What kind of a neighbor would Jesus be? Such a simple question gets lost in the formal “religious culture” of organized Christianity. In fact, it is organized religion that all too often gives Jesus a bad name. So, let’s try to answer that question.
One of His pivotal teachings in my opinion is Luke 6:31: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” In other words, treat your neighbors like you would want them to treat you. If you love REALLY loud music in a genre you don’t like blaring from someone else’s stereo, then play yours that way so EVERYBODY has to listen.
No, I don’t think Jesus would have done that.
Jesus would be that polite neighbor, keeping a watchful eye on your house, helping out when He could. There would always be a smiling greeting, a word of encouragement and you would know He cared for you.
How about the incredible words that Jesus spoke the night His suffering began in John 15:9-14? Jesus says the ultimate definition of love is a willingness to give your life for another. WOW! That would be a great neighbor to have. In fact, that would be a great husband or wife, father or mother, brother or sister, or whatever.
The old axiom must be weighed here: Talk is cheap! So, what did Jesus do in keeping with this teaching? He would suffer for the sins of others (Isaiah 53, Romans 5:6-8). To better understand what Jesus went through, view The Passion of the Christ movie. Be prepared to be shocked, even sickened at the degree of suffering depicted in this movie that Jesus went through.
So, Jesus would be the most polite and friendly neighbor willing to give His life to save you and your family from the worst thing you could ever face. With that is mind, why are so many against Jesus? Why do they attack Him? It is due to the imperfections of those that claim to follow Jesus.
Maybe you are one of my neighbors. Maybe I was having a bad day and did not react in a friendly way once or twice. Maybe I did not use my turn signal because I was on my cell phone while driving. Hey, that was MY BAD, don’t blame Jesus.
Please, give Jesus a try first-person. Do not judge Jesus on the basis of one of His followers or even a church. Open the Bible to the book of John and find out how Jesus loved those around Him. Then make it your goal to love like Jesus. That is my goal. If we are both trying our best, something tells me we could be very good neighbors.
By Pastor Ken Hasekamp, Adventure Christian Church. Sermon Notes is a column by local religious leaders.