The Lord replies, “I have seen violence done to the helpless, and I have heard the groans of the poor. Now I will rise up to rescue them, as they have longed for me to do. ” Therefore, Lord, we know you will protect the oppressed, preserving them forever from this lying generation, even though the wicked strut about, and evil is praised throughout the land. (Psalm 12:5,7-8)
Relate: What would Jesus do?
I wish you could meet Joe. Well, his name isn’t really Joe but because of what he does, I am not going to share his real name. He works with Doctors Without Borders. Officially he is here from another country to volunteer as a doctor in one of the nearby refugee camps. Unofficially, he spends quite a bit of time, how shall I say it… visiting friends a bit further to the south? And if those friends just happen to need medical care, who is he to not help out a little since he is qualified to do so. Every time he goes for one of his visits, he is taking a risk heading down, another just being there, and an even greater one avoiding getting caught coming back since the roads to our southern neighbors have all been officially closed. Joe is crazy, and brave, and friendly, and loving. The reason I have had the opportunity to meet him is because he is crazy about our carpenter friend and have decided that he will live to the very fiber of his being the answer to that four word question.
Just like “Joe” is another guy names Jason. He is one of only thirteen surgeons in the nation of Burundi. Jason is actually the second generation of doctors who are using the gift of healing to love like Jesus did. Both his parents did it so I guess you could say it is the family business. Considering the far less funding, the lack of immediate international communications, and the political upheaval he would have experienced growing up as an MK, one would think that he would have wanted to do anything else but this. He would have seen the reality and not just have had the romantic notions many passionate, well meaning teens get when they go on a week long trip into some third world field.
I could give example after example of loving, brave, awesome, self sacrificing people like Joe and Jason. Tens of thousands have heard that question and given everything they have to live out the answer. But you can also look closer to home for an excellent historical example. Have you ever been in a hospital? If so, you have the church to thank. There were centers of medical learning and care at various random points in history but hospitals as we know them today are a direct result of the church. Although some Christian centers were already doing so before this point, a major concentrated effort was made in the early fourth century to create a hospital in every town that had a cathedral. These were different than other ancient examples of medical care in many ways. First, they were open to everyone regardless of income, sex, or social status. Second, these were the first examples of what we would now call inpatient medical care. Third, the physicians here were men (and sometimes women) who were dedicating their lives to helping the sick. In most other early examples the “doctors” would sometimes study medicine, other times philosophy, or alchemy, or…
How many countless hospitals that still exist today were first founded by churches or religious organizations? How many hospitals are being created by many of these same, or other Christian organizations in third world countries and cultures today? How many doctors and nurses are sacrificing their vacations or even their very careers and lives to work in such hospitals today? All of this is happening because godly men and women, past and present, have answered those four words: “What would Jesus do” with their lives.
React: I have chosen to focus on the medical field but it is just one of many examples from many points of history or modern society that could be used to make the same point. When Jesus first began His public ministry, He did so by going to His hometown and His home church. There He was invited to speak, He got up and opened the scroll to Isaiah 61 and He read: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” Jesus then looked out and said, “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”
Jesus life and ministry was the fulfillment of Psalm 12. Today the Church, and every individual follower of Jesus is a continuing fulfillment of this prophecy. That little black bracelet so popular in my teen years was more than a fad, it is a question we need to be regularly asking. Every time we go to work, every time we vote, and in every major life decision we are to make, something needs to be asked, “How can I best show love and care to the poor, the helpless, the weak, and the oppressed? How can the Kingdom of God best be advanced? What would Jesus do?” No matter what the circumstance, the answer to all three questions will be exactly the same.
When I look around and see the wicked strutting about and evil being praised in our politics and economics and entertainment and lifestyles, it is so easy to get frustrated and down. When I see violence done to the helpless and when I hear the groans of the poor and it all seems to go unanswered by those best able to respond, I just want to throw up my hands in despair. But then I see you rising up and coming down. In the lives of those like Joe in Turkey and Syria, You are rising up and rescuing. In the lives of those like Jason in Burundi, You are rising up and rescuing. Through my life please do the same. When people ask the question, “What Would Jesus Do?” Let them be able to point right at me and say, “That’s it.” Let me be You to those who have nobody else.