In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. (Matthew 26:55)
In this verse, Jesus is being arrested by the Temple guards, and He reminds them that He is the same person who preached and taught among them for the last three years. Even when He is being treated like a common thief, He tells them to remember what He has said to them. The four gospels refer to Him teaching 43 times, preaching 19 times, and preaching and teaching 6 times. This indicates that Jesus spent twice as much time teaching as He did preaching. Preaching brings people to Jesus, but teaching makes disciples out of them. Jesus was making disciples, not just converts.
The Greek word for disciple means “a learner,” and indicates “learning by endeavor” or what we would call “on-the-job training.” Jesus said in John 8:31, “If you continue in My word, then are you are My disciples indeed.” Anyone who continues to read, study, meditate on, and hear the teaching of God’s Word is Jesus’ disciple.
“Jailhouse religion,” where a person is only sorry they got caught and just wants to get out of a bad situation, will not produce true discipleship. These people give their lives to Jesus, and the moment they leave the jail, they go back to their worldly ways. They are not a disciple of the Lord until they get in church and submit to the teaching of the Word.
Today you can examine your lifestyle and see whether or not you are acting like you have “jailhouse religion” or are a true disciple of the Lord. Every believer can get fired up and inspired by a preacher, but it is your pastor and other teachers that will bring the Word of God to you in ways that your heart will receive it with gladness and be transformed. The teaching of the Word is what will bring real stability and joy to your life in Christ.