Good News Line September 2015
WWJD (What would Jesus do?)
Much has happened since our last GNL but looking back to previous editions many matters remain the same. We in the UK have enjoyed our summer: the first of August wasn’t it? England won the Ashes. Our young people have received their anxiously awaited GCSE and A Level exam results. And importantly we have been enthused, or is it entertained by the Labour Party’s search for a new leader. Children are back to school and our older young people are off to university or starting their careers in the world of work: all very normal.
Sadly, for many millions of people just like us life is anything but normal.
They have fled from the horror of civil war and the evil of the likes of ISiL, leaving behind them their homes and extended families. Many inhabit the huge camps set up by UNHCR on the borders of Syria. Others have set off to find refuge and the hope of new lives in Europe. Tragically, as noted in April’s edition of GNL, thousands have perished in the sea off Bodrum and the Mediterranean between North Africa and Italy. As I compose this message images of thousands of refugees stranded in Budapest feature on all our TV channels. There they are given a hostile reception by the authorities.
Meanwhile a 3 year old boy washed up dead on the Bodrum shore is picked up gently from the surf and carefully carried away by a local policeman. That image of little Aylan Kurdi in the policeman’s hands flashing across the world has had a remarkable impact. The hearts of some of our political leaders have softened and language has changed but the scale of the humanitarian crisis remains daunting. What can be done?
The GOOD NEWS is that there is a solution and the Bible shows us the way. In Luke’s Gospel Chapter 10 Jesus, having said “love your neighbour as yourself” is tested by the Pharisees as to “Who is my neighbour?” Jesus responded by telling them the parable known as “The Good Samaritan.” In summary a traveller makes his way on foot from Jerusalem to Jericho; about 20 miles. He is mugged, stripped and beaten up. Three other travellers come across him; a priest then a Levite and finally a Samaritan. The first two avoid the injured man and carry on their journeys but the Samaritan stops, has pity and does all that he could to help him. You can read the full story from verses 25 to 37. The punch line is that the unlikeliest man stopped to help. The people of Samaria were considered as the Jews’ enemy. Jesus puts the Pharisees on the spot by asking them; “who was neighbour to the stricken man?” They had to say “the Samaritan” – no doubt through gritted teeth. Jesus’ final command “go and do likewise” puts them and us on the spot.
The Very Good News is that we in our safe democracy can do something to help. Christians often use the acrostic WWJD when facing challenging situations. Jesus talked of and met the despised, poor and rejected of His world. He offered advice, healed the sick and gave hope to the hopeless. Above all He offered the gift of eternal life to those who would put their trust in Him. All they had to do was to repent of their past sin and change totally the direction of their lives. Be born again was a term that Jesus used – perhaps that is something which can be addressed fully in a future edition of GNL.
If you would like to explore WWJD further or what Jesus can offer you please give me a call or contact a church leader or a Christian that you know and trust. Thank you for taking time to read this message and do try to remember the example of The Good Samaritan. Do have a peaceful and blessed day.