Since reading “In His Steps,” by Charles M. Sheldon, In His Steps, Wikipedia page, I’ve been wondering what Jesus would do if he were alive today. In his book, Sheldon takes readers on an introspective journey of Truth, What would Jesus do if he were a journalist or a secretary or a Teacher in that day and age, in late 19th century America?
Yeshua, as was his name before it was changed into Jesus in English translations of the Bible, stepped out of the “world of expectations” (what I call the world where most of us live) and into a world where sinners and tax collectors sat at his feet and listened to his stories. He told parables that spoke the truth. He rampaged when he saw injustice and when his friends suffered at the death of Lazarus, Jesus wept (John 11:35.)
I could sit here and preach, but I wonder how many of us really understand the words that describe the man that became the Savior of so many?
He was a vegetarian.
Yeshua was an Essene, one of three Jewish sects of the day. The life of an Essene was simple and pious. As part of the Aesthetic life, He lived free from many of the extravagances of the day and, as such, He was also a vegetarian. His family and followers were vegetarian. Now, many may disagree vehemently, spouting chapter and verse for proof, as can I, but there is agreement among scholars that Paul, the apostle and letter writer who had never met Yeshua, disagreed with the followers of Christ, ridiculing them in the Epistle to the Galatians and pushing them to the fringes. Therefore, he wasn’t going to spread that Truth to which he wouldn’t succumb.
He was not afraid to question authority.
My favorite story is the one from His childhood (Luke 2:41-52), where 12-year-old Yeshua strayed from His family in order to join the elders in the temple. That wasn’t cool. Imagine what you would do if your kid ducked out of the line at the grocery store to sit at the feet of the old men playing dominoes in the park across the street. Heck, that existence alone would give the parents sainthood!
But that’s not his only rebellion.
13 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
14 And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.
15 And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables;
16 and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.”
Are these the actions of a pacifist? Yeshua had one truth that burned in Him. He knew His Father and understood that most men had strayed from His Father’s message.
So, now that I’ve let you in on those truths, let’s answer the original question, what would Jesus do if he were living in this day and age, a time when most of us are tied down to a desk job in order to pay for the clothes we have to wear to go to work, the vehicle we have to own in order to get to work, and the house we live in because we are expected to own our own home in the suburbs?
Yeshua, the one who walked from village to village, meeting lepers and sodomites, welcoming disciples from all walks of life, sitting with children as well as thieves and prostitutes, preaching the greatness of the kingdom of God and the abundance of His love for all mankind. If He were here today, would He be in a desk job? Would He be too tired after His 9 to 5 job and His two-hour commute?
I believe the answer is, no. I believe He would have grown up to shun the world of luxurious dreams and illicit success where we have been raised. He would probably be walking or hitchhiking his way across the land spreading His Father’s message of peace and love, passing no hasty judgment on His fellow man or woman, but being angered by the situations in which we are forced to live.
The world we have created, where our existence is a cubicle at a call center or a corporate office, would sicken Him. I imagine Him preaching in a park where many passersby, with noses in iPhones, would later pretend they had actually met Him.
I imagine His disgust with a world where Christians, while pushing their doctrine, would ignore the long-haired hippie with the worn flip-flops who walked away barefoot from the once-shoeless beggar.
I believe He would be disgusted with a world where growing your own food and collecting your own rainwater was illegal. Where the plants given to us by the Creator to cure our illnesses have been kept from the masses, only to be harvested by corporations that sell it back to us genetically modified and at a cost too great for many. Where the people who truly feel His love and His mission are unable to authentically live as His followers because of the restrictions and judgment of the world around them.
And Facebook? I believe it would make Him ill, but He would return to His on-again-off-again page with the hope of feeling encouraged, only to shut down His page again and again in frustration.
Although many of us believe we are walking in His Light, many of us would not even stop to help an injured squirrel on the side of the road.
These thoughts have led me into weeks of meditation since I finished “In His Steps.”
Even though I have a pretty good idea of what I believe Yeshua ben Yosef would do if He were living in this day and age, it’s not easy to silence the voices of doubt that scream out from well-meaning and vindictive people alike. This is not an easy reality to live if you are living as Yeshua (or Jesus) would live. Not many of us would have the strength to order the devil to step away from our lives.
I bless all of you who try every day.
You are welcome to come to your own conclusions of what you believe Jesus would do, my friends. You are even welcome to doubt. You are welcome to believe whatever you believe. The Yeshua who led by example did not want a religion worshipping Him, and I do not believe a good, loving, charitable person would be judged for not believing in the Bible. I believe the Truth lives in all of us, if we take the time to consider that.
I believe that when it all comes down to it, we will be judged by our actions. Did we take a stand against evil or did we shrug it off as insignificant?
You do realize, don’t you, the Bible says we will be judged for not taking a stand for what we believe?
“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:16)
I challenge you, my friends, to accept the pledge proposed in the book “In His Steps,” laid out so many years ago by a small-town pastor with big dreams, live your life always considering, What Would Jesus Do?
The Dragonfly’s Student