Will Jesus Say “Well Done” To Jack Layton?

In a recent blog post, Brian Walsh says that he’s convinced that Jack Layton will hear Jesus say “Well done, good and faithful servant” on the day of judgment.

Huh?

Jack Layton?

Is it because Layton confessed faith in Christ, trusting in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins?

Of course not.

Walsh says that the reason for this has to do with the things that Jack fought for over his political career. Brent Hawkes claims that Jack had a ‘deeply ecumenical and inclusive faith’ that he never talked about it. Jack lived out his days worshiping his Creator by fighting for social justice in politics.

And then in a chain of reasoning so ridiculous that I’m just going to have to quote it, Walsh says:

Jack Layton is not Jesus. But I’m convinced that he knew Jesus quite well.

You see, Jesus was homeless and Jack found him shelter and advocated tirelessly for a just housing policy in this country.

Jesus was a woman who had been beaten by a man, so Jack bound up her wounds and helped found the White Ribbon Campaign of men committed to end male violence against women.

Jesus was a man dieing of AIDS in Toronto and Jack spoke out for that man and his community.

Jesus was a lesbian woman who couldn’t get an apartment with her partner because of discrimination against them, so Jack advocated for gay rights and gay marriage.

Jesus was a city choking on automobile congestion and confusion, so Jack rode to work and advocated for bike lanes.

Jesus was a single mom working at a minimum wage job and trying to balance whether to pay the rent or buy food for her kids, so Jack advocated for a living wage and deeper social support for the poor.

Jesus was a kid who had got in trouble with the law and found himself in jail, so Jack advocated for better social programs for kids like Jesus so they wouldn’t get in trouble and would find their way to be supportive members of the community.

I’m glad that Walsh recognizes that Layton isn’t Jesus. So, how do we know that Jack knew Jesus? Jack advocated for gay rights, gay marriage and best of all, bike lanes! Yes, that’s right. Jesus is Toronto, choking on automobile congestion.  And Jack cared for him. Great work.

Undergirding Walsh’s reasoning is most likely a certain interpretation of Matthew 25:31-46. In that passage, Jesus says that our treatment of the ‘least of these brothers of mine’ will determine where we spend eternity. Walsh appears to assume that the ‘least of these brothers of mine’ are all who are hungry, distressed and needy.

This is false.

I follow Don Carson in saying that the best interpretation of Jesus’ ‘brothers’ are his disciples. Consider these passages from the gospel of Matthew:

12:48-49: “But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.’”

23:8: “But you are not to be called rabbi, by others, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers.”

28:10: “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

Don Carson says, “The fate of the nations will be determined by how they respond to Jesus’ followers, who ‘missionaries’ or not, are charged with spreading the gospel and do so in the face of hunger, thirst, illness, and imprisonment. Good deeds done to Jesus’ followers, even the least of them, are not only works of compassion for them but equivalent to compassion for himself.”

Back to the drawing board Dr. Walsh.