Keeping the Commandments of Jesus Christ

(John 14:15 NKJV) "If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

We are quick to rationalize “Jesus’ commandments” as the Ten Commandments or the Jewish Mosaic Laws, but Jesus hardly mention these laws and in fact made it a point not to judge us (John 3:17). Jesus did not preach the Law, and instead of putting the heavy yoke and requirements of the law upon His disciples, He declared that, "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Mat 11:30 NKJV). This was contrasted to the Pharisees in Mat 12:2 who insisted on the strict obedience to the law and even criticized Jesus for not following the law by picking grain from the field on Sabbath because they were hungry.

We are reminded of the Christian Right, who rationalize this verse to mean the Jewish law, to accuse gay Christians of not loving Jesus by having same sex relationship. They must be very desperate to come against gays, even blaspheming against the core character of Jesus. Jesus’ yoke was instead easy (Mat 11:29), no longer the long “do” and ‘don’ts” of the law, but the exaltation of “only believe”, to love our enemies, to love your neighbor. We are to rest in the finished work of the Cross.

Jesus was asking His disciples to walk the road of ministry, as He had walked, to “follow me”, to become the fishers of men. You would know His commandments, by following Jesus, doing what He did, and not doing what He did not do. The more religious and conservative we are, the more difficult it can be, to follow the commandments of Jesus. Jesus was indeed an enigma. In clear contrast to the modern churches,:-

  • Jesus had no associations with politicians
  • Jesus was against violence and war
  • Jesus was not a religious conservative
  • Jesus was not wealthy
  • Jesus did not desire political/religious power
What Jesus asked us to do, in our walk to follow Him:-
  • Jesus was a meek and gentle Savior
  • Jesus redefined traditional family
  • Jesus had only one absolute

(Mark 8:15 NKJV) Then He charged them, saying, "Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod."

    • Jesus had no association with Politicians

The National Prayer Breakfast by the Politicians in Washington highlights how closely the Republican Party is interlinked to the Christian Right. The conservative Rev Pat Robertson once even ran for the Republican nomination for President in 1988.

Jesus simply refused to be associated with Politicians. Even when sought by Herod, or had a chance to redeem Himself with Pilate, He made no political deals and refused to work miracles for them to substantiate His claim of spiritual authority.

    • Jesus was against violence and war.

When the High Priests came to arrest Jesus, Jesus allowed them to arrest Him and even rebuke Peter for taking the sword out to defend Him (Mat 26:52). He could have sent 10 legions of angels, yet chose the non-violent road. In fact, Jesus did the opposite and healed the servant of the High Priest whom Peter had injured in trying to defend Him. Jesus lived by His commandments “"But I say to you, love your enemies,…” (Mat 5:44). Even for self defense, He did not retaliate.

The Christian History is filled with violence and killings in the name of God and religion. When Hitler, a Catholic rose to power, there was no outcry even when he killed millions of Jews. We are reminded of the Spanish Inquisition, where 200,000 Jews had to flee from Spain. In Rome, the Jews were confined to a Jewish ghetto in Via Portico d’Ottavia. Jewish children were forced to convert and the Jews were compelled to attend mass. The oppression by the Catholics only ended with the loss of power by the Pope to the new Italian Government in 1870. However, this discrimination lingered on, and was revived in the 1938 racial laws in Rome where all the Jews were expelled from public jobs.

    • Jesus was not a religious conservative

Jesus was the enmity of the conservative religious leaders. He challenged their religious hypocrisy, their outward appearance of righteousness but inwardly worst sinners (Mat 23:27). Jesus chose to live and eat with those that the religious conservative considered as dirty and immoral. He avoided the gatherings of the religious conservatives. They brought a Prostitute to trap Jesus, and not gay men. If homosexuality was such an obvious sin, and God “hates” sin, surely they would have bought gays to be killed. They did not for they knew the condemnation against same sex activities in Leviticus was based on the 12 Jewish tribes worshiping Baal and Ashtoreth in book of Joshua and Judges (Jud 2:13). It had nothing to do with same sex orientation. Solomon had so many wives and concubines because he worshipped Ashtoreth (1 Kings 11:5), a naked women idol.

  • Jesus was not wealthy

Jesus was not wealthy like Abraham, David, and Solomon. Jesus’ life was simply too frugal for us. He had no money and the money was kept and shared on a community basis. He had no house (Luke 9:58) and a permanent place to stay and was a wondering Pastor preaching from place to place. Jesus had no church building and His congregation was on the move. We would have liked Jesus to ask His disciples to build Him a temple, the likes of Solomon. (It would help in our building fund drive) Yet, He never asked for a building and instead said that He was the living temple, and each of us, can be the abode of God through the Holy Spirit.

The only indignation He had was with the money changers at the Jewish temple who wanted to make money out of religion, for the Pharisees liked money (Luke 16:14). We may have the best band, best praise and worship, and the largest congregation, and the most expensive building, but do we give Him all the glory.

    • Jesus did not desire political /religious power

We would have like Jesus to be Joshua, and David, to conquer the mountains of religion, business, government, Education, Entertainment, Education, and Family. Jesus knew that the Kingdom of God was not the kingdoms of this world nor was He to be lord over them. Even in the mountain of religion, Jesus chose the churches in the gutter of society instead of the mega churches. He wanted the kingdom of God to be within our hearts where He can be Lord and Savior over our lives. It would be based on friendship and relationship not based on human rule or compulsion (John 15:14,15). Jesus knew that one may conquer all the kingdoms of the World, yet the hearts lay far away from God.

