This is the fifth of a six-part series. Previous parts can be found on our website.
In Baptism and at Affirmation of Baptism (Confirmation) we make the following promises: to live among God’s faithful people, to hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s supper, to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed, to serve all people, following the example of Jesus, and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth.
Throughout the Gospels, there are many times that Jesus demonstrates what it means to follow him. Jesus isn’t afraid to share a table with sinners, and tax collectors (Luke 15). He isn’t afraid to break the religious laws that would keep him from showing compassion to another (Matthew 12:10). He isn’t afraid of being made ritually unclean (Luke 8:43-48).
These are only a few examples of how Jesus was willing to live each day and he called his followers to have the same kind of compassion for the people that they encountered. We can follow the example of Jesus when we see those in our community who are often not seen. We are called to acknowledge the humanity in all we meet. We can work to feed those who are hungry and clothe those in need, this to is work to which we have been called. There are even more ways that we can follow Jesus’ example as we live our lives.
There is a meme (above) that gets passed around that states the following: “When someone asks, ‘What would Jesus do?’ Remind them that flipping over tables and chasing people with a whip is within the realm of possibilities” (John 2:13-17). I’m not suggesting that you actually do this but I think following Jesus means to be willing to stand up in the face of injustice, to speak out for systemic change, and to advocate for those whose voices have been silenced.
There would seem to be a lot of latitude in how we follow Jesus’ example. If you are not sure, ask yourself these questions, “Do my actions show compassion for another? Do my actions build the other up or simply make me feel good about myself? Am I using my voice to benefit those who have been silenced?” These questions and more can help you discern if you are following Jesus’ example.
– Pastor Steve