— By LOU TISCIONE
So much can go wrong when the wrong question is asked. For the past several years, the Christian youth culture has been inundated with a question that seems profound. Bracelets have been for sale with the imprinted question, “What would Jesus do?”
The motivation for the question is generally genuine. It suggests that those who ask it are seeking direction. After all, what better direction could there be then to ask the Lord what He would do in situations that we all face in life?
But, I suggest that the question causes more confusion than clarity. There is a desire for every Christian to do what God requires. Every Christian confesses that Jesus is Lord. Our confession of the Lordship of Christ is a declaration that we will live under His commands. We affirm that Jesus’ commands are the word of God written, the Bible.
So then, what’s wrong with asking, “What would Jesus do?” The question indicates that there is some thought being given to know God’s will. Yet, I believe that there is a fundamental problem revealed by the desire to know what Jesus would do.
The problem with the question is with the use of the word, “would.” The truth is no one has to wonder about what Jesus would do because the Bible reveals what He did. In fact, the most significant absence of truth in our churches is that many believers of all ages do not know what Jesus actually did while He walked among us. The most notable deficiency in the church is knowledge of the person and work of Christ. We don’t want to spend the time and effort to study the person and work of Christ. It is much more attractive to seek simple answers to the questions of life. Many in the church are attracted to participate in programmatic studies that promise to give biblical answers to every decision in life. For example, programs are designed to answer what Jesus would do in this (fill-in your own blank) circumstance.
Observers of the current Christian culture have noted that the church will continue to be challenged as a result of the general lack of teaching and application of the person and work of Christ.
The entirety of the Bible is the revelation from God concerning His plan of redemption centered in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, in short, what DID Jesus do? First, He knew that He accomplished something. The very last words He spoke from the cross were, “It is finished.” (John 19:30). Jesus proclaimed from the cross that He completed the work that the Father sent Him to do. He completed God’s plan of redemption!
Secondly, the Apostle Paul wrote that Jesus obeyed the Father to the point of death, even death on a cross,” (Philippians 2:8). So then, the mystery is solved. What did Jesus do? He obeyed the Father by completing God’s plan of redemption which He set in eternity.
Thirdly, Jesus’ work bears upon the life of every Christian. Jesus became our sin offering so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him, (2 Corinthians 5:21). Notice that Christians are called upon to become the righteousness of God in Christ. When we are seeking to understand a direction to take in life or when we are considering options before us, we are to seek the direction or the option that is holy. The Bible teaches that God’s will for every Christian is to be holy. We have committed to live under the Lordship of Christ. We live our lives under the word of God.
The Apostle Paul said that since he was crucified with Christ, as all true Christians are, he no longer lived but Christ lived in him and his life was lived by faith in the Son of God, (Galatians 2:20). When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, he phrased the Christian Life with different words. He said, “We walk by faith, not by sight … if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” (2 Corinthians 5:7, 17).
To live in Christ is to live in response to what Jesus did. It is to walk by faith understanding what God the Holy Spirit has done in making us new creations. We must know what we believe and why. Simply put, Christians seek to learn and the church teaches who Jesus is and what He did!
Lou Tiscione is pastor of Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA).