The Commandments of Jesus

Collected By John David Clark, Sr. - October, 1993

Concerning the commandments of Christ Jesus, he himself made the following statements: "If ye love me, keep my commandments.... He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me. And he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.... If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings.... Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." So, to express our love for Jesus, and to be blessed my the Father, it is necessary for us to receive Jesus' commandments and obey them.

Commandments may be implied in virtually everything Jesus ever said. His parables suggest commandments concerning man's behavior, as do his descriptions of the wise and foolish, the good and evil, and so forth. For example, Jesus. in Luke 14:33 said, "Whoever of you that forsaketh not all that he hath cannot be my disciple." This is not in the form of a commandment, though one may be implied. Jesus, in this instance, did not command those following him to forsake all they had. He merely warned them that only those who did so would be his disciple. So, in the following list of commandments, I do not include any such statements. There are also commandments which Jesus gave to demons, and commandments he gave to men for specific reasons not intended for the general public, such as his orders to two of his disciples to fetch him an ass to ride upon. And there are still other commandments to his disciples which applied to them at that time, but were not, either then or now, for everyone else. I have focused on the commandments which apply generally to all who would follow Jesus as their Lord.

An impressive surprise for me in this study was how very few direct commandments Jesus gave. John wrote, "His commandments are not grievous", and how true that is! To the poor souls who were struggling to understand and obey the thousands of painfully detailed ordinances which the rabbis of ancient Israel imposed upon God's people, Jesus' few and easily understood commandments were a relief almost impossible now to comprehend. He condemned those experts in religious matters for their oppressive ways (Lk.11:45-46), and told the people, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavily laden, and I will give you rest", but only a few brave souls dared to venture beyond the fences which Israel's leaders had constructed around them, to come to the rest which Jesus offered.

Jesus is still offering rest. And if we will be bold enough to forsake the vain-glorious religious ways of men and keep Jesus' commandments instead, we will find it.

Legend: M = Matthew K = Mark L = Luke J = John

The Sermon on the Mount

In Luke, The Sermon on the Plain

M.5:11-12 When persecutions come simply because you have done what is right in God's sight, rejoice and be extremely happy, for you have a great reward in heaven.

L.6:22-23 One of the happiest moments of a man's life should be when he is hated and abused for Christ's sake.

L.6:24-26 One of the most tragic things that can happen to a man is to have plenty of earthly possessions and be well-liked by all men.

M.5:16 Live such a godly life that people, seeing you do good deeds, will have respect for your Father which is in heaven.

M.5:23-24 Do not come to worship God until you have settled any legitimate grievances against you.

M.5:25-26 Make every effort to be reconciled with those whom you may have wronged, lest they bring their complaint to God. There is no escaping His justice. If you do not make right the wrong you have done to another while you can, God will cause you to reap the very last ounce of grief that your evil deed deserves.

L.12:58-59

M.5:29-30 Cut off a precious member of the body rather than to allow the whole body to be corrupted and lost. It is better to lose one member of the body, however important, than that the whole body should be destroyed. K.9:43-48

M.5:34-37 Do not make promises, for you may not live to keep them. Simply state your intentions.

M.5:38-39 Never do violent harm to anyone, even in self-defense. To please God, you must be willing to be mistreated.

L.6:29a If someone strikes you, do not resist him. Let him do it again.

L.6:29b-30 If someone unjustly takes your goods away, let him take the rest, not even asking to have them back. Never turn down a request for what you have, regardless of who asks for it.

M.5:40 And if someone sues you for your coat, give him also your shirt.

M.5:41 If you are forced to do a favor, do two favors instead.

M.5:42 Lend to those who want to borrow from you, and give to those who ask for your aid.

M.5:43-48 Be, like your perfect heavenly Father, without fault. Love even your enemies, and do good to everyone, including those who despise you and try to harm you.

L.6:27-28 Always do good to others, even if they do evil toward you.

32-33, 36 Be like this, for your heavenly Father is like this.

M.6:1-18 Do not make a show of your religion, or it will be in vain. There will be no eternal blessing for deeds done to be seen by men. This means, do not make a show of your charity, or your praying, or your fasting. Do these kinds of things in secret, not looking for men either to know about them or to reward you for them, but trusting the Father to know and to reward.

M.6:19-24 Do not hoard up money on earth, but labor to have a heavenly treasure. If you are pursuing money, you are not serving God.

L.6:38 Give to others, and God will see to it that others give to you.

L.6:34-35 And do not be like the unbelievers, who charge interest on their loans, but be like your Father, who freely gives to all.

M.6:25-34 Take time to consider God's care for animals and plants, that you might learn not to be anxious about your essential needs each day. Let your first concern be your need for the righteousness of God, and trust God for the rest. Do not waste a single thought today on the needs of tomorrow. After all, what can you change by thinking about it? L.12:22-31

M.7:1-2 Do not make any judgments, lest you be turned over to the power of the judgments of others. Do not condemn others and you will not be condemned. And if you want forgiveness, you yourself must be forgiving. L.6:37

M.7:3-5 Do not try to correct others until your own blinding faults are gone. Make your own heart right, and then you may be able to render spiritual guidance to others. L.6:42

M.7:6 If you try to minister the things of the Spirit on your own, you will bring the holy things of God into contempt, unnecessarily making enemies in the process. As Uncle Joe says it, "If you get to people before God does, you're wasting your time."

M.7:7-11 Ask, seek, and knock for the things of God, and they will be given to you.

M.7:12 Treat others the way you would like to be treated. This is what the Law and all the prophets were trying to show you to do. L.6:31

M.7:13-14 There are just a few people who find the way into eternal life. Therefore, choose the narrow way.

M.7:15 Beware of Christian ministers, those who merely think they are God's servants.


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