Most Christians are familiar with a popular phrase, ‘what would Jesus do.’ The scripture clearly states that if we want to inherit the kingdom of God, then we must pass through Jesus Christ. Another key thing the bible is also clear about is that as Christians, we have to walk as Jesus did. So, what would Jesus do?
The phrase ‘what would Jesus do’ is popular and was mostly used to guide Christians. However, we cannot know what Jesus would do if we were unaware of what he did. The New Testament depicts Jesus as a compassionate person, forgiving, full of humility, and one who told the truth and even called himself the truth. Jesus fulfilled God’s will on earth, which is what he would do.
So, where did the phrase ‘’what would Jesus do’ come from? What is the meaning of ‘what would Jesus do’? What would Jesus do in the modern world? How is the phrase ‘what would Jesus do’ used today? Is the phrase ‘what would Jesus do’ effective in setting moral standards? How can modern Christians apply the phrase to imitate Christ? What are some of the bible verses that talk about what Jesus would do? Continue reading to get the answers to these questions and more.
Where did the phrase ‘what would Jesus do’ come from?
The phrase ‘what would Jesus do’ was popularized by Rev. Charles Sheldon in the 1990s to help guide the decisions Christians make in life. This phrase has the initials “WWJD” and was so common then; it was on T-shirts, bracelets, and necklaces. The phrase is believed to have originated from a best-selling book written by Rev Charles Sheldon, “In His Steps.”
What is the meaning of ‘what would Jesus do’?
The phrase ‘what would Jesus do’ simply means imitating Jesus Christ. It is a phrase meant to guide Christians in making decisions in their lives. We are called to emulate Jesus Christ and walk as he did. 1st Peter 1:21 says, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow his steps.”
The meaning of this phrase can be traced through church history as we are called to follow Jesus and live by his teachings. This is mainly because Jesus was the only perfect human being to ever exist on earth, and he practiced what he preached; at no point did his teachings not match his actions. Apostle Paul in the book of 1st Corinthians 11:1 told Christians that they should imitate since he imitates Christ.
The book of John 13:15 also emphasizes doing what Christ did. “For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done to you.” Therefore, the phrase ‘what would Jesus do’ is in accordance with the scripture, as Christ wanted us to walk as he did.
What would Jesus do in the modern world?
As mentioned above, to know what Jesus would do, we have to be aware of what he did. Mathew 14:14 says that Jesus shows others compassion. “When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”
The book of Ephesians 4:32 tells us to be as forgiving as Jesus Christ. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Therefore, if you are caught in a situation where you find it hard to forgive others, remember that Christ would have forgiven them.
However, theologians from Got Question Ministries note that we would never know what Jesus would have done if he existed today. Therefore, to know what Christ would have done, we must ask God in prayer. The scripture tells us in the book of James 1:5 that if anyone of us lacks wisdom, we should as from God, and he will give us. The Lord’s wisdom will help us determine what Jesus would have done.
How is the phrase ‘what would Jesus do’ used today?
The phrase ‘what would Jesus’ do is not popular today as it was before. However, some Christians and religious people still use it. And though the phrase is meant to guide us to make decisions that align with the will of God, people use it to satisfy their desires.
They paint an image of what Jesus would do to justify their doings and cover for what they have done. This is entirely wrong, as this phrase was invented to guide us solely into doing God’s will and not use it as a cover-up to get away with our actions and our own will.
Is the phrase ‘what would Jesus do’ effective in setting moral standards?
The phrase ‘what would Jesus do’ is only effective in setting moral standards when used correctly and not to fulfill our heart desires. When used to imitate how Jesus walked, it would be an excellent example to set moral standards, as Jesus Christ was the only perfect human being to ever exist on earth. Hebrews 2:10, “For it was fitting for him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
How can modern Christians apply the phrase to imitate Christ?
The phrase ‘what Jesus would do’’ is a great reminder to always seek God before making decisions. As mentioned above, the book of James 1:5 says that anyone without wisdom should seek him, and he shall give it to him. Therefore, to know what Jesus would do and to apply that phrase to emulate how Jesus Christ walked, we will have to read from the bible what he did and seek wisdom from God to know what he would do now.
Bible verses about ‘what would Jesus do.’
1st Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
Paul tells Christians to imitate his actions, for he imitates Christ’s actions. Therefore, as Christians, we should walk like Christ, as Paul indicates later on that our actions are letters to be read by others.
1st Peter 2:21 says, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”
Peter reminds us of our core calling in Christ: to follow in his steps. Christ preached and brought more people to God, our calling as Christians.
1st John 2:6 reads, “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way he walked.”
John tells us that whoever claims that he is in God has to walk as Christ walked. Therefore, as Christians, it is essential to be an imitator of Christ as that is what we are called to do.
“What Would Jesus Do”? Origin and Meaning of WWJD Phrase
Is “what would Jesus do?” (WWJD) something we should seek to live by?
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.