What would Jesus do? From what I can recall, this became a popular question in the mid 1990s. Youth groups would come to DOOR looking for an answer to this question. Later on I began to see bumper stickers, T-shirts, jewelry and even a few tattoos asking this same question. Initially, I found that folks who were asking this question were honestly seeking an answer – What would Jesus do if he were confronted with the same situations I am facing?
At some point along the way it switched from being a question to becoming an answer.
It seemed to me that folks were making a statement – deep down, they knew what Jesus would do. This question that used to invite people on a journey of discovery somehow became a statement of judgment. I found myself facing this question when others did not approve of what I was doing – to be honest; I have used this question for the same purpose. I have actually found this question to be a useful “Spiritual manipulation” tool!
The major problem with thinking that we know the answer to this question is scripture. Every time that Jesus’ closest friends, the disciples, think they know how Jesus will respond to a situation, Jesus surprises them. He was known for hanging out with the “wrong” people – tax-collectors, lepers and women. It was the religious leaders who complained the most. They were the ones who thought they knew the answer to the question.
Maybe this entry is more of a confession. I suspect that my answers to the question have become somewhat self-serving. If I can get you to answer the question the same way I would – then my life is easier and less complicated. Somehow I want to get to a place where the question becomes an honest invitation for others to join with me in the journey of faith in Jesus, because, like the disciples, I find myself constantly surprised by what Jesus would do and who he would include.