priorities that guided Jesus’ decisions. These themes in His life can serve as a framework for the choices we face daily.
1. Seeking the Father.
Jesus demonstrated intimacy with God by seeking Him continually in prayer. Sometimes this fact boggles my mind. Jesus Christ, the second person of the trinity, made it a priority to spend time with God.
Forty-five times the gospels tell us that Jesus went alone to pray.
Every aspect of His life and ministry was saturated with prayer.
Mark 1 gives us a glimpse of Jesus early in His ministry. His life was swirling with people, needs, and opportunities. Jesus ministered around the clock, preaching, teaching, casting out demons, healing the sick, and training leaders. The crowds were growing in size and enthusiasm. One night, Jesus had been up late serving these people. But the next day, “very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got tip, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mk. 1:35).
In a similar situation, I prob¬ably would have rationalized that I deserved the sleep and needed it to serve at full strength.
Jesus, however, was committed to drawing strength from His Father through prayer, even if something else had to give.
He prayed when He could have been sleeping or teaching.
He prayed alone when people wanted to be with Him.
When He was popular and when He was a fugitive, when He faced difficult decisions and when He was tempted by trials, Jesus prayed. What would Jesus do?
He would make time to com¬mune with the Father, connect with His power, and concentrate on His purposes. He might sleep less, work less, or be with people less,
but He would find time to pray.
2. Embracing and Accepting People
Jesus demonstrated the love of God by accepting the cast¬aways of society. This provoked great disdain from the reli¬gious establishment. But Jesus was much less squeamish than most about embracing the sinful and sickly, the unseemly and unimportant.
Luke 5 offers a good example. Shortly after accepting Jesus’ invitation to follow Him, Levi (later known as Matthew) “held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eat¬ing with them” (v. 29). On the social-ethical scale of the day, tax collectors landed somewhere between a pimp and something that crawls out from tinder a rock. An upstand¬ing individual would not associate with them at all.
But Jesus not only talked to Levi; he asked the man to become His disciple (v.27). Then He went to the tax col¬lector’s house for a party with other unsavory folk. In that culture, eating together meant receiving each other in rela¬tionship. With such a questionable collection of charac¬ters, I imagine the music was a little loud, the air was a little smoky, and some of the jokes were a little questionable.
And don’t think Jesus didn’t hear about it. Luke 5:30 says, “The Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”’ Jesus’ reply revealed His priorities: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, hut the sick” (v. 31).
What would Jesus do? He would spend time with the sickly and sinful, proving He genuinely cared about them— even at the risk of catching flak from the uptown crowd.
3. Restoring the Broken
Jesus demonstrated the power of God by restoring the lives of broken people.
Isaiah said this would be one of the defin¬ing qualities of the Messiah (Is. 61:1-3),
The Spirit of the LORD God has taken control of me! The LORD has chosen and sent me to tell the oppressed the good news, to heal the brokenhearted, and to announce freedom for prisoners and captives. This is the year when the LORD God will show kindness to us and punish our enemies. The LORD has sent me to comfort those who mourn, especially in Jerusalem. He sent me to give them flowers in place of their sorrow, olive oil in place of tears, and joyous praise in place of broken hearts. They will be called “Trees of Justice,” planted by the LORD to honor his name.