What's Your M.O.
(Luke 19:1-10, 22:47-53 Matthew 18:6, 21:12-13)
Everyone has seen cop shows and heard the term M.O. or Modus Operandi. What is it? Let’s consider this situation. A burglar doesn’t just decide he is going to pick a house and rob it sight unseen. No, he cases the house to get an idea of the owner’s habits. He wants to see when they are home, when they are gone and how long they stay gone. He looks for extra mail in the mailbox, newspapers collecting on the front door stoop. When he feels confident he has the time, he will break in the house and take whatever he can. This is his M.O.
Jesus has his own M.O. First and foremost, he was without sin. He always made the right choices in life. He had a reputation of being fully composed and He never displayed anger without good reason. He didn’t worry about what others thought of Him. His mission was fulfilling His Father’s plan of Salvation.
One day Jesus was passing through Jericho. The town was busy and the streets were crowded. A man, who was rather short, climbed a sycamore tree so he could see more of what was going on. His name was Zacchaeus (from here on I will call him Zach), tax collector. Now he had a reputation of collecting a little more than necessary. I can hear a dad in the crowd who may have seen him in the tree telling his son, “Watch out for Zack there, he can’t be trusted. If he gets close be sure he doesn’t get his hand near your pocket.” Someone else yells out, “I hope you fall out of that tree and break your money bag.”
Now Jesus comes along and happens to see him in the tree. Does He worry about who it is? No! To the amazement of the locals and Pharisees He calls out, “Zach, come on down. I’m going to your house right now.” Everyone starts to mumble under their breath about Jesus dining with a sinner. Jesus went to Zach’s house and saved him and his family.
Another story showing his composure is when an adulteress was brought to Him. Scribes and Pharisees brought this sinful woman to Jesus, claiming she should be stoned to death. Without saying a word, Jesus bent down and began writing something in the dirt. The Scribes and Pharisees, once again, asked His opinion, trying to trap Him. His answer; “He that is without sin cast the first stone.” Then He kept writing in the dirt. I wonder what He was writing. It must have been pretty revealing, because the Bible says they dropped their rocks and left.
Of course, we can’t forget about Peter cutting off the soldier’s ear when they came to arrest Jesus. What did He do? He calmly told Peter to put away his sword, then picked up the ear and placed back on the soldier; the ultimate in cool, calm and collected.
Situations have a tendency to change from time to time. Let’s go back to the burglar at the beginning of this lesson. He waited for the owner to leave, then broke into the house. Before he had a chance to finish and get out undetected, the owner returned early. The burglar ended up shooting the owner in order to escape. His excuse to the police – He came home to soon. It wouldn’t have happened, if he hadn’t come home too soon. He acted outside of his M.O.
What would set Jesus off, make Him act outside of His typical M.O? There are two things. One example is found in Matthew. Jesus went to the temple and found thieves and merchants buying and selling in the temple. No one really knows what He may have seen to set Him off. Perhaps he saw a little fat guy in the back of the temple stealing twice as much as he was selling. As you read the story, you find that Jesus overturned their tables and ran them out of the temple; a display of anger, something outside of His M.O. It’s no wonder He reacted angrily! The temple is for prayer and a place for ministering to hurting people. The only thing that should be raised in the temple is God’s name.
Another thing that will set Him off is messing with children. Matthew 18:6 talks about not becoming a stumbling block for little children. Jesus goes as far as saying,“It would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea!” That’s a pretty strong statement from someone with a cool, calm and collected M.O.
Jesus had the reputation or the M.O. of consistently being cool, calm, and collected in nearly every situation. Jesus wasn’t embarrassed to go home with a tax collector. No matter how hard they tried to trap Him, Scribes and Pharisees couldn’t frustrate Him. But abuse and misuse His father’s house or mess with His kids, and all of a sudden He responds quite differently. Why should we be any different? We shouldn’t be embarrassed to talk to people about Jesus. We shouldn’t let things easily frustrate us. And most of all, we should be willing to stand and defend the scriptures and our fellow Christian brothers and sisters. The scripture tells us Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. If we live to please Jesus and strive to follow His example then our M.O. shouldn’t change from one day to the next. People should be able to see a Christian from day to day and see the same results. They shouldn’t see one person at work, another at home, and then another personality at church. What they should consistently see is God’s love overflowing through us. They should consistently see Christians reaching out to the community and those in need. They should see Christians appropriately reacting to those situations that show disrespect to God and His children. They should see Christ’s example through us.
What is your M.O.? Are you embarrassed to talk about Jesus? Are you easily frustrated when doing the right thing becomes difficult? Do you have one personality around church and a different personality at home or in public? Do you act outside your MO when things don’t go your way? All of these questions are something to think about. Jesus set the example. I realize it is easier said than done, but if we are to be like Jesus then there is no other example to follow than His. All we have to do is do our very best following that example.