What We Learn From Jesus
How to Follow Christ
When people put faith in Jesus, he would often say: “Be my follower.” (Matthew 9:9; 19:21) What is involved in being Jesus’ follower, that is, in being a Christian? Consider the answers to three key questions.
How should you treat others?
▪ A disciple of Jesus should follow the instructions on how to treat others. For example, Jesus said: “All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you also must likewise do to them.” What if someone offends you? Jesus said: “Be about settling matters quickly with the one complaining against you.” He also told his followers: “If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”—Matthew 5:25; 6:15; 7:12.
To married individuals, Jesus gave this counsel: “You heard that it was said, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone that keeps on looking at a woman so as to have a passion for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” A true Christian allows Jesus’ teachings to affect both his mind and his heart.—Matthew 5:27, 28.
True Christians sacrifice their own comfort to help others. Jesus was self-sacrificing. For example, during an exhausting preaching trip, Jesus and his apostles had no free time even to eat a meal. So Jesus took them by boat to a lonely place to rest. But people heard where he was going and ran ahead of him. The Bible account says: “On getting out, he saw a great crowd, but he was moved with pity for them, because they were as sheep without a shepherd. And he started to teach them many things.” (Mark 6:30-34) You can imitate Jesus by doing what God asks of you, even though you may encounter difficulties.
Why should you share the good news?
▪ Jesus taught his followers to share the good news. He told the apostles: “As you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.’” (Matthew 10:7) Jesus’ followers have a message of great value. Jesus prayed: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God.”—John 17:3.
Jesus foretold a work in which millions of his followers would share. He said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations.” (Matthew 24:14) If you have learned about God’s Kingdom and believe what the Bible says, you will doubtless enjoy sharing what you know. Many followers of Jesus start by speaking about God’s Kingdom to their relatives.—John 1:40, 41.
Why should you be baptized?
▪ When Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan, he evidently said in prayer: ‘I am come to do your will, O God.’ (Hebrews 10:7) If you want to do God’s will, you too should be baptized. Jesus commanded: “Make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them.”—Matthew 28:19.
What responsibilities and benefits come with being baptized? Baptized followers of Jesus serve God with their whole soul. Jesus quoted God’s Law, which says: “You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul.” (Matthew 22:37) He also said: “If anyone wants to come after me, let him disown himself.” (Matthew 16:24) Baptism symbolizes a person’s decision to disown himself or herself and to be owned instead by God. Those in this special relationship can ask God to give them a clean conscience.—1 Peter 3:21.
For more information, see chapter 18 of this book, What Does the Bible Really Teach? published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.