Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.”
Hold to Jesus’ Teaching
A little over 500 years ago, on October 31, 1517, a monk named Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This document contained statements questioning the church’s teachings about how God forgives sinners.
Its intention was to encourage scholarly discussion, but it grew into something much more important. In fact, only four years later, Martin Luther stood trial before the most powerful men in Europe because his questioning of the church was becoming a reformation of the church.
The issue, in this case, was not how we are forgiven but who was in charge of Christianity. Luther believed that Jesus’ teaching in the Bible was the one source of authority for Christians. But at that time, almost everyone believed the church’s leaders in Rome were in charge.
So, at his trial they asked him a simple question: “Will you recant?” He knew what they meant: “Will you admit that you were wrong and take back everything you taught?” They wanted him to say yes, but that would mean letting go of Jesus’ teaching. But Luther was Jesus’ disciple and had learned to hold to Christ’s teaching at all costs.
What about you? Do you want to be Jesus’ disciple too? You are Jesus’ disciple if you hold to his teaching. That means hearing, reading, learning, and taking it to heart.
And when the Word is heard, things happen. Jesus’ Word opens deaf ears, unlooses mute tongues, expels demons, illuminates blind eyes, and raises the dead. Jesus is the Word made flesh that dies and returns to life. His Word promises that sinners are forgiven through faith in him. Luther knew that Christians had to hold on to that teaching at all costs, because it frees us from listening to those who contradict God’s Word.
That is why he refused to recant and gave them a simple answer: “Unless I am convinced by Holy Scriptures and plain reason my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither safe nor right. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me! Amen.”
Lord, keep me steadfast in your Word. Amen.