Wednesday, February 16, 2011



We keep using WWJD? (What Would Jesus Do?) and that is a most helpful measuring stick for living our lives more effectively. However, WDJD? (What Did Jesus Do?) may be even more helpful in understanding what Jesus' intent is for our lives. My good friend always says, "Watch what Jesus did and said and do the same!" I want to walk through 3 scenes in the life of Jesus where people from a non-Jewish background came to faith in Him.

I've come to realize that it's possible for a person to be a Catholic and be a follower of Jesus and still be a Catholic. A Mormon can be a follower of Jesus and still remain in his Mormon culture. A Muslim can be a follower of Jesus, a Buddhist, a Hindu can all be followers of Jesus and still remain within their cultural backgrounds. I want to now show you how biblical this is.

FIRST-When Jesus was in Cana of Galilee, He was confronted by a royal official who needed Jesus to heal his son. Jesus told him that his son would live. What's interesting is that this royal official believed that Jesus was the only way, the only hope for his son to be healed. It's important to note that this royal official was probably a Roman citizen with the cultural background of seeking many gods and signs from them. Jesus didn't tell this man to make sure to repent and go renounce the many Roman deities or his faith would be for naught. Why not? Because the most important issue here is that this man and his family would come to simple faith in Jesus. After this expression of faith, this man was a Roman who believed in Jesus.

SECOND-When Jesus conversed with the Samaritan woman, He didn't make certain to warn her of her false beliefs and be sure to change the mountain where she worshipped. There was no renunciation of her false doctrines. Why not? Because Jesus was reaching out to her to bring her to faith. She is still known as the Samaritan woman who believed in Jesus and told her entire village about her encounter with Jesus. This, too, resulted in many more Samaritan followers of Jesus.

THIRD-When the God-fearing Greeks were encountered, they were not taken to this point of renouncing their deities to express faith in Jesus. The Syrophoenecian woman is a perfect example, a gentile and from a godless cultural background. What's happening here? She comes to faith in this most attractive Jesus. She is now a Syrophoenecian who was a follower of Jesus.

I'm reminded of one more incident, not in the life of Jesus, but in the Acts of Jesus. When the Ethiopian eunuch was approached by Philip, sent by God to do so for this Divine appointment, why doesn't Philip bring up the renunciation of his Ethiopian culture? They had already built many temples to some gods back then, so why not a call for renunciation of these gods; especially before baptizing this eunuch, making him feel he was now OK and a follower of Jesus. So we have here the Ethiopian official who was a follower of Jesus.

You see, it's very possible for people to come to know God without losing their cultural backgrounds in the process. The early disciples grew up in Judaism with all of its add-ons, yet they were attracted enough to Jesus to follow Him and His teachings. Were the disciples of Jesus believers? Were they born again? The answer, if you are honest with what we know, is no. They weren't believers until after the resurrection. And, they weren't "technically" born-again until Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit upon them. Now that was pure, unadulterated discipleship with a group of men who were interested in Jesus enough to follow Him and learn His teachings and principles. This is precisely what we are experiencing among Buddhists, Hindu, Muslim and Jews! We are starting with those who are "interested" in Jesus enough to follow Him and learn His teachings and principles. As they walk this path, the Spirit gets hold of their hearts and transforms them. That's the way it should be! Discipleship is not Christianizing people or worse yet, Americanizing them, but introducing them to Jesus.

Introduce people to Jesus and wonderful things happen. It's still happening today! Maybe instead of WWJD? (What Would Jesus Do?) or WDJD? (What Did Jesus Do?), we ought to think in terms of WIJD?-What Is Jesus Doing? Remember, see what Jesus is doing and get there as quickly as possible!