Sunday School Lessons


Commentary by Walter Albritton


May 11


A Genuine Disciple Will Listen to Jesus and Obey Him


Mark 8:27 – 9:8

Key Verse: [Jesus] asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.”

--Mark 8:29


            Once I asked a key leader of my church, “When did you become a disciple of Jesus?” He replied, “I have been a Christian all my life. My parents took me to church when I was a baby, and I have been going ever since.”

            I realized he was confused about what it means to be a Christian. Attending church all your life does not make you a disciple of Jesus.

            You become a disciple of Jesus when you acknowledge that you are a sinner, ask God to forgive you for your sins, and accept Christ into your heart as your Savior and Lord. God rewards this intentional decision to trust Jesus with the gift of salvation.

            The promise of God is made clear by Saint Paul, in Romans 10:9-10: “…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

            If indeed we grow up within the church, we gradually learn many wonderful things about Jesus and about ourselves. We discover that Jesus is the Good Shepherd and that we, as little children, are his lambs.

             We learn that Jesus is our friend, and that he loves us. We learn that Jesus is a great teacher, perhaps the greatest teacher who has ever lived. We may even think of him as a great prophet.

            As wonderful as all this is, it is not until we begin to understand the divine identity of Jesus that we are ready to become his disciples. This is often for many of us a “revelation” moment, as it was for Peter, when God revealed to him that Jesus was the Messiah.

            Such a moment usually brings us to our knees in surrender. We realize that Jesus was more than a friend, more than a great teacher, and more than one of the prophets. He was truly the Son of God, the Savior of the world, the King of kings, and Lord of Lords.

            Belief in the resurrection of Jesus is part of this equation. We realize that Jesus was not only an historical person, like Abraham and Isaac, but that He is alive today!

             So, convinced that He lives, we surrender to him, as in the humble words of the familiar song, “Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way! Hold o’er my being Absolute sway! Fill with thy spirit Till all shall see Christ only, always, living in me.”  

            Genuine discipleship begins with such a surrender. It continues as we “listen” to Jesus, and obey him. To follow Jesus is to trust his guidance in our everyday lives. We find that where once we admired Jesus, now we want with all our hearts to please him.

            On the mount of transfiguration, Peter, James, and John heard some of the best advice God has ever given: “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Actually, God gives us also that admonition: “Listen to Jesus!”

            He lives. He speaks. He guides. He provides. He shows us how to live. He tells us what we are to do to honor him as faithful disciples today.

            When we truly listen to Jesus, we understand that real discipleship is much more than attending church. It is sometimes paying a great price to follow Jesus. The road home is characterized by sacrifice. The old gospel song sums it up quite well: “I must needs go home by the way of the Cross; the way of the Cross leads home.”

            May God give us grace not to flinch when genuinely following Jesus requires that we take up our cross and walk on in faith. + + + +