October 18, 2020

It’s been around 20 years ago (maybe longer) that the initials W W J D became very popular all over America. Smart marketing people took advantage of these initials and they were applied on clothing, caps, jewelry, bumper stickers, and much more.

If you are middle-aged or older, I’m sure you remember this craze and know what those initials stand for – What Would Jesus Do?

That’s a great question. And the question could be asked of so many things. The campaign to get those initials on everything possible was a commercial success. A lot of people made a lot of money.  Probably even some people who did not even believe in Jesus.  But that’s to be expected. Many people and companies will do anything to make money whether they believe in what they are selling or not.

But the good news about that craze is that many people pondered that question. And they would ask that question or have it asked to them by caring people. I’ve never been one to get on the bandwagon of following fashion trends and buying must-have products. However, during that craze (and I don’t remember how long it lasted) I preached a sermon on those initials. In the sermon, I asked many hypothetical questions to my parishioners. And I asked many questions of actual events past and present and future of what would Jesus do in certain situations.

I want to re-visit that sermon briefly in this post.  I’m doing this by memory as I never once saved my sermon notes in 50 plus years of pastoring to maybe recycling them later.

I think most will agree that these questions are just as relevant as when Jesus lived. And the questions concerning later situations need to be dealt with by every single individual because no other person can answer these questions or make decisions for you. One’s relationship with Jesus is personal. Nobody else can make you respond in a certain situation the way they may respond. It’s up to you.

I won’t have the time or knowledge to ask everything important to you. But I do want to ask some things that are important to everyone.

Let’s start with some things from the Bible. And these situations from the Bible are much in play today.

What about paying taxes?  They are a nuisance sometimes and many times we are over-taxed. But we still know they are necessary for modern civilizations.  Most people in Jesus’ time were over-taxed and there was much grumbling about it. So the Pharisees wanted to trick Jesus and make him say something about taxes that would get him in serious trouble. They sent to Jesus some Herodians with this question: “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”

Jesus knew it was a trick question and he asked one of them to give him a coin. Jesus held up the coin and asked, “Whose image is on this coin?”  They answered, “Caeser’s.”

Then Jesus said, “Render to Caeser the things that are Caeser’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

So what would Jesus do about paying taxes?  He said pay your taxes to the government, but pay to God what is God’s. (Matthew 22 and Mark 12).

That brings up another question: Who is Caesar and what government do we obey?  I refer you to Hebrews 13:1.  The writer said, “Let everyone be subject unto the higher powers, for there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”

Would Jesus say that we must obey all powers at all times?  That takes more Bible research and I won’t do that for you in this post.

In Acts 5, the high priest told  Peter and other apostles to quit preaching about Jesus or they would be locked up or killed. Peter and the other apostles answered and said, “We ought to obey God rather than men.”

What would Jesus do after being told not to preach?”  The same thing He taught His disciples, and that got Him crucified.

You say, “But I’m not a preacher.”  Yes, you are, if you are a Christian. You are called to witness both by word and deed.  I’ve often declared, “I would rather see a sermon than hear one any day.”

What would Jesus do if He were told you can not go to church because there is a virus going around, and that you may help spread it further?

Many are being told that today all around the world. The governor of California recently told religious people that if they continued to over-crowd in their churches that he would have the water and electricity disconnected from them. And the mayor of New York City told several groups of Jews that if they continued to go to their synagogues that he would have all churches shut down all over his city.

What would Jesus do if He were told not to go to church?  He would disobey man’s law and keep preaching in the temple and open-air meetings so He could worship and attend Church with His followers.

We don’t know the future, but we know Who does. Whatever you encounter in life, follow the “What Would Jesus Do” question.  If you are not sure, pray, and ask for guidance.  He hears your prayers and answers them.

God Bless You,
Spencer Plumley

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