There are Ten Commandments of God in the Old Testament. There are arguably Eleven Commandments of God if you consider the teachings of Jesus.
Below are the Ten Commandments of God, given to Moses, as found in “The Living Bible Paraphrased”:
“I am Jehovah your God who rescued you from slavery in Egypt. Never worship any god but me.” (Deuteronomy 5:6-7)
“Never make idols; don’t worship images, whether of birds, animals, or fish. You shall not bow down to any images nor worship them in any way, for I am the Lord your God. I am a jealous God, and I will bring the curse of a father’s sins upon even the third and fourth generation of the children of those who hate me; but I will show kindness to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Deuteronomy 5:8-10)
“You must never use my name to make a vow you don’t intend to keep. I will not overlook that.” (Deuteronomy 5:11)
“Keep the Sabbath day holy. This is my command. Work the other six days, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God; no work shall be done that day by you or by any of your household – your sons, daughters, servants, oxen, donkeys, or cattle; even foreigners living among you must obey this law. Everybody must rest as you do. Why should you keep the Sabbath? It is because you were slaves in Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out with a great display of miracles.” (Deuteronomy 5:12-15)
“Honor your father and mother (remember, this is a commandment of the Lord your God); if you do so, you shall have a long, prosperous life in the land he is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 5:16)
“You must not murder.” (Deuteronomy 5:17)
“You must not commit adultery.” (Deuteronomy 5:18)
“You must not steal.” (Deuteronomy 5:19)
“You must not tell lies.” (Deuteronomy 5:20)
“You must not burn with desire for another man’s wife, nor envy him for his home, land, servants, oxen, donkeys, nor anything else he owns.” (Deuteronomy 5:21)
The Ten Commandments are binding on Christians today, just as they were in Jesus’ time. Jesus’ teachings did not replace the Ten Commandments that had been given by God to Moses. Nor were Jesus’ teachings inconsistent with them.
To the contrary, Jesus embraced the Ten Commandments, even though He may not always have believed that they were understood or applied as God intended: “Someone came to Jesus with this question: ‘Good master, what must I do to have eternal life?’ ‘When you called me good you are calling me God,’ Jesus replied, ‘for God alone is truly good. But to answer your question, you can get to heaven if you keep the commandments.” (Matthew 19:16-17)
Many Christians assert that Jesus added an eleventh commandment before He was led away for the trial that would result in His crucifixion: “And I am giving a new commandment to you now – love each other just as much as I love you.” (John 13:34) And some further believe, based on Jesus’ teachings, it is the second-most important commandment of all.
Christians may argue whether Jesus’ commandment was intended to be “an eleventh commandment” to the laws God gave Moses. Whether they agree or not, Jesus’ command that we “love each other” is an integral part of Christianity; it plays an important role in our understanding of who God wants us to be.
“A lawyer once asked Jesus, ‘Sir, which is the most important command in the laws of Moses?’ Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second most important commandment is similar: ‘Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.’ All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if you obey them. Keep only these and you will find you are obeying all others.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
It is not easy to love each other. In fact, it’s a huge challenge. To have the capacity to love everyone as Jesus does may be impossible without the help of God and the Holy Spirit. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try — and keep trying until we get it right.
Maybe we should start by imagining how we would act if we could love someone as much as Jesus loves us? Maybe we should start by imagining how we would treat someone who is not easy to love if we could only love them just a little bit more? Maybe we should practice visualizing our enemies as someone who we love dearly and then treat them that way? Maybe — just maybe — if we imagine we love a stranger as Jesus loves us, our imagination will take hold of our hearts and love will have a chance. For I don’t believe Jesus would ask something of us unless with God’s help it were possible: Jesus said, “…But with God, everything is possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
One thing is certain: Unless we pray for God’s help to open our hearts to each other, Jesus’ challenge to us will have no chance at all.
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