Friday, October 9, 2009

What Wouldn't Jesus Do?

Often people ask, "What would Jesus do?" I like to consider, "What Wouldn't Jesus Do?"

What if “what Jesus wouldn’t do” is way different than most of us imagine? What if contemplating this question forces us to re-examine our assumptions (many that have descended through a cultural prism that we classify as corrupted and apostate over time) about what His “mortal perfection” means? I agree that emulating our Savior still is very hard and unattainable all at once, but even the Bible says Jesus grew "from grace to grace" and "in favor with God and man".

To recap, the scriptural meaning of "perfect" is "complete, finished, fully developed". Just before He died on the cross, Jesus exclaimed, “It is finished.” According to Matthew 5:48, He might have said, instead, "I am now perfect." He grew from grace to grace until he FINALLY could claim, right before he died, "It is finished." Why do we suppose we need to short-circuit the process of growth He experienced and be now what He was only at the end?

I think we buy into the incorrect traditions of our fathers too much with regard to many topics, and how we view “what Jesus wouldn’t do” is one of them. There is something profoundly disturbing about the idea that “little Lord Jesus no crying he makes” - and it is related directly to our too common acceptance of totally unrealistic expectations, especially for far too many women I know.

Have you ever wondered why He wasn't accepted in His own home town as the Messiah? Maybe they looked forward to "their Messiah" through the same type of lens we use to look backward at "our Savior and Redeemer" - with totally unrealistic expectations. Maybe there's a reason we have essentially no record of His life until after the beginning of His ministry. Maybe we need more answers; maybe we need more questions. Certainly, I believe, we need fewer unrealistic expectations - of Him, of our friends and family and neighbors, of ourselves.

7 comments:

TruthSeekerToo said...

Great post on unrealistic expectations! So true, too!

I think of all the people who expected the Messiah to come with power and sword during the meridian of time. He didn't, at least not how they expected.

I believe we see the same thing today. People expect him to come the second time with a huge bloody battle and destroy the wicked.
How far off might that be?

Your title made me smile!

Gwennaƫlle said...

"think out of the box sister, think out of the box".
Well yeah but then if I do I find myself quite alone in my thinking.
I like the words and how you have put the same feeling as what I have gathered from reading the bible.
The feeling I got from it was not so much of a perfect man showing us how lucky we were to have His example but of a man truly showing us the way.
One question that came to my mind and the answer that came to me as an answer is about His father.
So heer we have a boy who probably knows because of some well intented neighbors (wiches!) that his mother was pregnant before his parents got married.
Where does he go from there.
Because in the mean time he does feel pushed toward the scriptures to find an answer...
I believe that the knowledge of his nature did not come as we say in France between the pear and the cheese at the end of the meal "hey, by the way, you're the son of God!" but through deep study of the scripture and the developping of a perosnnal relationship with God, an exceptionnal one since like us he had forgotten everything from his previous life and had to rebuild everything.
When he fasted in the desert this is where Satan's power lied: he had no recollection of who he was, the only thing he could rely on was his testimony that indeed he was the son of god, the Messiah.
Then if really he was the guy he thought he was he could totally do what Satan's whispered to him.
This would have been a great evidence to a man.
But this was the first step of him showing to the rest of humanity that he was more than just a man.
He was the Messiah who showed how to rely on our testimony rather than on facts. He taught us the power of faith as the only spiritual muscle we have basically.
And it was not because he was born superior to us but because through faith and learning and pondering he became.

Papa D said...

So true, TST. Unrealistic expectations are . . . omnipresent, almost.

Gwen, thank you for that fascinating comment.

Anonymous said...

Here's what Jesus wouldn't do (at least the Yeshua that lives in my heart): He wouldn't commit genocide. Yet that is exactly what he does in 3 Nephi 9. Mass-murder on an enormous scale, which if true, might rival any genocide known. He then lists the cities and multitudes he's destroyed. I'm sorry, but this is not possible of Jesus to do, He who cherishes all life, and knows every soul can be saved. Only a lunatic is capable of this.

It is definitely something Jesus wouldn't do.

Papa D said...

Anon (probably James, based on the exact same comment on another thread),

I ask you sincerely, are you a Christian, and do you accept the Bible? Fwiw, I think there were all kinds of earthly upheavals at the time of Jesus' death - that the earth truly did groan at the death of its God, so I don't chalk the destruction up to a genocidal God. However, even if I did, that would be totally consistent with the Bible, so I ask again:

Are you a Christian, and what do you think of the Bible?

Anonymous said...

I'm not James, though it isn't surprising that the issue comes to light elsewhere, is it?

I place the Bible with the other great scriptural resources of humankind. The Tanakh, and add'l Old Testament I believe to be a largely mythological history of a people. In parts of course there's God's Truths, but largely, it's consistent with Man's nature (gender specificity intended)- egotistic and violent imagination, mixed with great compassion, love, and faith.
The New Testament is similar, but even more intentionally designed for politics ( by "The Scribes.) The canonical gospels were clearly designed to appeal to different groups: Hebrews, gentiles, pagans. The Passion Play itself is most likely an amalgamation of popular mythologies. There's only a loose historical basis for it (Josephus, Pliny, etc.). The teachings of the brilliant and blessed Essene, Yeshua are, even in their misappropriations, truly Divine. I am also an avid reader of non-canonical scripture, particularly The Gospel of Thomas, which hasn't been "stepped on" as much as those gospels that originated from the Quelle material.
The great tragedy of the Christian Era was the systematic persecution and slaughter of the true, original "Christians," gnostics like the Ebionites, Cathars, and all other "Nazoreans" who followed John the Baptist- like Yeshua. They were brutally hunted down and killed for nearly 1500 years, until very few were left.
The Book of Mormon is a similar type scripture, although it's historical closeness makes it easier to see the nature and origin of it's construction.
None of what I believe has anything to do with how people find their Oneness with God (at-one-ment), or whether Jesus lives in their heart. That's always a personal discovery. I do not cast doubt on the nature of one's faith. In the original Greek, the word subsequently translated as "sin" is amartia, which more closely translates as "to miss the mark." If one looks to carefully at the form of the message, one misses the message, especially where the form has been altered for men's egoic purposes. You might know this concept is true because you clearly love your family, community, and fellow man- that is the message of Yeshua, not always of the institutions who profit from their participation in what we might call "Rome."
The message I stated in my prior comment, that I received in my heart in deep communion with my source and guidance, is that the massacre of the (albeit imaginary) civilizations of No. America 2,000 years ago by Jesus is a fabrication of (a) Man's ego, designed to enhance the status of a person or group of people for political purposes, and not part of the true message of Love as taught by Yeshua.
The important thing, of course, is to simply love everyone at all times. It's not easy being human!
Thanks and blessings to you and your family!

Papa D said...

I respect that, anonymous - and I don't think we are all that far apart in our perspective on MUCH of what is canonized. The exception is the destruction around the time of Christ's death, which I can take allegorically and from which I can find meaning and enlightenment.