What Did Jesus Teach About the Ten Commandments?

By COGwriter

Some said Jesus did away with the ten commandments. They say that by leading a sinless life, He fulfilled them for us. Although it is true that Jesus lead a sinless life (Heb 4:15), does that mean He wanted us to continue in sin? What did Jesus teach about each of the ten commandments? At risk of repetition, His teachings are quoted in this section as often as they are quoted in the New Testament. Before you read them, ask yourself, if Jesus was doing away with the ten commandments, why would He have spent so much time teaching people to keep them and allowed so much space in the New Testament to be devoted to them?

Commandment 1 "You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve" (Mat 4:10). "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and the great commandment" (Mat 22:37). "And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment" (Mk 12:30). "You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve" (Luke 4:8).

Commandment 2 "You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve" (Mat 4:10). "You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve" (Luke 4:8). "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24). "But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam...to eat things sacrificed to idols" (Rev 2:14). "Nevertheless, I have a few things against you, because you allow...My servants to...eat things sacrificed to idols" (Rev 2:20).

Commandment 3 "Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men" (Mat 12:31). "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts,...blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man" (Mat 15:19-20).

Commandment 4 "What man is there among you who has one sheep, and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath" (Mat 12:11-12). "And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath" (Mat 24:20); there would be no reason to pray this if the Sabbath was not going to be in existence. "And He said to them, 'The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath'" (Mk 2:27); this verse tells all who will see which day is the Lord's Day. "And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue" (Mk 6:2). "And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read" (Luke 4:16). "Then He went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbaths" (Luke 4:31). "The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath...Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?" (Luke 6:5,9). "But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath...The Lord then answered him and said, 'Hypocrite...So ought not this woman...be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?'" (Luke (13:14-16). "'Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?'...And they could not answer Him regarding these things" (Luke 14:3,6). "are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath?" (John 7:23).

Commandment 5 "For God commanded saying, 'Honor your father and your mother' and 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death'" (Mat 15:4). "Honor your father and your mother" (Mat 19:19). "Honor your father and your mother" (Mk 7:10). "Honor your father and your mother" (Mk 10:19). "You know the commandments:...Honor your father and your mother" (Luke 18:20).

Commandment 6 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder', and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment" (Mat 5:21-22). "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders...These are the things which defile a man" (Mat 15:19-20). "You shall not murder" (Mat 19:18). "...murders...All these evil things come from within and defile a man" (Mk 7:21,23). "Do not murder" (Mk 10:19). "You know the commandments:...Do not murder" (Luke 18:20).

Commandment 7 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery'. But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Mat 5:27-28). "But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery" (Mat 5:32). "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts...adulteries, fornications...These are the things which defile a man" (Mat 15:19-20). "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery, and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery" (Mat 19:9). "You shall not commit adultery" (Mat 19:18). "...adulteries, fornications...All these evil things come from within and defile a man" (Mk 7:21,23). "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery" (Mk 10:11-12). "Do not commit adultery" (Mk 10:19). "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery" (Luke 16:18). "You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery" (Luke 18:20). "'Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery'...And Jesus said to her...'sin no more'" (John 8:4,11). "Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation" (Rev 2:22).

Commandment 8 "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts...thefts...These are the things which defile a man" (Mat 15:19-20). "You shall not steal" (Mat 19:18). "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer', but you have made it a den of thieves" (Mat 21:13). "...thefts...All these evil things come from within and defile a man" (Mk 7:22-23). "Do not steal" (Mk 10:19). "You know the commandments:... Do not steal" (Luke 18:20).

Commandment 9 "Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord. But I say to you, do not swear at all" (Mat 5:33-34). "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts...false witness...These are the things which defile a man" (Mat 15:19-20). "You shall not bear false witness" (Mat 19:18). "Do not bear false witness" (Mk 10:19). "You know the commandments:...Do not bear false witness" (Luke 18:20). "And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars" (Rev 2:2).

Commandment 10 "Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on" (Mat 6:25). "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts...These are the things which defile a man" (Mat 15:19-20). "...covetousness...All these evil things come from within and defile a man" (Mk 7:22-23).

"I have kept My Father's commandments" (John 15:10).

So it is clear that Jesus taught everyone of the ten commandments and that he also kept them.

