In his fascinating book, Brimstone, Hugh Halter puts forth the following scenario: “In a small town, there is only one bakery. Jesus is the baker. Two gay men walk in and ask Him to bake a cake for their wedding. Would Jesus bake the cake?”
In promoting the book, this question is asked. “Jesus was the least judgmental person the world has known, yet Christians persist in drawing lines in the sand. How can we tear down barriers that keep people from being drawn to us—and to him?”
“What Would Jesus Do?”
Of course, homosexuality and same-sex marriages are big controversial topics for Christians in our time. Still, they’re not the only ones. The underlying thread behind almost any controversy in the church becomes the wristband question: What Would Jesus Do?
Would Jesus bake the cake? Would Jesus baptize this person? Would Jesus enter that foul den of iniquity? Inquiring minds want to know.
The truth of the matter is it’s seemingly impossible to know what Jesus would do in almost any situation. If Scripture is true (and I believe it is), it’s quite apparent that Jesus is the Lord of surprises.
People were constantly trying to back him into some philosophical or religious corner. It seems at these times he was his most unpredictable self. It was also at these times he seemed to do extremely well at turning it back around to the aggressor.
“Their hearts were hard.”
For example: When pressed about the topic of the divorce laws, he told the Pharisees, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard.” (Matthew 19:8) It didn’t matter that they weren’t around when Moses handed down those laws. He did it because THEIR hearts were hard.
Another time, when discussing loving their neighbors, Jesus was asked to define the term neighbor. He replied with the story of the Good Samaritan and asked his inquisitor who he thought the neighbor was. The now sheepish Pharisee had to answer in a way he would not have originally chosen. Turning the tables, Jesus suggested to the Pharisee that he should “go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37)
While we can’t always know what Jesus would do, we should have a pretty good handle on how he would be. In any situation dealing with people, he would be loving, compassionate, and truthful. We could add a lot more descriptors as well, but I’m sure you get the picture. Jesus wasn’t about prescribing specific actions in specific situations. He was about living out certain attitudes that came from the bottom of his heart. He admonishes us to do the same.
Hugh Halter posted the scenario mentioned above on his blog site. He said within an hour over 4500 people responded. They were split down the middle.
The burning question for me is, “How could Jesus, who will be judge over all, be so non-judgmental in the way he lived? I, on the other hand, have no right to judge. Yet, I do it all the time. Lord have mercy.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]