A popular question has circulated in recent times: “What would Jesus do?” Though possibly helpful, this is mere speculation if people do not know the original, true Jesus in the first place. If we dare surmise what Jesus himself would do, we need to know Jesus deeply, extensively, specifically, in all that he is about. So I believe there is a better question – more telling, clear, and strategic: What DID Jesus do?!
Getting to Know Jesus (Again)
What DID Jesus do (WDJD)? What DID Jesus say? Who is the original Jesus? This remains crucial for all of us, whether we seek to grow in faith and in serving Jesus, or whether we are simply interested in any way in what this Jesus is about in the first place.
Jesus’ followers are called to know Jesus ever more fully first on the basis of what he himself did and said. Indeed, anyone willing to learn more of Jesus begins best by considering Jesus’ own actions, his own teachings, on his own terms.
The Original Witness
Learning of this original Jesus involves seeking into the accounts of Jesus passed on to us by the original eye-witnesses of the New Testament scriptures. These testimonies are set forth by those who first knew Jesus, how he lived in this world, the full course of his public service, all he said and did.
This calls us first to delve into the four new Testament Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John – in which we come to know this Jesus who walked and talked among the people of his days on earth. This challenges us to take seriously all that Jesus himself revealed in what he did and said, throughout his whole life among us: His specific actions, his particular teachings, the unique ways he treated people, what he said about life, society, culture…
It is in his real living that Jesus displays the fullest revelation of God’s heart of love. This is how Jesus shows and tells us what God’s new kingdom reality of life is all about. For his followers, this is the true and living Jesus, upon whom all our faith, thinking, and living rests and breathes. For anyone, this is the Jesus who invites us to consider his radical, intriguing vision of life…
Renewing Our First Love
Personal letters from Jesus to early believing communities, communicated to us in John’s New Testament Revelation, chapters 2-3, call Jesus’ followers to renew their “first love” for Jesus himself. This is the risen, ascended-to-heaven, glorified Jesus, who now shares in reigning over the whole cosmos from the throne of God (Revelation 1)! And this is the resurrected Jesus, not a wholly different Jesus. This is the Jesus of John’s New Testament Gospel, who shared his real life on earth with his first followers. It is this Jesus who continues living in love, friendship, and partnership with his people – in ways he demonstrated and taught originally on earth. It is this original living-again Jesus who calls us to renew our first love for him.
We today need to return to this original, real, true Jesus, to live in his footsteps in our time as faithfully and radically as ever! Christian believers will settle for nothing less. Actually, this is essential in every generation – because we all need to transcend our merely human mindsets and cultural trappings, to embrace the real Jesus personally in our own hearts and living. It is this Jesus who is still bringing God’s kingdom renewal in our midst on earth, as light beyond darkness, hope beyond crisis, love beyond hate, healing beyond brokenness, grace beyond failure, justice beyond poverty, life beyond death.
When John heard… what [Jesus] was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”
Jesus replied, “…report… what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.”
– Matthew 11 (NIV)
Let the Revolution Begin! – Again…
In seeking to know Jesus, it quickly becomes clear that this quest is no shallow game. This Jesus enacts and speaks forth a full-scale reality and vision of life, which renews every dimension of human experience, relationships, society, and culture.
This Jesus renews our whole personhood and transforms all dimensions of our lives. This empowers us into renewed living in all imaginable ways. Knowing more fully and deeply and widely the real and true Jesus transforms us inside and out. Jesus renews our identity, into confidence of God’s love for us. Jesus changes how we think about life and the world, to view all things through his vision of God’s kingdom. Jesus transforms how we treat people, with his simple pervasive compassion. Jesus enables us to live in the world, society, and culture as he did, to share God’s love and serve God’s new kingdom reality coming on earth as it is in heaven!
In the Footsteps of Jesus
“Christians” – those who believe Jesus’ anointing upon our lives – are called to live fully in this original, real, true Jesus. We live in his love, and seek to follow him with all our service, every day. This is his gift to us. This Jesus is our first and ultimate love. This passion pulses in the heart of what it means to be a Christian. This is how we live to offer a more faithful witness to Jesus in our day.
This is also Jesus’ profound potential for everyone seeking meaning today. Getting to know this Jesus and his vision can be life-changing for anyone. In this adventure with Jesus, you will discover that God loves you, infinitely, unconditionally. You will be filled with this love, beyond the limits and selfishness that often plague all of our hearts. You will discover how to share this creative, empowering love freely with others. You can live in the faith that this love can change nations, cultures, communities, and one life at a time – with compassion, justice, and healing. This is a vision that meets crisis with hope. This is a hope worth living!
Readers are also encouraged to explore other posts in this series: Vintage Jesus.
God so loved the world… God is love!
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth…
and the tree of life…
at the middle of the great street of the city…
and the leaves of the tree
are for the healing of the cultures.
John 3; 1 John 4; Revelation 21, 22