We must not slavishly stick to everything that was done—or not done—by Jesus and the disciples. For example, we must avoid the fallacy of arguing from silence. The fact that Jesus did not say certain things or do certain things need not mean he disapproves of them or wants us to also eschew them.
It is obvious that in so many ways Jesus is our example—our perfect example. He is our role model, and he is the one we must emulate. However, one can only go so far in using his unique and particular life as a sure-proof template for how Christians today should live their lives. Not everything he did should be emulated. And not everything he did not do should be avoided.
Obviously we should all fully follow him in all things when it comes to his moral character. We should be loving as he was loving. We should be merciful as he was merciful. We should hate sin as he hated sin. We should do good as he did good.
But some care is needed here. Let me discuss this in light of a meme I just saw on the social media. It said the following:
A few things Jesus didn’t do:
Start a program
Teach a syllabus
Build an institution
By itself this is a rather dumb meme as I will explain in a moment. But at least the person sharing it did offer a bit of a qualifier: “Not saying they are sin. But we need to ask why He didn’t. Not trying to bring condemnation here. Rather encourage us to meditate on Jesus’ way of doing things. He told us to make disciples teaching them to do what He did.”
But still, even with that prefatory remark, a meme like this really is of limited value. Indeed, a few folks did give her a bit of pushback. As one person remarked, “Maybe we should be asking what he *did* do and what he instructed?”
She replied: “That’s the point of this post. To get a different perspective and ask why He didn’t. Most people assume these are all good things to do. Employing people is of course and Jesus told parables about employing people. So maybe that one needn’t be on the list. But the whole issue requires attention from any serious disciple of Jesus Christ.”
Well, with that admission, that is a full quarter of the list now being withdrawn! Indeed, with just a bit more careful thought and reflection, the remaining three items could also just as easily be scrapped! It is a rather foolish idea in other words to use the life of Christ as some sort of fool-proof checklist for what we should and should not do as Christ followers.
One can only go so far in this regard. Let me offer a few more lists. Here are just some of the things that Jesus did not do. But it would be the height of folly to suggest that Christians should not do them either: