WWJD?

WWJD?
What Would
Jesus Do? What Would Jesus     Do? A couple of decades ago, this 4-letter combination was commonly on bracelets, tee-shirts, bumper stickers, bookmarks, baseball caps, etc. These four letters were to provoke people to act more like Jesus. This is commendable, but really, “What would Jesus do?”

Text Box: By Richard
‘Aharon’
Chaimberlin
     I remember an old episode to “All in the Family,” with Archie Bunker (played by Carroll O’Conner) as the head of the household back in the 1970s. This was a sit-com with lots of social commentary embedded in it. Archie was a bigot. He didn’t like Jews, Blacks, or Hispanics. He didn’t hate the minorities, and was certainly not violent. But he never hesitated to express his dislike for them. And he was loveable and hilarious in his ignorance.

     Stretch Cunningham was his best friend at work on the loading dock. However, in one episode, Stretch Cunningham died, which grieved Archie. Stretch Cunningham’s family knew that Archie and Stretch were good friends, and therefore asked Archie to deliver the eulogy, which Archie happily agreed to do.

Archie was given the address, and when he arrived, he discovered it was a Jewish funeral home. He was somewhat confused, and thought that he had the wrong address, as he heard Jewish prayers at the front, along with a big Star of David at the podium. He walked through the door and was given a kippah to wear. With some discomfort, Edith (his wife) puts the kippah on his head, and of course all of the other men were wearing kippahs.

Without even given a chance to sit down, Archie was invited to go to the front to give the eulogy. Archie was unusually fidgety and confused as he addressed the crowd. He began be saying something like this: “I didn’t know Stretch Cunningham was Jewish. What is ham doing in a Jewish name?[1] Not that there is anything wrong with being Jewish. Even Jesus was Jewish, until his Father sat him down and said, ‘No more of that.’” He said a bunch of other embarrassing things as well, but he also showed genuine love for his best friend, which was immensely touching.

This episode of All in the Family had a profound effect on me, especially the fact that even Archie Bunker realized that Jesus was Jewish. Most Christians perhaps realize that Jesus was Jewish, but tend to minimize this fact. Many years later, on an Israeli tour, I had the opportunity to walk through the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem, where an Armenian was selling shofars. We had a nice conversation. He shared that the Armenian religion is the oldest Christian religion on earth today. I told him that Jesus was a Jew, and all of his early followers were Jewish. He then said, “Yes, I know that. But somehow, I like to think that they were all Armenians.” Funny.

This all brings me back to WWJD. What would Jesus do? Of course, if you talk about this with a Christian, he might tell you that these four letters, WWJD, would provoke you to do more good deeds, be a kind person, pray, etc. He might even tell you that Jesus came from Heaven to Planet Earth to start a new religion.

However, the Newer Testament tells us otherwise: And by this we do know that we know Him, if we keep his commandments. 4He that says, I know Him, and does not keep not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5But whoever keeps His word, in him truly is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him. 6He that says he abides in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.          (1 John 2:3-6)

Yeshua never ate a pork chop, never attended an Easter service, and always observed Shabbat. Yeshua was the only Jew who observed the Torah perfectly. He obeyed everything that Torah required of Him. He lived in total obedience to doing the will of Abba, his Heavenly Father. He did not swerve “to doing his own thing,” as many of us are prone to do. Just before His arrest on Har HaZeitim (the Mount of Olives), He prayed, “Thy will be done.” He was always in complete submission to the Father, even when it meant ridicule, torture, and death. He became the perfect sacrifice for our sins because He was completely Torah-observant.

He wore the tzitzit (ritual fringes on the corners of his garment) with a fringe of blue on each corner. He didn’t have tattoos, and didn’t trim the corners of his beard or hair. He went to the Beit HaMikdash (the Temple) as well as to the beit Knesset (synagogue). He never went to any churches, which didn’t even exist at that time.

 

In short, Yeshua was not a Christian, and neither were his talmidim (disciples). They remained Torah-observant Jews, what we might call Messianic Jews today. Yeshua also didn’t call Himself “Jesus Christ.” In fact, He never heard those words. The “J” sound doesn’t even exist in the Hebrew alphabet, and didn’t even exist in the English language until about 1700 A.D. In the original 1611 version of the King James Bible, the spelling was Iesus, not Jesus. When Mama Miriam stepped out of her door to call her little boy, she didn’t holler “Jeeesus.” She hollered, “Yeshuuuah.”

In Matthew 5:17-19, Yeshua made it clear that He had not come to destroy the Torah (“Law”) or the Prophets (“Neviim”). He came to fulfill them, to fill to the full the intended meaning. He understood that loving God meant obeying Him. In Judaism, love is an action verb, not a passive word of mushy feelings. We demonstrate our love for God by obeying Him. And as seen on the previous page, if you say that you love Him and do not obey His commandments, then you are a liar. His words, not mine.

 

IDENTITY IN YESHUA

 

In the movie, “Fiddler on the Roof,” Reb Tevye asks Golda, “Do you love me?” She answers by telling him, “For 25 years, I’ve washed your clothes, cooked your meals, cleaned your house, given you children, milked your cow.” She demonstrated her love by doing. Love isn’t just nice mushy feelings. The feelings come and go. Real love is love is action. In our relationship with God, doing Torah shows our love for God. THIS IS OUR IDENTITY IN YESHUA. It marks us as different in the eyes of the world. It isn’t always an easy walk. Also, I am willing to recognize that I also fall short. We all do. The only one who kept Torah perfectly was Yeshua.

However, that does not mean we should give up and play dead. We should continue to study Torah (in fact, all of the Bible) in order to learn how best to live the lives God intends for us. Doing Torah is Love! 2 John 6 tells us, “And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments.”

Years ago, as a new believer in Yeshua, I attended a church service, standing at the rear of the sanctuary. The people were singing, “Oh, to be like Jesus.” I whispered to one of the elders, “Do they realize that Jesus was a Torah-observant Jew?” It probably did not win me any popularity, but hopefully it planted some seeds. If you truly desire to be like Jesus, then I suggest that you incorporate the Torah into your lifestyle.

Here is the New Testament definiition of sin: “Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the Torah, of sin is transgression of the Torah (1 John 3:4).” If that WWJD bracelet is ever brought back, it should be written WWYD, which means “What Would Yeshua Do.” But it could also mean, “What Would You do.” In 1 John 5:3, we read, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome.” This is the exact opposite of what is taught in most of Dispensational Theology, where it is taught that the commandments are burdensome, and Jesus came to deliver us from such burdens. I don’t think so!

In Revelation 22:14, Yeshua said, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” By the way, this is quoted from the KJV. The NAS messed this verse up badly, although I normally prefer the NAS.

Much of what is taught today is “greasy grace,” in which it doesn’t seem to matter what you do. All you have to do is say the so-called “Sinners’ Prayer,” and you have a free ticket to heaven, as well eternal security.[2] This is a heresy, misleading many to believe in a false gospel in which many will miss the path to salvation.



[1] I presume that Archie wasn’t familiar with Abraham either.

[2] Some Christian denominations teach that once you say the “Sinner’s Prayer,” you are born again, and you can never lose your salvation, regardless of how you live.