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One of the staples of a child growing up in my home church was the “WWJD” bracelets we all seemed to have. They were handed out in our Sunday School classes and probably during Children’s Church as well, and we were encouraged to ask ourselves before responding to things throughout our days and weeks, what would Jesus do? As I grow older and as the Christmas season continues, it seems more pertinent to ask instead, “What did Jesus do?” Ephesians 5:1 (ESV) says, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” We do not have to hypothesize how to imitate God: Through the life of Jesus, we can see how to follow the example of Christ.

Jesus served. Matthew 20:28 says, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus not only served others as He walked on the earth, healing multitudes, extending mercy, and showing compassion, but He also served as the ultimate sacrifice. He gave up His life so we could spend eternity with Him in heaven.

Jesus sacrificed. He lived a perfect life (1 Peter 2:21-22 says, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth.”) He was sent that we may have life with our Heavenly Father forever, was tempted but did not sin (Hebrews 4:14), and died the death that we deserved (Romans 4:25).

Jesus rose. After His crucifixion, Jesus was in the tomb for three days before He was resurrected that we might live in His resurrection forever (John 11:25-26). Through our belief in His life and death, we know that we have life eternal with God!

During the Advent season, it can be easy to only picture the Messiah as a newborn baby, but it is important to remember that the newborn baby was the One whose life, death, and resurrection purchased our salvation. Jesus died so we could live; He rose so we would be justified; and He is returning for us one day.