You may remember the WWJD (“What Would Jesus Do”) bracelet phase. The bracelets were a very well-intentioned movement to get Christians to think about their actions and responses. How would Jesus react in any given situation?
Would Jesus get angry? Would Jesus be generous? Would Jesus pray for the sick?
Great questions to ask.
However, I think those bracelets got it a little wrong.
Christians are very different to Jesus.
Jesus was the unique God-man Saviour.
Jesus mission was unique: he came as the God-man to die for the sins of the world. He rose to rule and will return to judge.
Christians have a very different mission to Jesus. Christians live by grace as a result of what Jesus achieved for them.
Whatever imitating Jesus means, it does not mean copying him.
Otherwise Christians would need to be homeless, single, celibate, Jewish, die for the sins of others, walk on water, heal people and turn water into wine.
Would Jesus get angry?
Maybe he would. But his righteous anger is a lot different to our unrighteous anger.
Would Jesus be generous?
Yes, he would. But remember that on one occasion Jesus cursed a fig tree because it simply bore no fruit. Not a very generous attitude.
Would Jesus pray for those sick?
Sure. But many times, instead of praying, Jesus simple restored sick, disabled and dead people. Christians don’t have that authority. We pray, “God, your will be done, not ours.”
Imitating Jesus must mean doing what is wise and loving for us in our situation, knowing that Jesus may well have acted differently.
Perhaps we should have WSIDKINJ bracelets? What Should I Do Knowing I’m Not Jesus?
Or, as Rory Bell suggested, What Would Jesus Have Me Do?
* Thanks to Gerald Bray for the insight during our excellent course on the Person and Work of Christ at George Whitefield College.