In one sense it’s an irrelevant question — Jesus is the Son of God, the third person of the Trinity, perfect in all His attributes and actions, completely sinless. I can’t do what He would do.
On the other hand, it’s an essential question — because Jesus is fully man and obeyed God and fulfilled the Law not out of His deity alone, but out of humanity. He knew and submitted to the Scriptures and the Spirit of God in the same way we can and do and fulfilled the Law not because as God He couldn’t sin, but because as man, He was fully obedient to God. So WWJD is a good question for us.
John the Apostle makes a similar assertion in 1 John 2:6 — “the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” If we say we are believers in Christ and followers of Christ, then there is an inward moral obligation — a sense of “oughtness” — that compels us to live the way Christ lived.
The believer in Christ mimics and imitates Christ because Christ is the supreme example for the believer. But even more than that, he imitates Christ because he belongs to Christ. Christ is his Master and He does what his Master does and what his Master commands.
Now the question is, what did Christ do as He lived His life that the believer imitates? As you read the Gospels and Epistles, there are many possible answers:
- The believer loves with Christ’s sacrificial love (Jn. 13:12-17)
- The believer joyfully endures suffering and trials (1 Pt. 2:21-23)
- The believer lives as a servant (Mk. 10:45)
- The believer knows and uses the Word of God (Mt. 4:1-4)
- The believer strives against sin (Mt. 4)
- The believer lives with humility and gentleness (Mt. 11:29)
- The believer has a passion for evangelism (Lk. 19:10)
- The believer is obedient (Jn. 4:24)
- The believer prays (Mk. 1:35)
- The believer is submissive (Heb. 5:7; Mt. 26:39)
Those are all true, yet there is one supreme way of living the way Christ did that John probably intends us to think about in this verse: Christ lived obediently to the Father. This theme is dominant in John’s Gospel. Consider, for example:
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (6:38)
“And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” (8:29; also 10:17-18; 14:31)
And if we are sons of God, then we will a pattern of obedience to our Father even as our big brother, the firstborn Son of God, lived obediently and submissively to the Father.
One writer has well-said,
“If we really walk in the light with God, our behaviour will become more and more like that of the Lord Jesus. It is not that we obey God’s commands in order to make ourselves good enough to walk in the light with him. That is the cul-de-sac called legalism. Rather, those who truly walk with God love to obey him because in that way they grow a little more like him each day. That is the high road called grace.” [David Jackman]
So if you are a believer, live like Christ. He has given the example and the power you need to live like Him.