What Would Jesus Really Do?

I noticed a few specials on this past weekend and really found them interesting. The first one I’ve had the chance to watch was the CNN episode of What Would Jesus Really Do? I think the title is actually a bit misleading. The topics were really: What do YOU think of Christianity and culture today? Not so much what do you think Jesus would be doing. That question typically took a back seat. But regardless it was a great program!

The last set of interviewers he had was a Catholic Priest and a Jewish Rabbi set to answer the question: Was Jesus really married and/or Does it even matter? Out of it though birthed a topic that I ran across at a family crawfish boil on Good Friday.

I’m peeling crawfish and found myself in the midst of a discussion of whether Good Friday was the ‘holiest day of the year?’ I was bewildered and thought we were in jest at first so I made a comical/satirical comment regarding it. As a church staff we were ‘off’ that day (Fridays are our days off and we didn’t host a Good Friday service so I was ‘off”) and made a comment about that and the group I was talking to were besides themselves. They obviously had no doubt in their mind that this truly was the holiest day of the year! And what church would be ‘off’ on such a day!! And I was stunned. These are the same people that mostly step into church 3 Sundays a year and they’re arguing with ME?!? Not that I hold the book of answers to Christianity’s questions! By no means! But talking to some extended family members who I’ve seen at churches for funerals and weddings and have them argue with me while being a Christian since grade school, leading worship, leading youth, and on a church staff, seemed ironic at best!

Then it hit me watching this series. This is a hot topic. See, my argument was that surely as a Christian, the resurrection of Christ was more significant and cause for celebration than his death! It’s the validation of his Lordship. It’s the conquest over death. It’s the significance His identity. It’s the true glorification of God’s almighty power and might. And yes it’s the absolution of sin and grants us the ability for a life eternal with Him. But all I kept getting was, “Well his death is what took my sins away.” While I believe they may be true, I believe that’s like walking out of the Super Bowl at the close of the 4th quarter with the score tied with the notion that your team was gonna win because, ‘They said so.’ Well it may be true but hey overtime is when the game is truly over with the win!

I couldn’t come around this really until I saw it again here on the CNN segment. Here the rabbi does makes some astute observations about the Catholic church. The priest seemed very typical to me and I expected each of his answers but most of my Catholic friends have the same attitude the rabbi portrayed. Now, let me NOT begin a Catholic bashing here. Not at all. I think the rabbi downplays the supernatural events of the death and resurrection as well but good questions and points are made.

This blog is read by many people of different denominations. The last thing I want to do is piss people off because we have different viewpoints and perspectives. My hope is that it does just as the interview intended: begin conversations. A blog isn’t the best environment to do so perhaps but it gets us thinking! And hopefully it gets you talking with people in your life about what this is all about.


4 Responses to “What Would Jesus Really Do?”

  1. April 10, 2007 at 10:02 am

    I don’t really see the point of saying that one Christian holiday is more important than another. The idea of celebrating something as important as Christ’s death and resurrection on single days is to set aside time to focus on the significance of those events. But our remembrance of what Christ has done (and does do) for us should happen every single day.

    This is one of the things that Jesus instructed his followers to do during the “last supper” — which we focused on this past Maunday Thursday — to remember Him. We are called to remember Jesus and what he has done for us every day, in addition to on holidays and communion.

  2. April 10, 2007 at 10:14 am

    I agree, that was part of my bewilderment of the conversation, “holiest day?” are we really trying to discuss which day is holier or more significant? It was odd.

    I suppose, and I don’t think I did this well in my post, I was confused though b/c my family members seemed to stop at the death of Christ. They didn’t seem to carry forward to Sunday and rejoice in the resurrection as much as they did in the death. And this was particularly mind boggling.

    Then this interview with the rabbi suggesting certain churches seem to stress this emphasis on the death only and not celebrating the life and such seemed to amplify the quick conversation I had over crawfish. I can only imagine what would happen if people got interested/excited/passionate about Christ like you said: every day instead of on the ‘designated’ holy days.

  3. April 10, 2007 at 11:19 am

    Of course, the Rabbi in the interview is more concerned with the idea of Christianity as just another world religion that is to be accepted as well as all of the other religions should be accepted. This would be why he continually talks about focusing on the life of Jesus instead of the death of Jesus — because he wants people to (merely) consider how to be “good” people and live their lives that way.

    This of course is not possible according to both Jewish and Christian theology — humankind is basically sinful, not basically good. Jesus offers the solution for that problem. While it is true that Roman Catholicism has often focused much on people’s guilt, it is also true that the Vatican has put forth that ultimately Christ, and Christ alone, offers grace — something entirely needed by all people.

    It seems like the Rabbi is on the CNN show simply to be a foil for the less-vocal Cardinal. Just as the show’s misleading headline of “What Would Jesus Really Do?” is a trap to lure people into tuning in to really hear about the mostly silly question of “Was Jesus married?” Jesus lived a sinless life and showed us how to live. Then He died in order that we might have a possibility of having the sin taken out of our lives, since we cannot possibly do it on our own.

  4. April 10, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    I hope the takeaway is a holistic approach to Jesus Christ. That we not focus on simply one aspect of who he was/is. That indeed he died, indeed he rose from the grave, indeed he lived a moral and vibrant life, indeed he lived a sinless life, but that we not pick and choose what to ‘exploit’ if you will. It’s too easy to stand by and defend one aspect of Jesus while ignoring the things that make us uncomfortable or necessitate change in our life but to embrace the complete picture of him, however easy or hard that may be.

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