It is the ultimate question. Do we ever ask it? The things we emphasize, the way we act, the things that have come to define us– here we should ask it. To Independent Baptists or any group within Christianity it is the necessary, but overlooked, question. Would Jesus like it?
His name is thrown around carelessly, even among contradictory opinions. We are not at the loss here that some feel because He came and lived among us and we have four Gospel records telling us how He acted in a multitude of situations. Great caution is needed. Our dogmatism may be suspect in light of what Jesus has actually said and done. The most religious of that day, the Pharisees, often found themselves on the wrong side of the issue when the dust settled and God the Son went on record. Are many of us in our actions doing the same thing? Does our spirituality suffer the same fate when subjected to the only real test–would Jesus like it?
Let’s put the question to the areas where it is seldom asked:
1. Would Jesus Like Our Emphasis On Standards And Preferences?
Was it ever His emphasis? Read the Gospels again and in the area of personal sin He greatly favored discussing sins of the spirit. Pride, hatred, a lack of love– these ever were discussed by Him. That is not to say He didn’t discuss the sins of the flesh. To a lesser degree He did. But how often did He discuss standards and preferences? Read and read and read and you just won’t find it. (Before you ask, you will fare little better in the Epistles either).
As you read you will find that it was actually the Pharisees that pushed standards and preferences. They had different ones then. Hand washing rituals, Sabbath standards, rules for who you could eat with–they had the highest standards imaginable. And guess what? Jesus made it clear He did not like it. Why would we think it would be different today?
2. Would Jesus Like It When We Shun Others
Let’s be clear–He never practiced it! I challenge you to find one case where He did. Everyone else shunned a woman at a well who finally just gave up and went to draw water when no one else was there. Then Jesus came by. Before you argue that He only took witnessing opportunities, find me one case where He shunned an erring believer. Not only did He never shun Judas who He always knew was a devil, but He never shunned Peter after his denial and complete backsliding. Jesus sought him out and then found him naked. Did any of that stop Him? Did He refuse to eat with Him? Who was that actually prepared breakfast? I think you know.
3. Would Jesus Like It When We Take His Word Out Of Context To Prove Our Point?
Jesus would often retort with “you do err not knowing the Scriptures.” You see it was not that they didn’t quote Scripture. The Pharisees quoted plenty of it in defense of their positions. The problem was that Jesus did not like how they misused it. He showed that He insists that we take His Word only in the context He has given it.
4. Would Jesus Like It When We Sacrifice Soul Liberty On The Altar Of Following The Party Line?
Like we see too often in our day, the Pharisees held complete conformance to their convoluted positions as essential. Jesus didn’t even pass their test! Actually from a whole different perspective, the Sadducees did too. Jesus constantly ignored their cries. He openly ignored them too. Jesus was perfectly transparent. If it was wrong He did not do it. If it was not wrong, He never spent one moment worrying about how the Pharisees would take it. I imagine if Jesus had a Facebook account He would gladly have shared pictures of eating with ceremonial unwashed hands, or sharing a meal with an unrepentant person. (I do not make that statement to slam anyone, just to encourage you to be free).
We could say more, but I pray you get the point. Have we so lost our way that we have forgotten the only One whose opinion counts? So let’s start asking: Would Jesus like it?
Find all Articles in the series here.