To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
- John 8:31
Jesus had a large crowd eagerly listening to him. And some of them believed in him. But, Jesus wanted his hearers to move beyond belief.
Perhaps you’ve heard that Jesus wants us to believe in him. He does. It’s true. But too many people journey only as far as belief. They miss the joy of putting their beliefs into practice. Followers of Jesus don’t just believe things about Jesus. Followers of Jesus hold to his teaching.
We need to familiarize ourselves with Jesus’ teaching. We can read the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We can ask each other questions when we run into things we don’t understand.
We need to keep Jesus’ teaching in the forefront of our attention. We can memorize things that Jesus said. We can establish disciplines of Bible reading to keep his words in our ears. We can gather together regularly to discuss Jesus’ teaching.
We need to obey Jesus. His teaching about loving God, neighbors and enemies; his call to care for the poor; his challenges about money, sexual purity, suffering; all of Jesus’ teaching lies before us as “a straight and narrow path” (Mt. 7). Our mental assent must be transformed into action if we want to claim to be his disciples.
If we know, remember, and obey Jesus’ teaching … if we hold to his teaching, then we’re his disciples.
Which of these three do you need to focus on today: knowing, remembering or obeying Jesus’ teaching? What practical action can you take today?