What Would Jesus Drive?

December 8, 2002

WHAT WOULD JESUS DRIVE? by Ray Pritchard A few weeks ago an organization called the Evangelical Environmental Network began sponsoring a series of newspaper ads with the catchy slogan, “What Would Jesus Drive?” The people behind the ads want to convince all of us to get rid of our gas-guzzling SUVs (too much pollution, bad gas mileage, etc.) in favor of smaller cars, the kind that Jesus would drive, if Jesus were on the earth today and if Jesus drove a car. Or something like that. The ad campaign has garnered an enormous amount of press coverage and commentary. Evidently the idea of Jesus behind the wheel of a Ford Explorer seems to have captured the minds of many contemporary thinkers. So what would Jesus drive? The short answer is, we don’t know and there is no way to answer the question. We know that during his earthly ministry, he and his disciples walked everywhere they went. Presumably from time to time, they may have ridden horses or donkeys (as our Lord did when he entered Jerusalem for the final time). Beyond that, is there anything we can extrapolate from his teachings that will help us in this regard? Well, he did warn against trusting in riches or accumulating the things of this world and forgetting about God. And we know that he never owned his own home–“Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” He spent most of his time in rural areas, evidently camping out with his men, and eating very simple food, such as bread and fish. He wasn’t impressed by wealth or power or by those who boasted of their titles or their connections to the powerful. The heart seemed to matter to him more than mere outward appearance. He taught us to pray for “daily bread” and to ask our Father to “lead us not into temptation.” It’s clear that the common people loved him and flocked to him, but the religious leaders at first misjudged him and then later hated him and had him put to death. All of this may seem to argue for smaller cars that get better gas mileage, but I’m not so sure about that. You can make an equally persuasive argument that Jesus would use public transportation. I could go along with the idea that Jesus wouldn’t drive a huge car just to get from Jerusalem to Jericho, but if he had to take the 12 disciples with him, an SUV would actually be more efficient than four smaller vehicles. Since he was essentially from the country and not the big city, I’ve always thought Jesus would drive a pickup truck, but that probably says more about me than it does about Jesus. In the end, the question is unanswerable because it doesn’t really matter. A man who can walk on water doesn’t need a car.

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post?