By Ejaz Naqvi
November 19, 2018
When faced with certain situations, Christians often use the phrase ‘What Would Jesus Do’ as a reminder to them to behave in a manner that reflects their love for Jesus Christ. The phrase’ What Would Jesus Do’, or WWJD, can be traced as far back as the 19th century, when the evangelical Charles Spurgeon used it in his sermon, and in turn borrowed the concept from the early church’s Imitatio Christi (imitation of Christ). In its simplest form, it simply means following in the footsteps of Jesus, loving God and the neighbor, helping the poor and the needy. So it is not that hard to imagine what would Jesus do if he returned today.
There is a beautiful lecture by Robert Jeffrey at the Methodist Sacramental Fellowship Public Meeting during the Methodist Conference of 2006 in Edinburgh titled “Imitating Christ”, which goes in great depth as to what imitating Christ really means.
Muslims believe Jesus will return in the end of times to bring peace and justice to the world.
Only God knows what would Jesus do if he returned today. This list is purely my imagination. I am pulling a David Letterman and going in reverse order (except this is a list of 7, not 10).
#7: Tell TV Evangelicals and the mega churches to stop commercializing his name- just the same way he did to the money-making machines of his times. He may even look for the modern moneychangers and overthrow their tables- literally. He might tell them, “if you want to honour me, go out and serve the needy and the poor”, rather than living a lavish lifestyle of a Hollywood star or a sports celebrity.
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves. Matthew 21:12-13
#6: Stop politicizing my name:
He would tell the right wing politicians to stop misusing his name. He would remind them they don’t speak for him. That they only give lip service to him, but their actions are inconsistent with his teachings. Just like the religious leaders of his time, he would be critical of them and very likely call them ‘hypocrites’, as he often referred to the religious leaders of his time.
#5: Remind Americans that he was actually from Middle East. So stop carrying the American flag on one hand and Jesus signs on the other. If you must carry a flag to honour me, carry my country’s flag- the Palestinian flag. And oh by the way, please remove the pictures depicting me a blonde, with blue eyes. I was not from Sweden.
#4: What is Christmas not about?
He would remind everyone that Christmas is not about Santa Claus, ‘shopping till you drop’, Christmas “parties” and holiday lights, though these themselves are not necessarily “bad” things. He would remind everyone Christmas is not about leaving yourself in huge debt because you were busy buying stuff you didn’t afford to buy.
He would remind that Christmas is about re dedicating your life to honour his life and send blessings (peace-salaam) to him. He might even quote the Qur’an’s verse.
So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)”! The Qur’an 19:33
#3: Muslims love me too
He would tell his Christian followers that the Muslims love him too-very much in fact. he might even remind them they don’t have a monopoly on him. He would remind them that Muslims just don’t call him Jesus. They call him ‘Isa Alehis Salaam’ (Jesus, Peace be upon him) out of utter respect for him.
#2: Remove the asterisk from, ‘love thy neighbour’
He would remind everyone that he did not put an asterisk on “Love your neighbour as yourself”. Your neighbours may be Muslims, Jews, Blacks, and immigrants, but you should love them the same. The love is unconditional and regardless of their ethnicity, race or religion.
#1: Preach the unity of God.
I confess. This is the ‘most Muslim version’ of WWJD. Because this is at the core of his message, like the message of all other prophets, he would remind everyone what he taught about the unity of God.
And behold! God will say: “O Jesus the son of Mary! Did you say unto people, worship me and my mother as gods besides God’?” He will say: “Glory to You! never could I say what I had no right (to say)…The Qur’an 5:116
He would remind everyone of the first commandment and the 2nd commandment, as he did the first time around.
One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God. The Lord is one. Mark 12:28-29
The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:31
Bonus “What would Jesus do”
I am not counting this particular one on my list, but he might have to resort to what he did 2000 years ago.
To convince the non-believers, he might have to show some of the miracles again, like giving life to the dead, curing the blind and curing the lepers- except that this time around he would have to find other incurable problems, such as cancer. Wouldn’t it be cool to see someone’s lung cancer shrink and then disappear when he touches the sick?
And even though we now live in the space age, it would still drop many jaws when he would blow into clay and the clay flies off as a bird.
May be then people will take him seriously- finally.