The Commands of Christ

Many people have compiled lists of the commands of Christ.  There are actually a lot of “judgment calls” that are required to do so.  You need to make some decisions about whether He was making a generalized command or a specifically limited command which was only applicable to the specific person in the specific situation.  There are many places where He gives a command which is clearly to a specific situation but there is evidence from other Scriptures that the command can and often does have broader application.  There are also commands which were given multiple times in different contexts and one must determine whether to count that as a single command or multiple commands.  One must also decide whether or not to include passages where Jesus is quoting the Old Testament.

With all that said, I have made my own list.  It has 94 commands.

Why have so many people (including me) gone to the trouble to make such a list?  I cannot speak for everyone, but I (and I suspect many others) have done it because of Matthew 28:19-20, the Great Commission.  In that verse, Jesus commands His followers to make disciples.  There are several participles in that verse in addition to the primary (imperative) verb.  In one of those participial phrases, Jesus describes the act of making disciples as including “teaching them to obey all I have commanded you.”  In other words, every follower of Christ is to seek to get others to follow Jesus, and that includes getting them to obey all His commands.  Since that is the case, it is pretty important that we have a clear idea of exactly what His commands are.

A German friend of mine, Wolfgang Simson, compiled his own list.  He describes it as “the constitution of the Kingdom (of God).”  I believe that is a helpful way to think of it.  We are citizens of the Kingdom of God.  Jesus is King.  His commands are the constitution, the laws, the principles, the standards, the practices for living in that Kingdom.  With that in mind, I am starting a series of blog posts which look at the commands of Christ.  You may differ with me on the inclusion of some of the commands.  That is fine, but don’t lose the larger narrative that our lives should be characterized by what Jesus commanded AND as His followers we should be getting others to love (and thus obey) Him as well.  This is not optional or for extra credit.  It is the very essence of what it means to be His follower.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:19-20