It is a slogan found on bracelets, hats and other youth accessories. But for most, it is just a fad, a gimmick or a fashion statement. Very few seem to want to know the answer to the question. What would Jesus do—and what should we do in response?
Millions are asking this question. But most people become really mixed up on this vital topic! How can you really be sure what Jesus would do?
All across the United States, young people are wearing "WWJD" hats, bracelets and other items. Some few really want to know what Jesus would do if He were alive on earth today. But for most it is just a fad, an item of clothing or a cute gimmick.
As the Associated Press reported from Dallas, TX, on July 24, 1998: "Lee Ferguson, fresh out of the pool after swim practice, sits with her pals under a shade tree fiddling with her fluorescent yellow bracelet embroidered with the letters 'W.W.J.D.' Ah, youth. Is this another teen-ager pondering the question, 'What Would Jesus Do?'—a slogan that's wrapping wrists of kids across the country? 'I wear it because it matches my bathing suit,' said Ferguson, a blue-eyed 14-year-old hanging out at a Dallas neighborhood pool club. WWJD bracelets are not just for church kids anymore. In fact, some kids have changed the meaning to 'We Want Jack Daniels.' Great. Just great."
During the past presidential campaign, Al Gore commented that he often asked himself: "What would Jesus do?" In reaching out for the "religious vote," both Gore and George W. Bush indicated that they wanted to follow Christ's example.
If folks really want to know what Jesus would do, how can they find the absolute authoritative answer? How can they know what Jesus would actually do?
The answer is simple.
Because if you believe that the Bible truly is the inspired Word of God, then you can pretty well narrow down what Jesus would do in most situations if He were alive in the flesh on earth today!
The "key" to genuine understanding on this topic is found in the New Testament book of Hebrews, where God tells us: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). This inspired scripture indicates that Jesus would do as He did do while in the human flesh! And many other scriptures indicate the same. Jesus said: "I and My Father are one" (John 10:30), and in Malachi 3:6, God tells us: "I am the Lord, I do not change!" Again, Jesus Himself tells us: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away" (Matthew 24:35). His message—His instructions—will not "pass away!"
Note carefully that at the very end of Jesus' ministry—even after the cross and after His resurrection—Jesus strictly charged His disciples: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations… teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20).
How plain can it be?
The Jesus Christ of your Bible did not want a "different" teaching introduced or a "different" example presented to the world after He ascended to heaven. He wanted His true servants to go out and teach the same message—the same way of life—"all things"—to "all the nations," not just the Jews!
But is that what professing Christianity has been doing for the last 2,000 years?
Few today realize that a "different" Jesus Christ and "different" way of life have been presented to the world, by teachers wrongly doing so in His name! The Apostle Paul warned the Christians of His day: "For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted; you may well put up with it" (2 Corinthians 11:4).
For centuries, professing Christianity has been promulgating "another Jesus" and a message totally unlike the one Jesus proclaimed! As one author put it: "If by any chance Christ Himself had been taken by His later followers as the model and pattern of the new way, and a serious attempt had been made to set up His life and teaching as the standard and norm for the Church, Christianity would have been something vastly different from what it became. Then 'heresy' would have been, as it is not now, deviation from His way, His teaching, His spirit, His kingdom" (The Church's Debt to Heretics, Rufus M. Jones, pp. 15-16).
But what is wrong with Jesus' own teaching and "His" way—the entire way of life Jesus and the original Apostles taught and lived? It was "too Jewish" for the early Roman Catholic bishops and monks to accept. They were prejudiced against the Jews, and were also trying to "win over" the pagans around them. They thought that by changing many biblical teachings and practices they would make it "easier" for the Gentile world to become "Christian." What these misguided theologians apparently failed to realize was that their changed and watered-down "Christianity" was not true Christianity at all!
As another noted author admits: "As long as the church was mainly Jewish, the Hebrew Sabbath was kept; but as it became increasingly Gentile the first day gradually took the place of the seventh day" (The Story of the Christian Church, Jesse Lyman Hurlbut, p. 45).
Where did all of these changes lead? Again, Hurlbut sadly acknowledges: "The services of worship increased in splendor, but were less spiritual and hearty than those of former times. The forms and ceremonies of paganism gradually crept into the worship. Some of the old heathen feasts became church festivals with change of name and of worship. About 405ad, images of saints and martyrs began to appear in the churches, at first as memorials, then in succession revered, adored, and worshiped" (p. 79).
