What Would Jesus Do?
He would live for you.
Jesus states that “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”(John 15:13). I suppose I could probably make an argument that if He also says to “love your enemy”, then my enemy could eventually, in some sense, at some point in time, be my friend as well. And then, of course, logic dictates that I might lay down my life for them as well. Scary thought. It’s happened before.
My point is that I have a choice in how I spend my life. I could potentially choose to die in someone’s place in some instances. So, Jesus gave me direction in the manner with which I could live the life He gave me.
But He didn’t give me the choice of where, when, how, or why I would be born, because He has reserved that option for Himself alone.
He chose to die for me, but He chose to live for me first. He came into this world for that specific purpose, knowing what each of us needed. No one else has the ability to love in that way, and yet He calls me to love others as I know He loves me.
This level of love has, in the past, seemed so far beyond my abilities that I would simply give up trying and give in to the needs of the moment. I would just do what I wanted, responding angrily to something with the rest of the crowd. Or maybe trying to fix something, or someone, that was not my responsibility and failing miserably.
But real Love, just isn’t like that.
Real Love desires that I give up my prejudices, my anger, my politics, the things I was taught, and all the other “encumbrances” that I’ve accumulated throughout my life, even when I’m faced with all of those same things in my friends, whom I would in fact lay down my life for despite our differences.
My wife and I were talking the other day, and as we were driving past an insanely crowded mall with miles long lines of cars waiting to get into the parking lot she asked, “Why do you think people do that to themselves? What is worth all that?”
My answer was nothing is worth doing that, but I think we do it because we have such a limited ability to express love for each other that we’ve given in to the idea of “things” as an expression of love. We have reached a point where we have devoted entire industries to the idea that we can universally express love to our fellow man for only one day out of the year. Some of us get a few weeks out of it.
We do this because this way we can get out of making a continuous commitment to love others on a regular basis. Because if we love someone more than that one day then it interferes with our own desires for ourselves. This becomes how we choose to live, and to die. And so we choose to live in a constant state of discontent, because no one will give us what we want.
In light of what we’ve become, the question of “What Would Jesus Do?” is perhaps not as relevant as we think it is anymore. I wonder if the more pertinent question today is, “What Did Jesus Do?”
It’s a question that has already been answered.
He chose to live – for you. It’s the only answer He could give, and the only One who could give it.
©Dan Bode 2018