You may be familiar with acronym WWJD from the 1990s that stands for:
What Would Jesus Do? (WWJD)
It was used to get teenagers to think beyond normal teenage rationale in the faith. Of course, the secular (worldly) do not like this kind of devotion to Messiah and mock it every chance they get. The infamous cartoon Southpark is just one of so very many that mocks WWJD. They do this in an episode by stating that Messiah did not suffer for humanity’s sins, because he was a druggie and stoned. Of course their ignorance in their mockery is no surprise:
Mark 15:22-23 (CJB)
They brought Yeshua to a place called Gulgolta (which means “place of a skull”),
and they gave him wine spiced with myrrh, but he didn’t take it.
Dr Craig Keener writes the following on myrrh:
“women of Jerusalem normally prepared a solution like this one and offered it to those being executed to dull their pain… .Myrrh is said to have had narcotic effects.”
They may have justified doing so because of the following verse in the psalms:
Proverbs 31:6-7 (CJB)
Give strong liquor to one who is perishing,
wine to the deeply depressed;
let him drink, forget his poverty
and cease to remember his troubles.
Of course, in context this verse is used as a contrast against a king drinking wine and forgetting what is decreed and perverting justice to the poor as a result of that drinking . . .
WWJD is about walking the walk and not just talking the talk . . . it is about doing.
That being said, there is an inherent problem with WWJD whether intended or not – it presupposes that one could and would actually know what Jesus would do in a particular situation. It can lead to dangerous suppositions based on individual feelings and wants . . .
Not sure what I am getting at? Let’s say a teenager likes sushi . . . A LOT! Let’s also say that they wear a WWJD bracelet and try to apply it in their life. Through teenage reasoning, they declare that Jesus would eat sushi . . . A LOT! Is this the gospel message? Is this what the bracelet was intended to promote?
You see, we only know what Jesus would do based upon what we read in the text. We know that He preached about those that would not go to heaven. We know that He healed the lame and raised the dead. We know that He fed the homeless. We know He did not sin. We know that He loved others and we know that He showed mercy to sinners and the poor . . . We know He performed the greatest act of mercy and love ever – He died for us!
In part 2 of this series, we looked at a verse that was written long before the WWJD acronym and is about the same thing:
1 John 2:6 (CJB)
A person who claims to be continuing in union with him
ought (owes and is indebted) to conduct his life the way he did.
WWJD is an attempt to address the “to conduct his life the way he did” part of this verse and can be very effective, provided that one actually knows how He conducted His life.
It is a “claims” vs. “doing” dichotomy. It is a talk vs. walk dichotomy!
WWJD is not about trying to play God or be God, it is about trying to conduct our life in the same way that He did – from the examples that He gave us.
I would submit that there may be a much better way to look at this:
WWJ(not)D? – What Would Jesus (not) Do?
We are told in the text ‘Do not commit adultery.’ Yeshua (Jesus) takes it a step further when He states:
Matthew 5:28 (CJB)
But I tell you that a man who even looks at a woman
with the purpose of lusting after her
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
- He would NOT break the command concerning adultery
- He would NOT lust after a woman
- He would not view porn on the internet
- He would not buy Playboy to read the articles
“to conduct our life the way He did.” is to also not do what He did not do.
We are told in the text “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” It is a sane and merciful command from the Father that restricts us from exacting revenge – from going beyond what has been done to us . . . from hurting them MORE than they hurt us. It is about avoiding anger which leads to Hell. Yeshua (Jesus) takes it a step farther when He states:
Matthew 5:39-41 (CJB)
But I tell you not to stand up against someone who does you wrong.
On the contrary, if someone hits you on the right cheek,
let him hit you on the left cheek too!
If someone wants to sue you for your shirt,
let him have your coat as well!
And if a soldier forces you to carry his pack for one mile,
carry it for two!
- He would NOT exact revenge
- He would NOT neglect mercy towards another that was hurting Him
- He would NOT do the “minimum”
- He would NOT stop loving them
Yeshua (Jesus) was a traveling itinerant. Literally homeless.
Matthew 8:20 (CJB)
Yeshua said to him, “
The foxes have holes, and the birds flying about have nests,
but the Son of Man has no home of his own.”
In spite of this, He fed the poor (over 5,000 on 2 separate occasions). Jesus would NOT neglect the poor in His midst . . . He didn’t then and He wouldn’t now.
Jesus talked a lot about the rich men – about how hard it was going to be for them to enter heaven. The reasoning is pretty simple . . . it is explained in part of the prayer He taught us:
Matthew 6:11 (NASB)
‘Give us this day our daily bread.
You see, when we don’t have to depend on God for our needs – for our daily bread . . .
When we can stockpile what we need by our own hand and our own effort . . .
Our human nature is to be prideful in our own self-sufficiency . . . the works of OUR hands, not HIS.
I want you to contrast the following verses to the modern day teachings on money:
Proverbs 19:17 (CJB)
He who is kind to the poor is lending to Adonai;
and he will repay him for his good deed.
Matthew 25:40 (CJB)
The King will say to them,
‘Yes! I tell you that whenever you did these things
for one of the least important of these brothers of mine,
you did them for me!’
Matthew 25:45 (CJB)
And he will answer them,
‘Yes! I tell you that whenever you refused to do it
for the least important of these people,
you refused to do it for me!’
- He would NOT endorse or teach the prosperity gospel
- He would NOT teach that material wealth was a sign of true faith
- He would NOT use His Messiah-ship to gain material wealth
- He would NOT ignore the poor in his midst
In fact, there are many modern day teachings that contradict what He taught and did. There are many modern day doctrines that He would NOT be part of – not do:
- He would NOT act drunk like the Holy Ghost bartender
- He would NOT shake his head from side to side as He revealed a word
- He would NOT teach the ‘little gods” heresy
- He would NOT take a lap around the assembly for God
- He would NOT “snort lines of scripture” and act stoned after doing so
- He would NOT kick a little old lady in the face with his biker boot to heal her
- He would NOT wrap himself in a Torah scroll
- He would NOT wave his coat around as part of a show to heal people
- He would NOT pay for and attend sporting events(He didn’t in Rome because of what they represented)
- He would not listen to or buy secular music because there is NO darkness in him
- He would NOT pay money to go see The Hunger Games or 50 Shades of Grey
- He would NOT take a selfie of his abs and say “Yo bo-wee, look how cut the Son of Man is!”
- He would NOT seek revenge when someone hurt Him . . .
The list here is HUGE!
If we look at WWJ(not)D, honestly and with humility, and we do this as self-professed followers (ie, Christians), then one question begs to be asked because followers obey His commands and follow His examples:
If He would NOT do it, why do you?!?