The early Catholic bishops indeed got "the world" to come into their church. But what was the result? Hurlbut answers: "As a result of the church sitting in power, we do not see Christianity transforming the world to its own ideal, but the world dominating the church" (p. 79).
It should be obvious, dear reader, that "another Jesus" began to be presented to the world—a Jesus vastly "different" from the Jesus of the New Testament! So what was the Jesus of the Bible really like? What was His real teaching—His "way of life" and His example?
The Jesus Christ of your Bible grew up as a Jew in Israel, yet He was "Immanuel"—"God with us"—in the human flesh. And He set us the perfect example that we should "follow in His steps" (1 Peter 2:21). The Apostle John was inspired to tell us: "He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked" (1 John 2:6).
So true Christians are to live—or walk—just as Jesus walked. And we are definitely to follow His example.
"Okay," you say, "that sounds very simple."
But will you actually do this—even though it may cause you to be shunned, or perhaps even vilified, by "mainstream Christians?"
What exactly was Jesus' perfect example—His perfect "way of life"? If Jesus were to return to earth in the human flesh, on what day of the week would He worship? This may shock some of you, but every honest Protestant or Catholic scholar knows that Jesus Christ kept the seventh-day Sabbath right along with the rest of the Jews!
Luke 4:16 describes Jesus' customary way of worship: "So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read." When challenged about His disciples violating the Sabbath day, Jesus did not tell His accusers that the Sabbath was changed, or that it would later be changed to Sunday! Rather, Jesus said: "The Sabbath was made for man [not the Jews], and not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27). Then Jesus proceeded to show how to keep the Sabbath and that it was proper to supernaturally heal and to "do good" on the Sabbath (Mark 3:1-5).
Jesus said: "The Sabbath was made for man." Remember, the Sabbath was made when man was made, back at the very creation of man (Genesis 2:1-3)—long before there ever was a Jew! So the Sabbath was made for all of mankind as a day of rest and worship. Scripture proves that all true Christians continued to observe it, clear up to the end of the Apostolic Age—long after everything was "nailed to the cross."
Think about that.
If Jesus were on earth again in the flesh, which annual Holy Days or religious festivals would He observe? Would He be observing Christmas and Easter, as professing Christians do today? Perhaps many of you do not realize this, but Christmas and Easter are never mentioned in the Bible! But there were seven biblical Holy Days set aside for annual observance—and Jesus did observe these, setting us an example. Remember: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).
As a 12-year-old, Jesus "grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him." Therefore, being guided by God's Holy Spirit, what did He do? What was His example? "His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem" (Luke 2:40-43). Along with His parents, Jesus observed the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread—religious festivals long observed by the Jews.
Later, we find that Jesus—the perfect example—went up to observe the Feast of Tabernacles. As Jesus preached during this biblical festival, He told the people: "My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me" (John 7:16). Jesus did not come to "change" the basic spiritual laws and teachings that He and the Father had given Israel. He came, rather, to "magnify" those laws and to bring out the full spiritual meaning of God's commandments and laws (Isaiah 42:21).
For instance, Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:27-28). Did Jesus "do away" with God's law against adultery? Of course not! He "magnified" it and made it all the more binding!
Near the end of His life, Jesus kept the Passover. "Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed. And He sent Peter and John, saying, 'Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat'" (Luke 22:7-8).
Please read carefully Zechariah 14, which answers the question: "When Jesus Christ returns to earth, which religious festivals will He and true Christians observe?" We read that Christ is coming to this earth to bring the rebellious nations into submission. He will then be "King over all the earth" (v. 9). Now notice verse 16: "And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles."
Then, Zechariah 14:17-19 shows that God will withhold the rain and even bring a "plague" upon all the nations of the earth which do not come up to "keep" the Feast of Tabernacles! As King of kings, Jesus will absolutely ensure that all humans learn to keep the Feast of Tabernacles and the annual Holy Days, given by Him and the Father for Christians to keep for all time!
And we read in the book of Isaiah that in Christ's coming Kingdom: "'It shall come to pass that from one New Moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, all flesh shall come to worship before Me,' says the Lord" (Isaiah 66:23).
