Remembering Jesus’ Words

Pointing at Bible

On the first day of the week following Jesus’ crucifixion, a group of women came to the tomb and discovered it to be empty (Luke 23:55-24:3). Instead of finding the body of Jesus, they saw two angels who explained why Jesus was not there:

Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again” (Luke 24:5-7).

At this point, Luke indicated that they “remembered His words” (Luke 24:8). After that, they went and told others (Luke 24:9). In other words, remembering what Jesus had said led them to action.

In this article, we are going to discuss why we are to remember Jesus’ words, how to do this, and what we should do with His words once we get to the point of remembering them.

Why Should We Remember Jesus’ Words?

The women who went to Jesus’ tomb remembered His words. But why should we remember them?

  • His words are authoritative – “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you’” (Matthew 28:18-20). Because Jesus has “all authority,” He has the right to rule us and expect us to obey Him. Therefore, His word must be followed. When Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount, the people recognized this about Jesus: “When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes” (Matthew 7:28-29). There is a difference between the words of Jesus and the words of mere men.
  • His words are instructive – “He opened His mouth and began to teach them…” (Matthew 5:2). This statement introduced the Sermon on the Mount. His words were meant to teach. As He taught, He provided instructions that came from above (John 12:49-50).
  • His words are beneficial – “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” (John 6:63). Peter recognized that Jesus had “words of eternal life” (John 6:68). There is nothing to gain by rejecting Jesus’ words.
  • His words are eternal – “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away” (Mark 13:31). Not only does this mean that His words will last forever, it also means that His words are just as important for us today as they were when they were spoken. Peter said we are “born again…through the living and enduring word of God” and that this word “endures forever” (1 Peter 1:23-25). So Jesus’ words will endure and they will always be the seed that leads to eternal life.
  • His words will judge us – “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day” (John 12:48). Paul told the Corinthians, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). Since His word is the standard by which we will be judged, we need to remember it.

How Can We Remember His Words?

Jesus promised His apostles that they would be directly guided by the Holy Spirit to remember His words (John 14:26). This was done for them because they were chosen as His official “ambassadors” (2 Corinthians 5:20); therefore, they needed to accurately relay His message to others. They were also eye-witnesses of Christ who would “proclaim” what they had “seen and heard” (1 John 1:1-3). Today, we “believe in [Jesus] through their word” (John 17:20) rather than through inspiration and direct guidance by the Holy Spirit. So how can we – uninspired men and women – remember Jesus’ words?

  • Read His word – “Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching” (1 Timothy 4:13). While the context of this passage suggests the public reading of Scripture, it would certainly apply in principle to the reading we may do privately. Reading leads to understanding (Ephesians 3:4); understanding enables one to remember.
  • Listen to His word – “As He said these things, He would call out, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear’” (Luke 8:8). God expects us to learn from others. This is why He made preaching so important in His plan: “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14). The work of “evangelists…pastors and teachers” is “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-12). Whether one is a Christian or not yet a Christian, listening to God’s word is important.
  • Value His word – “They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb” (Psalm 19:10). If His word is valuable to us, we will be more inclined to retain it in our memories. The psalmist “remembered [God’s] ordinances” and “the wicked” forsook God’s law because of the value that each placed upon His word.
  • Meditate upon His word – “O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). This is how we have God’s word “treasured in [our] heart” (Psalm 119:11). We must regularly think of God’s word so that we do not forget it.

What Should We Do with His Words?

It is not enough to simply remember Jesus’ words. It is possible for His words to be useless to us. The Hebrew writer explained this by citing the example of the Jews who were led out of Egypt: “For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard” (Hebrews 4:2). The word did not profit them because it was not united by faith. What must we do to hear Jesus’ words and unite them with faith?

  • We must believe His words – “So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken” (John 2:22). Jesus came “to testify to the truth” (John 18:37). Because He spoke the truth, we must believe His word.
  • We must obey His words – “His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it’” (John 2:5). This goes back to what we discussed earlier about Jesus’ words being authoritative (cf. Matthew 28:18-20). It is not enough just to believe in Him. James wrote, “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder” (James 2:19). He then said, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24). Jesus is “to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Hebrews 5:9).
  • We must teach His words – “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). This commission was given to the apostles, but it applies to us in principle. That is why, when persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, we read that the disciples “who had been scattered went about preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). We should seek to share our knowledge of Jesus’ words with those around us.

Conclusion

It is very easy to forget the words of Christ and “drift away” from them (Hebrews 2:1). To keep from drifting, we need to recognize why His words are important for us to remember. After this, we need to do what we can to retain His words in our memories. Then finally, we need to take His words and believe them, obey them, and teach them to others.


When you subscribe, you’ll also receive 3 free PDF’s: Plain Bible Teaching on Blessings, the latest issue of Plain Bible Teaching Quarterly Review, and Social Issues.


Comments

  1. Wayne D. Teel says

    Very good and very encouraging article, Andy. Thanks for the good reminder to remember the words of Jesus. They are life to us.