What Did Jesus Do?

In the 90’s, the phrase “What Would Jesus Do?” (WWJD) became a popular sentiment among Christians, expressing the desire to live a life in accord to God’s will. A noble cause indeed.

But when it comes to theology, asking the same question has led to different results in different matters. Consider these examples:

Seventh-day Adventists teach that Jesus keeping Saturday as Sabbath is a powerful indicator that Christians today should also honour the holy day of rest (Mark 2:27). Most other Christians counter that the Sabbath was a Jewish institution and Jesus was adhering to his tradition, not setting a specific example.

On the other hand, Seventh-Day Adventists promote a vegetarian diet and total abstinence from alcohol on other grounds. The fact that Jesus did not only partake in these himself, but also provided for others (Fish: John 21:9-12; Lamb: Luke 22,12-15; Wine: John 2:1-10) seems to matter little.

So who is right? I am no theologian, but think perhaps asking “what did Jesus do” is a flawed way of making conclusions. I am a Seventh-day Adventist, and personally I share the former teaching but not necessarily the latter.


Author: Kenneth Mollerup Birch

Living north of Copenhagen, Denmark. MA in Information Science. Interests include communication, internet, sociology, language, politics, religion, theology, travel, music, and food.

3 thoughts on “What Did Jesus Do?”

  1. Kenneth, I think WWJD is a bad approach to situation ethics as well as theology. A Christian should study Jesus and make him the center of his/her life and theology, but asking WWJD is somewhat akin to asking: “When did you stop hitting your wife’?

    As to the Sabbath, vegetarianism and alcohol: If Jesus’ observance (or non-observance) of the Sabbath was the foundation for Adventism understanding of the Sabbath, then our theology would be very poor indeed.

    Also its always frustrated me that our statements of beliefs are formulated as a list. This gives the impression of equality and centrality. Not all of the beliefs that we hold in common are of the same importance or centrality and none of them are prerequisites for the ‘faith in Jesus.’ The health message, while connected to the advent message, is not nearly as important as our understanding of the sabbath and how observance of it enhances our relationship to Jesus.

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