Jesus after Easter (a 50-day series), “…teaching them to τηρέω …”

Most of us long for miracles.  And Jesus’ perfect life, death on sinners’ behalf as the fulfillment of Passover, and His physical resurrection prove that He is willing and able to meet our greatest needs:  complete forgiveness and a new heart to trust and follow Him as our living King.  But even in the Bible, most of the journey with Jesus is lived in the moments between miracles.  In this 50-day series, we’ll consider some of those moments leading up to the next great miracle in the New Testament:  the fulfillment of Pentecost and the incredible growth of the Church.


Over the past few days and the next few, we’re focusing on some of Jesus’ key words and phrases in what is commonly known as the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20.  If, like me, you often seek a better understanding of passages by reading different translations, you may know that one key word of verse 20 is translated as “teaching them to ‘observe‘, ‘obey‘, ‘practice‘”, etc.  It seems clear that the word refers to taking action.  So why do so many seem to live as if it reads merely “teaching them to understand…”?

Reading and hearing about Jesus at church on Sunday mornings is certainly important, but there are 168 hours in every week.  Hearing God’s Word on Sunday mornings is only a small part of following Jesus by faith in Him.  At some point we have to follow Christ and step into the world of the lost.

The Greek work, τηρέω, in the original text can be translated as “keep, guard, observe, watch over”.  It’s similar to the message of the Hebrew word שָׁמַר in Genesis 2:15 when the Lord gave Adam the responsibility to “keep” the garden of Eden.  But we must remember that He was also to “work” the garden so it bore fruit for God’s glory.  It was a literal picture of God’s physical provision and a metaphor of His spiritual fruit.  The Greek word In Matthew 28:20 conveys both guarding and working.  We must continue to live God’s original mandate and not merely stand watch to ensure no one defiles what God has given.  We’re to act on Jesus’ teaching.  And the Lord is clear that we’re also to teach others to act on them.

So who has the Lord given to you?  He’s put some faithful believers in your life who can teach you how to obey Him in your family, at your job, and in your neighborhood.  And if you’re a passionate follower of the Lord – even though you’re not perfect – He’s put some people in your life who need you to teach them to obey Him, too.  You don’t need to know all the answer or have everything perfected in your life.  No one fits that description.

You simply need to love the Lord and help them follow Him, just as you continue to you seek help to follow Him, too.


I hope today’s thought and others in this series will be helpful to you as you journey with Jesus in the moments between miracles.  One down and forty-nine to go.

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