In preparation for Sunday’s message, I researched the commands of Jesus. That search yielded several different lists of Jesus’ commands. Some of those listed were implied commands, others were lists that included a number of duplicates. I settled on this list of 25 of Jesus’ commands. These are all direct commands (imperatives) recorded in the four gospels. You might want to add a 26th, as recorded in Acts 1:4-5, “And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, ‘you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’” While this is a reference to Jesus’ command to wait, it is not an apparent direct quote of Jesus.
With that in mind, here is my list. It’s not exhaustive, but these do represent direct quotes of Jesus, explicitly commanding his followers to do these things. I have not included commands that are apparently directly to his 12 disciples, such as when he commanded his disciples to go into the village and prepare the Passover meal for them. “
- Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand —Matthew 4:17
- “Follow Me”—Matthew 4:19
- Let your light shine by doing good works that bring glory to your Father who is in heaven.—Matthew 5:16
- Be reconciled with the one you offended—Matthew 5:24–25
- Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you—Matthew 5:44
- Seek God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness first—Matthew 6:33
- Do not judge by standards you cannot meet—Matthew 7:1-3
- Be persistent in prayer – Ask, Seek, and Knock—Matthew 7:7–8
- Do unto others as you would have them do unto you—Matthew 7:12
- Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing—Matthew 7:15
- Pray for God to send laborers to proclaim the Kingdom of God—Matthew 9:38
- Fear God, not man—Matthew 10:26 and Matthew 10:28
- Honor your parents—Matthew 15:4
- Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me—Luke 9:23
- Do not despise the little children —Matthew 18:10
- Go to those who wrong you first one-on-one—Matthew 18:15
- Beware of covetousness; life is not in the abundance you have—Luke 12:15
- Forgive those who wrong you, even if they keep wronging you over and over—Matthew 18:21–22
- Render to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar, and unto God that which belongs to God—Matthew 22:19–21
- Love the Lord [Yahweh] with all your heart, mind and soul—Matthew 22:37–38
- Love your neighbor as you love yourself—Matthew 22:39
- “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34.)
- “Take eat, this is my body…Drink of it all of you, this is my blood of the covenant…for the forgiveness of sins.” [of the Lord’s Supper]—Matthew 26:26-29
- Make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you—Matthew 28:20
- “Follow me” (John 21:22 – the last recorded words of Jesus in John’s Gospel, and therefore the gospels.
We can boil all these down to two:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” For, Jesus says, “On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”Matthew 22:37-40
None of us ever obeys these perfectly. That is why we thank God for the perfect righteousness of Jesus, and his forgiveness won on the cross, which we receive by faith. If we follow Jesus, we will be led to the cross for that forgiveness, and as forgiven people, from the cross in obedience to his commands.
All this is for God’s glory and our neighbors’ and our own good.