Summary: The pressing question of a Christian in every situation
The most popular question in Christian circles today is "What would Jesus do?" This question is the theme of a book entitled In His Steps, written by Charles Sheldon. In this fictional story, the people of a town are transformed in wonderful ways when they decide to always ask themselves the question, "What would Jesus do?" before they do anything. This question has been reduced to four letters (W.W.J.D) and these four letters have become a religious fashion item that generates a lot of cash. The fact that there is a large demand for such fashion items, shows that the desire for serious Bible study has decreased and the appetite for religious fiction has increased. Christian bookstores have found that more money is spent on fiction rather than non-fiction, and more is spent on videos, T-shirts, jewelry, and other such items than on books of any kind. Fiction is not necessarily bad, and slogans are not necessarily wrong. However, when these things replace careful reading and serious study of the Scriptures, it is wrong. When people wear W.W.J.D. items, but have no interest in studying the life of Christ as revealed in God's word, such items are worthless. While watch the NBA finals, I noticed one of the players wearing a W.W.J.D. bracelet, so I became inquisitive about his behavior, was that question on his mind or just on his arm. I do not know for sure concerning this one athlete but I have seen people with that bracelet on their arm and I thought to myself, what they were doing I hope Jesus would not do.
That question is rather subjective, the answer rest in the hands of the individual. That is risky business. Because the Bible demonstrates repeatedly that the disciples were confused about what Jesus should do, much less answering the question what would Jesus do. When you think about Peter's response to Jesus saying that He will go to Jerusalem to suffer and die. Or when his friend Lazarus was sick and dying, rather than rushing to his bedside, like we all would think Jesus would do, He tarried, which none of us including the disciples thought He would do. Or when that Roman centurion's daughter was on her deathbed, Jesus rushes to her bedside, as we all would think He would do. But when that woman with the issue of blood touches Him, He stops and hold a conversation with her, which none of us including the disciples thought He would do. The classical example of Jesus doing what no one in His time thought that He would do is His noontime visit with the Samaritan woman at the well. Figuring out what would Jesus do seems an impossible task for us. Now, I am not saying that the Bible does not give us clear mandates on what expectations Jesus has for us. John 14:34 records Jesus as saying, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." Like Jesus, we should be concern with the poor, the oppressed, the children, and the widow. When there is someone in need and it is conceivable that Jesus would stop and help and so should we. Nevertheless, in Luke 6: 31, Jesus gives us rule that should guide our decisions and our actions. A way of figuring out how to treat one another justly.
This text comes to us as part of the sermon in the plain, "the level place." For Luke, the mountain is a place of prayer (Lk. 6:12). But, down in the valley, in the level places where real people live and where real relationships are unequal and unfair. The level places where the "haves" and the "have-nots" come into contact. So Luke places this sermon down on the level place for the disciples and for the crowds in the "real world." Furthermore, Luke says that the audience for this sermon came from Tyre, from Sidon, from south and north, this is Luke's way of saying that this sermon is for everyone from the four corners of the earth. While in the opening Luke says that Jesus lifted up his eyes "on his disciples" (6:20), he closes the sermon by saying that it was in the hearing of all "the people" (7:1). This passage is one that has universal applications for all but also particular implications for the individual. So this message is not only for your neighbor, it is also for you. It is not only for "them" but it is also for us. You do not have to take out the time to look around to find out whom I am addressing, because I am addressing everyone especially you. This message has the words written across it, "Confidential" and "Please Deliver Directly to You".