Some years ago a faddish abbreviation took hold among many Christians. Pretty soon bumper stickers, bracelets and other trinkets were being marketed with the abbreviation WWJD.
The abbreviation stands for: “What Would Jesus Do?”
It’s not a new question. Christian parents and teachers have long used the question to get children to consider how to behave in any given instance.
We rightly teach our children to follow and imitate the Savior’s example. We don’t want them to follow the crowd. We want them to follow Jesus.
When faced with difficult choices, it is important for a child of God to ask not what would please his friends or even his family, but what would please his Savior. Still, the question can be over-used and abused.
WWJD? “What would Jesus do?” While we know that Jesus would always act according to the holy will of God – as summarized, for instance, in the Ten Commandments – there are other times when we have no way of knowing what Jesus would do.
It is popular in many circles to claim some sort of direct revelation from God when it comes to which corner to build the church on, which job to take, where to live, etc. etc. It is certainly true that God guides our paths in ways past finding out. It is a sure thing that God will cause all things to work together for the good of those who love Him – even our foolish decisions. But none of us are guaranteed a divinely inspired word on whether Jesus would prefer Pepsi to Coke.
WWJD? “What would Jesus do?” This is a law question, not a gospel question. If we lean on a slogan such as WWJD to motivate ourselves or our children, it simply will not bear the weight we put on it. The law can curb outward actions. The law can show us our sin and our desperate need of Christ. The law can serve as a guide for us Christians in our daily lives. But the law cannot save us, pardon us, comfort us, change us, or motivate us.
Good Lutherans might want to ask another question: WHJD? – “What has Jesus done?” It is in what Jesus has done that we find the gospel, the Good News that Christ has done everything for us that we could not and cannot do for ourselves. By His perfect life, atoning death and triumphant resurrection, Christ has done it all!
Todd Ash of Indianapolis tells of waiting in line to check out at a Christian bookstore. The man in front of him asked about the hats on display with WWJD on them. The clerk explained that it meant: “What would Jesus do?” so people would consider this question before making a decision. The man pondered for a moment and then replied: “I don’t think He’d pay $17.95 for that hat!”