Martin Luther Stated Jesus Meant the Opposite of What He Said

The Bible, in Luke 10:28, states,

And he said unto him, "Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live" (KJV).

Yet Martin Luther taught,

To do means to believe-to keep the law by faith. The passage in Matthew: Do this and thou shalt live, signifies Believe this and thou shalt live. The words Do this, have ironical sense, as if our Lord should say: Thou wilt do it tomorrow, but not today; only make an attempt to keep the Commandments, and the trial will teach thee the ignominy of thy failure (O'Hare, p.205).

Although Martin Luther mentioned Matthew's account (which is in Matthew 19:16-21), the quote in question is actually from Luke 10:28. It is because of such misinterpretations of what the Bible states that many Protestants have tossed out the necessity to keep the ten commandments, even though scholars agree that they were kept by the early Christians (please see the article The Ten Commandments and the Early Church).

Martin Luther's comments clearly suggest that he felt that Jesus meant the opposite of what He said in Matthew 19:17,

"But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments."

Two articles of related interest may include Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? and Hope of Salvation: How the Genuine Church of God differ from most Protestants.

It needs to be realized that Jesus was prophecied not to do away with the law but to give it more honor! Notice what God inspired the prophet Isaiah to write:

21 The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness' sake; He will exalt the law and make it honorable. (Isaiah 42:21)

The law was always about love and by explaining more about that, Jesus magnified the law.

Jesus Also Taught

"And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one jot or tittle of the law to fail" (Luke 16:17); in the next verse He then discussed the seventh commandment. Interestingly, although Jesus said, "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law" (Mat 5:17), that is what many have concluded. When He also said, "I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled" (vs.17-18), some have concluded that "fulfill" means that Jesus came to destroy the law (interestingly, Jesus fulfilled baptism by being baptized, not eliminating baptism 3:13-16). In many of the verses following (5:19-37, several of which are quoted above) Jesus proves that He did indeed come to "magnify the law and make it honorable."

How?

"Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and the great commandment. And the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and Prophets" (Mat 22:37-40); in other words the law of God is involved in showing love to God and your neighbor!

Perhaps that is why Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15) as well as "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love" (John 15:10). "He who does not love Me does not keep My words" (John 14:24).

Jesus gave His famous Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) and expanded the meaning of various commandments, including those of murder (Matthew 5:21-22) and adultery (Matthew 5:27-28).

For further proof, Jesus said of the future, "And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold" (Mat 24:12). Breaking the law (lawlessness) is linked to lack of love, which Jesus said would grow cold--the whole abortion issue seems to be a partial fulfillment of this--murdering babies is certainly not loving them. Jesus magnified the law by explaining its direct link to love; in particular (as quoted above after each respective commandment) He expanded the peoples' understanding of the first, fourth, sixth, and seventh commandments! This was even prophesied! "He will exalt the law and make it honorable" (Is 42:21).

Do true Christian's keep God's commandments? "And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev 12:17).

Jesus said, "If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words? (John 5:46-47). Not every one that says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven" (Mat 7:21). "The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire" (Mat 13:41). "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin" (John 8:34).

Jesus condemned the Pharisees because they did not keep the commandments, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?...And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Mat 15:3,9). "He answered and said to them, 'Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me, And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men...All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition'" (Mk 7:6-9) (you can click here to see how the Pharisees tried to violate all ten of the commandments).

Notice that eternal life is tied in to keeping the commandments according to Jesus: "But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments" (Mat 19:17)."Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, 'Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?' So Jesus said to him..."You know the commandments" (Mk 10:17,19) and then He listed half of the ten commandments (also in Luke 18:19-20).

"In the beginning was the Word...All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made" (John 1:1,3); would not "all things" include the commandments? The last words of Jesus in the Book of Matthew were, "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 of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt 28:18-20). Should you be keeping His commands? Jesus answer remains, "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord' and do not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46) and "My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it" (Luke 8:21). "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them" (John 13:17).

For more information, you may wish to read the articles Were the Ten Commandments in Effect Before Mount Sinai?, What Did Paul Actually Teach About Ten Commandments? , Were the Pharisees Condemned for Keeping the Law?, as well as Were the Ten Commandments Nailed to the Cross? All are also available from http://www.cogwriter.com

Thiel B. Jesus and the Ten Commandments. www.cogwriter.com 1999,2000/2006/2007/2008/2012/2013 1014

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