The Pastor's Pastor Rev Dr Rowland Croucher founder of John Mark Ministries which specialises in Christian theological research and ministry to Ministers and especially to those who are scarred and heart-injured.
Rowland poses this vital question - What would Jesus do? There are some thing we all need to reminded of when discussing Jesus. He was no push over. He dealt with the money changers. He dealt with the Pharisees and the religious leaders of the day without fear nor favour. He handled lies and half truths and petty politics like no one before him. He exercised an authority whereupon all marvelled. He went to the Cross, a most horrible form of death.
When Rowland discusses his question – What would Jesus do - also think on these things.
What would Jesus do - Part 1 - Rowland Croucher
If I were to choose one person to follow as a mentor/guide, the best human being I’ve ever heard of is Jesus of Nazareth. If I find a better-put-together person, I promise you, I’ll switch allegiance to them.
When I talk about Jesus to people, I often get ‘Yes but’ responses. A common one: ‘Yes, but, you’ve got faith, I haven’t.’
How do you usually travel? Car? Tram? Train? How many of you stopped and thought, ‘Do I have enough faith to get into/onto this thing?’ Maybe if your car has let you down, that might be a possibility but what you’ve thought about is actually not your faith as such, but its object. Same with people. Is this car reliable? Is this person reliable?
So why do people have faith in an ancient historical figure like Jesus? My grandmother heard a voice – a real voice, she says – in the night. I never have. The great St Augustine heard a child’s voice, and ‘all the shadows of doubt were dispelled’. Saul of Tarsus had a Damascus Road experience – with a blinding light and a voice from the sky. In a life-changing experience of surrender to God, C. S. Lewis knelt and prayed in his room at Magdalen College, Oxford – ‘perhaps that night the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England’. Nothing like that’s ever happened to me.
So why is Jesus important to me?
So why is Jesus important to me? I didn’t commit myself to him because of a theological system, or even church services. I didn’t follow him because my parents did: as I started thinking for myself, I rejected their simplistic fundamentalism in many respects.
My ‘conversion’ really happened when I left home and started reading and thinking about this amazing person who, on about eighty occasions in the Gospels, went around speaking and acting as if he were an emissary from God. Imagine if you heard someone in Melbourne’s Flinders Street saying to strangers he’d just met, ‘I forgive your sins. It doesn’t matter who you committed them against, I forgive you!’ You’d probably be both perplexed and a bit scared – and maybe you’d phone our country’s emergency number, OOO.
If what this Jew claimed about himself were true, then it’s all really breath-taking: he embodied ‘the hopes and fears of all the years’ for his people if only they’d realised it…
Now if eye-witnesses claimed someone you’d never actually met was the Son of God, what are we to make of that?
I reckon there are only four possibilities:
Perhaps he was mad. I once met a psychotic person in a psychiatric hospital who claimed to be God. Problem was on that day he was Napoleon Bonaparte, and sometimes he’s the man in the moon. Was Jesus one of those? No: he’s the sanest person I’ve ever heard of.
Was he a liar, an imposter? Problem with that is the question ‘What did he have to gain by it all?’ And what kind of person was Jesus on the evil-to-goodness spectrum? I think the question answers itself.
Was he, then, a good person, a great teacher, and that’s all? C. S. Lewis wrote about this ‘patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher… He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.'
So did his followers get it wrong? And to a person they were prepared to die for something they’d concocted? I for one find that less credible than believing they reported Jesus’ words and actions truthfully, and eventually came to believe in him.
âSo, you ask, of all the people who’ve claimed a special relationship with God, only one was right? Yes. If Jesus was God's Son, a lot follows: He was the ‘Word’ by whom the universe was created, says John the evangelist. He is ‘who you need’.
And then there’s his death on a cross. The 19th century German philosopher Nietzsche ridiculed the idea of [Divinity] on a cross. But as John Stott writes, ‘When he was spread-eagled and skewered on his cross, strung up with nails or ropes or both, what looked like the defeat of goodness by evil was really the defeat of evil by goodness.’ 
I once heard with astonishment my English professor – an atheist – say that all great operas and literature are essentially about one or more of three core human experiences – guilt, love and death. That was an ‘aha’ experience for me: the cross of Christ was about all three, the theologians tell us. 
I remember talking to that professor about who Jesus might be and went through the classical ‘quadrilemma’ I referred to a couple of minutes ago. Does all that make sense? I asked him. ‘Yeah’. But you’re not a Christian? ‘No’. May I ask why not? He said it had little to do with logic, but rather lifestyle.
He enjoyed living life his way, without being answerable to any God. Fairly common, I would think. C. S. Lewis in his autobiography Surprised by Joy put it well: ‘When I examined myself I found [within me] a zoo of lusts, a bedlam of ambitions, a nursery of fears, a harem of fondled hatreds…’ 
That’s the first of two big questions: the issue of faith, and its cousin, intellectual credibility. If Jesus is [the Divine Son of] God, he has a right to demand allegiance.
End of Part 1
 John Stott, Why I am a Christian, 2013, p. 61
 For example, Gustav Aulen in Christus Victor
 C S Lewis, Surprised by Joy (p. 143)
Rowland Croucher is an Australian Baptist pastor (as was also his wife Jan before she passed away nearly a year ago). He's authored ten books and will soon see his latest published in the next month or so:('Questions & Responses: the 50 toughest questions pastors and counsellors are asked').