Oftentimes I hear people ask, what would Jesus do? Unfortunately, today people do not really know the character of Jesus. In order to know what someone would do in a particular circumstance or situation you must first know them. If we don’t know them personally, we will listen to what others say about them. The problem with that is people compare what religious people do and how they act to the character of Jesus.
We don’t have to look far in the Bible to find out the character of Jesus. “The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” (Psalm 145: 8-9) When Jesus walked the earth physically, he was filled with compassion for those who were suffering. He had the most problem with the religious leaders of the day. The religious leaders of the day were the scribes and the Pharisees. When the woman was caught in adultery, the leaders of the day were about to stone her. As Jesus came upon the situation, the leaders were following the law. The men then asked Jesus what he would do. Jesus said he who is without sin cast the first stone. All of those who were about to kill this woman, walked away. (John 8)
One afternoon Jesus was invited to go to dinner at a Pharisee’s house. When he entered the house, his feet were filthy. As Jesus began to eat, a woman appeared. This woman was very thankful to be in Jesus presence. She brought a container of oil which she used to anoint the Lord’s feet. The other people who were at the dinner party were upset that Jesus would allow such a woman as this to cleanse his feet.
“Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him that she is a sinner.”
He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.” (Luke 7:36)
Jesus had a reputation of hanging out with sinners. He walked with the tax collector and the prostitute. The Lord was not afraid to touch the lepers. He once met a woman who was fetching water at a well. This woman was seeking water in the heat of the day. As the story goes, this woman had quite a reputation. Jesus struck up a conversation with her. He knew everything about this woman, even that she had several live in boyfriends. Jesus described his love as living water. Elsewhere in scripture the living water is described as coming out of our bellies. “For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me.” (John 7:38)
“Jesus was tired from the long walk in the hot sun and sat wearily beside the well. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus asked her for a drink. He was alone at the time as his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. The woman was surprised that a Jew would ask a “despised Samaritan” for anything—usually they wouldn’t even speak to them!—and she remarked about this to Jesus.He replied, “If you only knew what a wonderful gift God has for you, and who I am, you would ask me for some living water!”
“But you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this is a very deep well! Where would you get this living water? And besides, are you greater than our ancestor Jacob? How can you offer better water than this which he and his sons and cattle enjoyed?”
Jesus replied that people soon became thirsty again after drinking this water. “But the water I give them,” he said, “becomes a perpetual spring within them, watering them forever with eternal life.”
“Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me some of that water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again and won’t have to make this long trip out here every day.” (John 4:5)
My point is Jesus was not a religious person, who only interacted with the high society or the prominent leaders of the day. In fact, Jesus harshly rebuked the Pharisees calling them whitewashed tombs. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (Matthew 23:27) He pointed out their lack of love and compassion for those who were afflicted. He also drew attention to their hypocrisy. The religious leaders of the day were more concerned about themselves and their image than they were about those who were suffering.
The Bible says that you shall know them by their fruits. So what are the fruits? “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control; against such there is no law.”(Galatians 5:22) The Christ I know is loving and kind. He is slow to anger and full of mercy. He does not condemn us nor does he forsake us. He does not try to manipulate us or intimidate us. The Holy Spirit may convict us but he does not intimidate us. Jesus was meek but fully in control of the situation.
The judgmental and hateful religious spirit that operates through some so called “Christians” is nothing more than the enemy in disguise. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit that operates within a true believer recognizes the voice of Jesus. The Lord himself said my sheep will know my voice. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27) When someone is operating out of the flesh, it usually comes across as harsh and unloving. This is not the spirit of Jesus. Much of the problem in today’s church is there is a religious spirit that masks the true identity of Christ. This spirit emphasizes our works over the unconditional love of Christ.
Consider the story of Moses in Numbers 20. The sons of Israel had come into the wilderness and they were complaining about the conditions. They had no food nor water. Moses and Aaron fell on their faces and prayed. The glory of the Lord appeared to them and God told Moses to simply speak to the rock and the water would come forth from it.
Moses was angry with the people and instead of following the Lord’s instructions, he spoke harsh words to the congregation and struck the rock twice with his rod. God was not happy with him for this. Moses was exhibiting his own fleshly anger and not the true character of God.
So what would Jesus really do? He would talk and interact with the lowliest of the lonely and the poor man on the street, he would reach out to the stripper in a nightclub and the depressed business man in his office. He wants to reach the world and he loves us unconditionally, no strings attached. It’s not just what we can do for him. It is what he’s already done for us.
I believe that there’s a new anointing coming on the people of God. This new anointing will reflect the true character of Jesus. Humanity today needs to know there is a God who loves them and is not mad at them. It’s not about the rules and regulations. It’s about the relationship the Lord longs to have with each and every one of us.
So what would Jesus really do? He would walk with us and encourage us, he would talk to us on a level we could understand, and He would open up his arms, smile and with a twinkle in his eye welcome us into an everlasting relationship with him. He came not to condemn the world but to bring the world everlasting life and a life full of abundance, joy, and most importantly unconditional love.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (John 3:16-21)