Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.”
A Soviet-born stand-up comedian, Yakov Smirnoff, once told a story about his first impressions, after he moved to America in 1977. He was amazed at the endless variety of instant products he could buy at the store. For instance, there was powdered milk; just add water and you have milk. Then there was powdered orange juice; just add water and you have orange juice. Then he saw baby powder and thought, … what a great country!
Sadly, there are people who think that discipleship works the same way. You take a believer, add a little baptism water and “poof” you have a fully devoted disciple of Jesus Christ. The truth is, it takes more than water to make a disciple. In fact, this responsibility is so important that all the authority of heaven has been placed on it. Disciples must be taught to obey everything that Jesus commands (Matthew 28:18-20).
The Jews in Jesus’ time thought that a formal profession of faith in Jesus Christ was enough. They argued that as descendants of Abraham, they were heirs to God’s promises and would never accept servitude to anyone else. Jesus reminds them, that as children of Abraham, they must do what Abraham did (John 8:39). And if God were their Father, they would love Jesus, rather than plan to kill him (John 8:40-42). In other words, a child follows his parent’s teaching.
Jesus’ reminder to the Jews of his day, is equally relevant for us today. It is not enough to profess that we are Christians. If we love God and call him Father, we must hold to his teaching, and if we hold to his teaching then, and only then are we really his disciples.
Dear believer, if Jesus were to review your life today, would you pass his discipleship test, or would you be found wanting? Would he find you walking the talk? Would he find you making disciples, or have you settled for less? In the midst of a world that has blurred the lines between truth and falsehood, he is still speaking Truth, reminding us more urgently than ever, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” Holding on and pursuing holiness is the essence of discipleship, without which no man shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).
Almighty God, there’s an urgency that surrounds humanity, as you call us back to a life of discipleship. Fill us afresh with your Spirit, so that he might lead us to your Truth. Give us listening ears and tender hearts so that we might hear your still small voice clearly. Remind us once again, that now is the time of your favor, now is the day of your salvation (2 Cor. 6:2). Begin your purifying process with me, Holy Spirit (Psalm 51:10). In Jesus’ name. Amen.