You and I can be "pioneers" in humbly following Christ's example and keeping God's weekly Sabbath and His annual Holy Days now. In doing this, we will learn more about the great plan of God—the great purpose He is working out here on earth. For the weekly Sabbath is given as a reminder that the true God is the Creator. And God's annual Holy Days show us—step by step—how God's plan for the salvation of all humans who are willing is to be worked out.
Most professing Christians do not remotely understand God's plan. This is, in part, because they have been deceived into keeping pagan, non-biblical religious festivals which came right out of the ancient worship of the various "gods" of the heathen world. This is strong language, but it is absolutely true! If you would like to learn the truth about God's Sabbath and the biblical Holy Days which Christ and the Apostles observed, which picture God's great plan, please call us or write us immediately and request your copies of our "eye opening," fully documented booklets Which Day is the Christian Sabbath? and The Holy Days—God's Master Plan. Remember, all of our literature is absolutely free upon your request.
As God in the flesh, setting us the perfect example, what was Jesus' life like all during the year, day by day?
Every honest biblical scholar knows that, in the flesh, Jesus was obedient to the Father. Jesus said: "I have kept My Father's commandments" (John 15:10). And, obviously speaking of the Ten Commandments, Jesus said: "Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:19).
So Jesus was zealously following the spiritual principles of the Ten Commandments, which show us how to love God and how to love our neighbor! Jesus constantly prayed and communed with His Father. He did not wait until late in the evening and make a brief "bedtime prayer." Rather, as the gospel of Mark explains: "Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed" (Mark 1:35).
All day long, Jesus was loving, serving, healing and teaching His fellow man God's way (Matthew 4:23). Jesus had total out-flowing concern for others. He was kind and patient. He was constantly merciful—even to the woman taken in adultery (John 8:3-11).
Jesus was a "giver." He said: "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). He was not trying to gain fame or fortune. Rather, He "emptied" Himself of the divine glory He had possessed with the Father in order to serve and then die for all humanity (Philippians 2:5-8).
Jesus said: "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45). All through His life, Jesus exemplified the second great commandment: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39).
To really understand what Jesus would do, you must understand that Jesus Christ was God's Law Personified! For the Apostle John was inspired to tell us: "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome" (1 John 5:3).
God's love runs down the "channel" or "riverbed" of the Ten Commandments! God wants us to express His love and follow His way of life, by keeping His commandments. Today, however, many psychologists, sociologists and "authorities" try to come up with various human "value systems" or standards of behavior, even though our Creator already did this—thousands of years ago! For the Ten Commandments, as magnified by Christ's life and His teaching, perfectly set forth a way of life that would bring love, joy and peace to all human kind if truly followed.
Many "religious" people—especially theologians—spend much time and energy searching for excuses to claim that God's spiritual Law need not be obeyed. If they would devote even one-tenth of that time and energy to studying the Ten Commandments in a positive way, and meditating on how to obey them fully, the human race would experience a depth of peace and joy that it has never experienced in all its history! If living again in the human flesh, Jesus would confront every situation with two eternal principles in mind:
How can I show love to God with all my heart, soul and mind?
How can I show love to my neighbor even as I would wish others to do for me? (Matthew 22:36-40).
Jesus would try to help, encourage and inspire all those around Him to fulfill their human potential. He would exercise patience, kindness, wisdom and self-control in all of this. If necessary, He would correct people strongly if they had rebellious or self-righteous attitudes—just as He did the religious leaders of His day (Matthew 23:15). Though God is love, the Bible tells us: "For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives" (Hebrews 12:6).
What would Jesus do?
Remember: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). If Jesus were living today in the human flesh, He would be the perfect exemplification of the Ten Commandments. He would face every situation with total, out-flowing concern for fellow man and with deep love, worship, adoration and obedience toward God the Father.
When Jesus Christ returns—this time as King of kings—the entire world will begin keeping God's true Sabbaths (Isaiah 66:23) and annual festivals (Zechariah 14:16-19). Out of Zion—then Christ's earthly headquarters—will go forth God's spiritual Law to the entire world (Isaiah 2:2-3). All nations will at last learn the way of peace and "neither shall they learn war anymore" (v. 4). If you would like more in-depth knowledge of what true Christianity is all about, call or write and request your free copy of our vital booklet: Restoring Apostolic Christianity.
You can know what Jesus would do in nearly every situation. But you have to be willing to obey His instruction: "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV). May God grant you the zeal and the courage to do just that—and to imitate the real Jesus Christ of the Bible!