What Would Jesus Do?

A quick reading of the New Testament will give you an easy answer to that question. The scene is Jesus with His disciples. The mother of James and John, identified in the text as “the mother of Zebedee’s sons,” addresses Jesus. She speaks boldly to Him: “Promise that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right and the other on Your left, in Your kingdom” (Matt. 20:21).

Jesus quickly tells her that she has no idea what she’s talking about. Then the other ten disciples become indignant at James and John. It’s a fight ready to happen.

But Jesus calls a time-out. The text literally says, “He called them over” (Matt. 20:25).

Pull quoteNow read carefully Jesus’ response to all twelve disciples. It is powerful.

He began, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and the men of high position exercise power over them. It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:25–28).

Did you get that? Did you understand the full import of Jesus’ words?

May I put the essence of these words in a modern vernacular for church members today? I hope you won’t be too offended.

“Hey, church members: I know that the world says put yourself first. Look after number one. But that’s not the way you are supposed to do it. Stop complaining about the music style and what you want. Stop demanding church leaders to do things the way youwould like them to be. Stop trying to get yourway in church business meetings. Instead, put others first. Put your desires last. Become a servant instead of a whiner and complainer.”

Jesus then offers Himself as an example for serving. Instead of coming to Earth as a political king, Jesus came to serve. Indeed His service would go all the way to the cross. He became sin. He took on our sin. He was crucified on that bloody cross of His own volition. He served you and me by dying for us.

We church members must cease and desist becoming “I want” members and become “I will” members.

We must serve instead of demanding our way.

That’s what Jesus said. And that’s what Jesus would do.

Pull quotePaul specialized in selflessness. I would love for him to come to one of our rancorous church meetings and have a few words. I don’t think he would be shy about addressing self-serving motives and actions.

Philippians is my favorite letter he wrote to a church. Note that some form of the word joyappears in the brief letter fourteen times. It is indeed the letter of joy.

And what was Paul doing to experience such joy? He was in prison. He was facing death. He was concerned about the churches. And, in the midst of it all, he was joyous.

The apostle explains the basis for his joy. Indeed in Philippians 2:5–11, he tells us that true joy comes from having an attitude like Jesus. And lest we doubt the meaning of Jesus’ attitude, Paul says that the attitude took Him to “becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8).

It is with that context that Paul explains how we are to respond to one another in our churches: “Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3–4).

Paul made it clear.

Jesus made it clear.

We are to serve. That is the basis for joy. And that is what church members should do.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s