We’ll get back to the series on loving ourselves next Monday, Lord willing. Today, I want us to ask a fundamental question about how we will live our lives. If we truly believe God’s way works, how do we discover God’s way?
A few years ago, the question “What would Jesus do?” was all the rage. It was on billboards, bracelets, and bumper stickers. Everyong was jumping on the bandwagon with it. And for good reason. It is a great question. When I’m making decisions about my actions, I need to consider what Jesus would do if he were in my shoes. Then I need to do that. After all, surely whatever Jesus would do is God’s way that will work for me. But there is a more fundamental question. Before I can actually answer that question, I need to ask another. You see, Jesus actually was here on this earth. He really did live and face the kinds of decisions I face. If I really want to know what He would do if He were in my shoes today, I need to ask, “What did Jesus do?” How did He live? How did He respond? How did He govern His life? That provides the foundation for asking what He would do in my shoes and then helps me decide what to do today.
Of course, we could start looking at each individual action, but as John 21:25 explains, the internet couldn’t contain the blog posts needed. Rather, lets consider some general governing rules Jesus lived by and made decisions by.
Jesus ONLY did what was authorized by the Father
John 8:28-29 says: “So Jesus said to them, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.'”
John 5:30 says: “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”
What did Jesus do? He only did what was authorized by the Father. Understand how amazingly profound this is. If anyone throughout the history of man had the right to go out on his own and pursue his own authority, it would have been Jesus. John 1:1, 14, demonstrates that Jesus was divine himself. Yet, the incarnate God did not live from His own authority. He only did what the Father authorized. He only taught what the Father authorized. He sought the Father’s will and what was pleasing to Him.
Note clearly, Jesus didn’t say, “I only do what my Father has not prohibited.” He said He only did what the Father authorized.
If that is what Jesus did do, what then would He do if He were in our shoes today? I think He would only do what the Father authorized. What then should we do?
Jesus did what the Father told Him to
John 12:49-50 says: “For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment–what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”
Jesus did not act or even speak on His own authority. Rather, He only did what the Father authorized. But how did He determine what the Father authorized and therefore determine what to do and speak? He did what the Father told Him to. That seems simple enough. If the Father told Him to do something or told Him He could do something, He did it. That makes simple sense to me.
If Jesus did do what the Father told Him to, what would He do if He were walking in our shoes? He would do what the Father told Him to. What then should we do?
Jesus did what the Father established by His example
John 5:19-20 says: “So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. for whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise, for the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing.”
Jesus repeats that He does nothing based on His own authority. He doesn’t do what simply seems good to Him. He doesn’t do what He simply thinks is neat. He doesn’t do just what He likes to do. He only does what the Father authorizes. But how did He determine that? He watched the Father. He looked for good, positive, approved example. He didn’t think something was good and right just because He liked the idea. He knew it was good and right because He saw the example set for Him by the Father. If the Father exemplified something, then the Son knew He was authorized to do that, and He did it.
If that is what Jesus did do, what then would He do if He were in our shoes? He would follow the example God had left for Him. What then should we do?
Jesus did what He could infer using right judgment
John 7:24 says, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
Jesus wasn’t talking about judging souls. He was actually commenting on a matter of authority, judging whether or not an action was right or wrong, authorized or unauthorized. If we begin reading in John 7:22, we learn that Jesus is explaining why He was authorized to heal the invalid of John 5:1-17 on the Sabbath. There was no command to heal on the Sabbath. There was no example of healing on the Sabbath. Therefore, Jesus did what appeared unlawful to the Jews by healing a man on the Sabbath.
Jesus argued that if the Jews could circumcise a boy on the Sabbath to keep the law of Moses, then He could heal on the Sabbath as well. The argument really is, “If you can make a body unwhole on the Sabbath, then I can make a body whole on the Sabbath. If you can remove a part of the body, then I can restore the body.” After making His argument, He said, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” That is, don’t judge what is right or wrong, what is authorized or not based merely on what you like, don’t like, what you think,don’t think, rather use a right judgment. Don’t judge something right or wrong, authorized or not simply based on what you think it looks like. Rather, use sound, reasonable, logical judgment.
Jesus knew He was allowed to heal on the Sabbath despite the prohibition of work on that day because he inferred using right judgment from the commands and examples found in God’s law.
If that is what Jesus did do when He was on earth, what would He do if He were in our shoes? He would do what He could infer from God’s commands and examples using sound, reasonable, logical, right judgment. What then should we do?
Why did He do it?
But why? Why did Jesus do all this? Why did God incarnate go through all the trouble of only doing what the Father authorized by His own directions, examples, and by right judgment based on those things? John 7:16-18 says:
So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.”
Jesus did not do this because He had to follow a pattern. Jesus did not do this because He was trying to be good enough. Jesus did not do this because He was trying to earn something. Jesus did this because He wanted to glorify the Father. He didn’t want glory for Himself. If He had wanted glory for Himself, He would have done whatever He thought was good based on His own authority.
Why do we do what we do? Are we trying to earn something or be good enough? That won’t work. Instead, we need to decide if we want to glorify God. If we want to glorify God as Jesus did, then we need to only do what the Father has authorized through His statements and examples, using right judgment to determine what we are allowed to do.
Do you want to glorify God?