WWJD?

April 10, 2017

Of all the "hip" phrases and acronyms to hit the church scene in my lifetime, "WWJD?" is arguably the biggest. "What Would Jesus Do?" has become a guiding principle to an untold number of people, and it's not a bad one. But, as one of my favorite sayings goes, "When someone asks you, 'What would Jesus do?' remind them that getting angry and flipping tables is a viable option."

 

After Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, he went to the temple and wreaked havoc with what he found. In divine fury, he threw over the tables of the vendors and moneychangers, then made a whip and drove them from the temple (Matt. 21:12-13 and parallel passages). Most gospels put the story right before his arrest to highlight why the Pharisees conspired to plot murder, but John places it near the beginning of Jesus' ministry to showcase his zeal for true religion and his Father's house. Regardless of where you find it, it's the one shining example of an angry Jesus.

 

Anger is powerful, but it fades. Five chapters later in Matthew 26, Jesus cries so hard and becomes so filled with dread and anxiety he sweats blood (according to Luke's account). Righteous wrath had been replaced by incredible sorrow and pain. At first glance, the two events show us the full range of Jesus' humanity. A deeper look reveals to us the heart of Christ, his divine love for us. So much did he want us to worship God properly that he cleansed the temple. So deep was the pain he willingly bore to grant us salvation that he bled long before a whip or a thorn ever broke his skin.

 

This teaches us a great truth: the answer to "What Would Jesus Do?" is always "love." Love may involve suffering; love may involve discipline. But it is always for the good of the one loved, and it is always worth whatever price we may pay to tell someone we -- and God -- love them.

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