The worship of God must come from within, worshipping God in the Spirit (John 4:23,24) not based on the rules and regulations, and animal sacrifices, and in truth concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are called to worship Jesus, not the large mega churches, the charismatic pastors, the ancient traditions and dogma, or even a bible translation. Jesus was not interested in the outward religious structure and repeated forms/liturgy (Mat 6:7), but an inward change of character and a soft heart to abide and be in relationship with God.

    • Jesus was a meek and gentle Savior

We often make Jesus the bible thumping hell fire evangelical Christian, when He was meek and gentle. They tried to put force Him to come against the Prostitute and the tax collector. But He always gave grace and mercy. We apply the Law literally, while Jesus looked at the context. He was more concerned of the Spirit of the Law, because He knew that the letter of the law can be rationalized by religious conservatives not wanting to follow it (Mat 19:6-9) even for adultery and divorce.

Jesus was also no humanitarian leader and did not organize any institution to champion for women’s rights, to alleviate poverty, for education, land rights, or civil rights. He fed the poor and healed the sick, but it was not His primary agenda. His primary agenda was to proclaim Himself as the Messiah, the way to God, the Father. The rule and reign of Jesus would come within the hearts of men and women, when they accept Him into their lives. It was an inward change. He demonstrated the authenticity of His message through powerful signs and miracles of healing. He cared not only for their eternal salvation, but for their everyday living and subsistence.

    • Jesus redefined “traditional” family

The Jesus family was not a man and a women, with a quiver of kids. He redefined family, as His disciples. When His mum insisted on seeing Him, He declared His disciples as His family. Jesus did not focus on marriage and kids, or talked about family life. Instead, His associations with women was considered as an affront to the family – meeting single women such as Mary and Martha without their male partners etc., or being anointed with perfume by the prostitute. Jesus defined the correct notion of family, and He include all in His family, whilst we make it a point to exclude gays and Lesbians. A family is where we find our relationships, belonging, and communal responsibility to each other rather than for the purpose of procreation.

    • Jesus had only but one absolute

Jesus had no listing of “Do”, and “Don’ts”. He seemingly had no stance with regards to the Tax collector, the Prostitute, and instead of criticizing the Centurion who sent his boyfriend to be healed, He pronounced him a man of faith. He met with the Samaritan Women which broke all the Jewish moral laws. However Jesus insisted that He was the Messiah, the way, the truth, and the Life to God the Father. He didn’t treat the reality of judgment, the need for His death, the existence of hell and heaven or His victory over death in His resurrection as a mystery, or product of our imagination. He did not deny the existence of Satan nor temptation.

He knew that His disciples will have to make a choice “just to believe” by Faith of the reality of His death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins, and not just a good bed time story with a spiritual metaphorical meaning. Jesus did not go to Parliament to insist that Gays be put in Jail, nor for Prostitution to be banned, and for the tax collector cheats to be persecuted.

Jesus was uncompromising that He was the Messiah, the truth and the only way to God (John 14:6-7), in the context of the many religions that existed then and today. It was the only absolute that Jesus refused to compromise (and it's not gay marriage). The Good news of Christ's death and resurrection may be foolishness to the more intellectually minded (1 Cor 1:23), but in it revealed and testified the power and wisdom of God to confirm the uniqueness of Christ and His claim to be God, and the plan for salvation(1 Cor 1:24). It was not a "God of many names", but His name is Jesus. It was His insistence that He was the Messiah that the Jews crucified Him, for they knew He was claiming to be God, not only a teacher of truths concerning God.

We are so quick to insist that the Laws never passed away and we are to follow the Old Testament Ten Commandments, yet we seldom follow a Christ centered ministry. When we do not see miracles in our church, we say that it had "passed way" or that our Faith is insufficient or insufficient money given to the money changes at the temple. Jesus did not leave us a lists of do and donts commandments, He left us core pinciples and a new way of living and relationship/connection with God, contrary to the OT dispensation or the ways of the World to conquer the seven kingdoms which we are now so eager to fall back to.

(Mark 14:38 NKJV) "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

We have a very zealous generation of Christians building large mega churches and wanting to conquer the world for Christ. There is no doubt that in the Spirit we are willing to follow Jesus all the way even to death. But the test of their faith is not in the Spirit, but the temptation of the flesh, the temptation of religious pride, money, power, self righteousness, all which we see when the churches unite to insist that gays be put to prison in 377A, or in the Aware Saga to conquer the kingdoms of this world. Gays are the "ice-cream" of temptation, the sweets to be eaten and enjoyed by Christians as the rail in their Holy indignation through the Singapore National Council of Churches, and the Anglican Global South.

The temptation by Satan is real, and not to be denied. It is temptation because it is coated with half truths, and often with regards to gray areas such as the Gay issue. In affect, our CHristian spiritual zeal is used to persecute the outcasts and the despised such as the gay community, instead of exalting them before God and men and standing by their side in love, and compassion. We are not walking the ministry of Jesus, but puting ourselves in risk of moral judgement by sinning against the weak and defenceless, and worst still in the name of God.

We are to be vigilent to watch and pray and to embrace a love relationship with Jesus, resting on the assurance of Salvation in His finished work and the promises of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. It is time to let God have His way in our lives, for His yoke is light and we will find rest and peace in Him. It is time to start hearing the small voice of God instead of being taken over by a self righteous zeal and religious pride. We are to love instead of hate, loving not out of compulsion, but because we are part of God's family for He first loved us. For when we do so, the World will see Jesus Christ in us, the Hope of Glory. Great revival awaits us when we walk as Jesus did, by the Spirit of God and not by our flesh. Let us let God have His way. Let us be quick to love, and slow to judge, living our lives with humility, praising always our Lord and Saviour.

(John 15:12-14 NKJV) "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit ’till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.



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