In the 1990s, WWJD bracelets became a very popular accessory for many people claiming to be Christians. It was a contemporary grassroots movement that was brought to life by a youth leader at Calvary Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan. Janie Tinklenberg was challenging teenagers faced with decisions (moral or spiritual) in their lives to ask themselves the question, “What Would Jesus Do?” Although there is not anything wrong with asking that question, I believe there is a question that Jesus asked that is way more important to have an answer to, “Who Do You Say That I Am?”
In Matthew 16:13, Jesus asks His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They respond in verse 14, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Jesus desires to hear the disciples’ opinion of who He is. In their answer, they do not say who they think He is, just what others say. So He presents the question to them again but makes it more personal. In verse 15, “He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’”Peter blurts out quickly in verse 16, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Luke chapter 24 recounts a similar occurrence after Jesus’ resurrection. In verses 13-17, the Bible says, “That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing Him. And He said to them, ‘What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk? And they stood still, looking sad.’”Without actually asking the same question He had asked Peter previously, He was still looking for them to tell Him Who they were referring to. Although they were kept from recognizing Him earlier, Jesus reveals His true identity to them in verse 31, “And their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him.”
Everyone will be asked this question that is a moral imperative, “Who is Jesus Christ?” The answers vary from a good man, prophet, teacher, and magician to the Son of God. Do you believe He is everything He claimed? Jesus is quoted in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me!” In Revelation 22:13, He says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” In John 11:25, He says, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” This list could go on and on.
In Romans 10:9, the Bible says, “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” In other words, if we confess with our mouths exactly who Jesus is to us, and believe that God did literally raise Him from the dead, we receive life with Him for eternity.
So is it a bad thing to ask ourselves “What Would Jesus Do” when faced with important life choices? My answer is a conditional, “No.” It is good as long as you first ask yourself the question, “Who Do You Say That I Am?” Then, you will have a better chance of knowing what Jesus would actually do. This is because you will know Him personally and He will not hide Himself or the truth from you. Luke 8:17 adds, “For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”
So, what is the correct response when asking ourselves the question, “What would Jesus do?” I believe Jesus Himself answers it in John 8:31-32 where it says, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’”