If You Love Me

Yeshua says that, if we love him, we will keep his commandments. Which commandments did he have in mind?

The Hebrew text of the Shema, the commandment emphasized by the Master as the 'greatest commandment'.

In the Messianic Era, Israel will walk in covenant fidelity, observing God’s commandments and statutes. The whole world will live according to the Torah, and all nations will ascend to Messiah in Jerusalem saying, “He will teach us His ways.” Then the Torah will go out from Zion.

The Master told His Jewish disciples, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” A few verses further on in the text, He reiterated the sentiment: “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me” (John 14:21). To which commandments did Yeshua refer?

Interpreters and theologians sometimes attempt to limit the scope of this statement by appealing to Yeshua’s “new commandment” of love for one another or to His summary of the Torah’s greatest commandments: love God; love neighbor. On the contrary, “my commandments” should be understood as the full range of the Master’s teachings, including his admonitions to the Jewish people to observe the commandments of the Torah. In the theology of the Gospel of John, the full range of revelation from the Father came through the Logos. The commandments of the Torah entered into the world and were spoken to Moses through the divine Word of the LORD (the Logos/Memra). From that perspective, the commandments of Yeshua, the Logos made flesh, are the commandments of the Torah.

When Yeshua said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments,” His language echoed the Shema which commands us to show our love to God by keeping the commandments of the Torah. When the Master referred to the Torah as “my commandments,” He spoke to the disciples in the agency of the Father. He did not speak on His own initiative, but by the Father abiding in Him. He spoke as a prophetic voice on behalf of the Father and in unity with the Father.

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)

The commandments the Master binds upon His disciples with the cords of love are the commands, judgments, ordinances, and statutes of the Torah. He bound them to observe even the least of the Torah’s commandments (Matthew 5:17-20). All of Yeshua’s teachings were explanations and interpretations on His Father’s Torah commandments. His apostle John understood the equation, and he explained that every disciple of Yeshua is obligated by love for God to walk in obedience to Torah:

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:3)

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This year Torah Clubs are studying the Gospels from a Messianic Jewish perspective. Every week Club members encounter Yeshua of Nazareth in his Jewish context. Discover the historical and cultural backdrops of the gospels and be amazed as the teachings of Yeshua snap into focus and clarity. Unravel his difficult words and parables; study Jewish parallels to his teachings; and ultimately know Jesus better.

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