Come to Jesus moment refers to a moment of sudden realization, which propagates radical change in an individual, similar to a religious conversion – coming to Jesus.
Although the exact origin of the expression with its specific meaning is not known, the phrase “Come to Jesus” originates from the 1800’s, when the Christian revivalism movement was at its peak, with many-a preacher using the sentence to motivate the masses to return to a religious life.
By the turn of the 20th century, the phrase had already deformed somewhat, with many using it to refer to the usual outfits of preachers, especially highlighting the collars, giving a somewhat mocking and humorous undertone to “Come to Jesus”.
“Come to Jesus” moment started appearing in its currently known slang form in the 1970’s, referring to an epiphanous moment of realization, followed by a sudden change in behavior.
“Come to Jesus moment” became popular in modern culture, especially with the introduction of the internet, where it promptly became a meme.
It was used in a wide variety of contexts by the 1990’s, related to a necessary change of attitude in either relationships, workplace, or school.
“Come to Jesus moment” was first defined on Urban Dictionary on July 5th, 2013.