Remember? It became popular in the United States in the 1990s. The phrase is a reminder to reflect on the actions and examples of Jesus. Caution, this is not an easy thing to do. Hint, if it seems obvious, you may be wrong. Hint, if it seems to put you in an awkward/uncomfortable position, you may be right.
Considering what Jesus would dos is hard because, well, we are Human and prone to impulsive bursts of emotion. After the burst of emotion that leads to impulse … then comes rationality often accompanied by regret.
When I consider WWJD, I consider two stories; the reason is they reveal Jesus the man, and God the father. The first is the story of the Money Changers.
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves. Matthew 21:12–13
The story is one of the very few times when we witness Jesus’ outward anger at injustice. Anger is one of those implosive bursts of human emotion I was talking about. The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is both God and man. Scripture is clear that Jesus is God (John 20:28; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8), and it is equally clear that He is truly human (Romans 1:2–4; 1 John 4:2–3). Jesus claimed the divine name (John 8:58) and did things that only God can do (Mark 2:1–12; Luke 7:48–50). But Jesus also displayed the weaknesses and vulnerabilities common to humanity (Luke 19:41; John 19:28).
The other story of injustice I consider is the woman caught in adultery (a sin of sexual immorality punishable by death). If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel. Deuteronomy 22:22
The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now, what do you say?” They said this to test him so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.” John 7:53–8:11, NRSV
It is a beautiful message of mercy and forgiveness balanced with a call to holy living and a CLEAR example of WWJD. It is not surprising that this has endured in Christian thought … bot not Christian action.
This may be my favorite story about Jesus. Because, for me, it reveals the nature of God. There are two moments in the story that hit me. First, is the writing in the sand. There is a lot of speculation about what Jesus was writing, including the one I prefer. The idea is He was writing a list of the sins committed by each of the Jewish leaders present.
The point of the passage is not what was being written in the dirt, but rather that hypocrisy in judging others is forbidden. He highlighted the fact that no one is without sin and the importance of compassion and forgiveness.
The second moment is when he addresses the woman. She had been caught. She was guilty. She did deserve stoning according to the Law of Moses. When Jesus refused to condemn the woman, He was not minimizing the importance of holiness. He was offering her the same kind of forgiveness He offers every one of us.
From this passage we learn that we do not accuse others unless we first thoroughly search our own hearts and minds to make certain that we are pure in every possible aspect (Matthew 7:3). Also, if we must admonish someone, we should do so as instructed in Scripture; we always look to God’s glory and never cause unnecessary division or harm (Matthew 18:15).
When considering WWJD consider it’s not the easy way, the hard stuff seldom is. You may even find yourself judged harshly for doing WWJD.