“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
Then you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Jesus did not answer him. However He had given His disciples the answer earlier when He had said, “I am … the truth.” (John 14:6)
Jesus is the Truth. Not some concept or teaching but the Living Person of the Son of God Himself. Every answer or understanding that we seek is to be found in Him. To know the Truth is to know the Lord Himself and only He can set us free with a freedom that is total, real and everlasting.
Jesus is prepared to give us Himself with all that He has for us. He is prepared to set us free from sin and guilt, from the spiritual bondage and oppression that has crippled our lives, and from the loneliness and separation from the Father consequent upon the sin of humankind. And He is prepared to lead us into the truth about God as it is revealed in and through Him as our Lord and Saviour.
However He makes it clear that there is a condition to our coming to know the reality and depth of this truth. That condition is that “you hold to My teaching.”
To hold to His teaching means more than to agree with it. It implies trusting His teaching, accepting it as relevant and necessary to our new life with Him, living it and holding on to it at all times. This means that we are entrusting our lives to the One who is the Truth and who speaks the truth at all times. Notice that those who do not “hold to my teaching” are not His disciples – they have in effect rejected Him by rejecting what He taught.
- “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” (John 14:21)
- “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love” (John 15:10)
To know the truth is to have an intimate knowledge and understanding of it. This only happens when we work with it, absorb it into our lives and live around it. By comparison to really know an apple you have to eat and digest it. This is what the Psalmist would have had in mind when he said, “Taste and see that the LORD is good.” (Psalm 34:8)
And so in the Great Commission Jesus commanded His followers to make disciples by baptising them and “and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20)
Where am I holding to the teaching of Jesus Christ – and where not?
Lord Jesus please help me to trust You by trusting Your teaching – and not to fear being obedient to You. Amen.