Tuesday, October 4, 2011


WWJD?  It's written on pens, jewelry, signs, and even candy wrappers.  It's an acronym for, "What would Jesus do?"  Presumably it is a question asked by those who desire to be more like Jesus.  But what does being "like Jesus" really mean?   Usually when I think about being more like Jesus I think about being nicer.  Is that what Jesus was?  Nice?  Is that what Jesus would do?  Be nice?

Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah described him as a servant.  In chapter 53 Isaiah wrote that there was nothing about Jesus' appearance that stood out as beautiful or majestic.  Nothing about his looks would attract people to him.  He was despised and rejected by those around him.  He was a man of sorrows and he was acquainted with deepest grief.  People turned their backs on him and looked the other way.  He was oppressed and treated harshly.  He did not open his mouth to defend himself when he was unjustly condemned.  His life was cut short.  He died without descendants.  He did no wrong and deceived no one and yet he was buried like a criminal.

Was Jesus nice?  I'm sure he was, but he was also rejected, despised, and oppressed.  Obviously there is more to being "like Jesus" than just being nice.  According to this passage, it is my grief that makes me more like Jesus who was fully acquainted with deepest grief.  It is caring more about the people around me than about how I look that makes me more like Jesus who did not attract followers based on his appearance.  It is my tears that make me more like Jesus man of sorrows.  It is being left out of the popular crowd because I don't "fit in" that makes me more like Jesus the rejected.  It is when I am treated harshly that I am more like Jesus the oppressed.  It is when I am able to serve without recognition that makes me more like Jesus the servant.  It is not clinging to this life and playing it "safe" that makes me more like Jesus whose life was cut short.  All of the things I try to avoid--grief, difficult circumstances, loneliness--are things that can be used to mold me into the image of Christ.

The rest of Isaiah 53 tells us why Jesus was despised, rejected, and sorrowful...

Yet is was our weaknesses he carried.
It was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed  for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God's paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all...
When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,
he will be satisfied.
And because of his experience,
my righteous servant will make it possible
for many to be counted righteous,
for he will bear all their sins.

I can't save anyone.  I can't even keep my house clean.  But the more I am like Jesus, the more I can point people to the one who can save.  The one who can heal.  The one who can make us whole.

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