One Of The Least Of These Commandments
In Matthew 5, Jesus is preaching to His disciples and told them in verse 19 that whoever breaks one of the least of these
commandments and teaches others to break them will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the
kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach [them], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Its been debated what exactly is Jesus talking about here, when He just about got through barely giving the first part of
His sermon on the mount and there was still much more to come.
“Commandment” is used here which in the original Greek is as follows:
1) an order, command, charge, precept, injunction
a) that which is prescribed to one by reason of his office
2) a commandment
a) a prescribed rule in accordance with which a thing is done
1) a precept relating to lineage, of the Mosaic precept concerning the priesthood
2) ethically used of the commandments in the Mosaic law or Jewish tradition
So one could say that it means an order given, or command such as in the Military. You could also say that it is giving orders
to remain in a certain place, or to be put in charge of something or given a certain amount of authority. IT could also be
written rues or orders , such as in the laws of Moses.
The perspective I ‘d like to take here and what this means to me is that I am inclined to believe that Jesus is talking
about following His Word, not only the written word of God, but His voice.
Here in this chapter when Jesus was giving this list of “rules and regulations” I am sure He realized that people
were not taking notes, they were not recording his speech, or videoing it either.
There were scribes who were probably writing down what He was saying, but I doubt if they went to the local convenient store
later on to photo copy the speech for everyone who was there.
I also don’t think that the disciples took some kind of memory enhancing course, so that they could remember every word
Jesus said. So how were they to obey and follow all of those rules when they couldn’t even remember all of them?
If Jesus was talking about the 10 commandments, well, then, they are pretty easy to remember aren’t they? But was He
talking about the ten commandments only? What about all of the rest of the laws in Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Was
Jesus talking about all of those laws and ordinances too?
So If Jesus meant the 10 commandments, and all of the rest of the laws of Moses, PLUS what He was saying to the people, which
amounted to seventy some odd commandments, boy, that is a lot of memorizing!
So if He wasn’t necessarily talking about instantaneously memorizing all of those laws, commandments and rules, and
keeping each and every single one of them to make sure you don’t end up just a shoe-shine boy in heaven, or sweeping
up the gold dust into your golden dust pan, what DID He mean by “break one of the least of these commandments”?
I mean, just how possible do you think it is to keep every jot and tittle of every ordinance and rule?
Let’s take a look at another passage of scripture where Jesus talks about keeping commandments.
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and [that] your joy might be full.
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
A connection is made between keeping commandments and love.
So, is Jesus saying that in order to love we need to have all these commandments to keep and obey and that is going to be
love? How can keeping commandments be showing love to others? There were people in the Bible times like the Pharisees, who
kept the Laws of Moses but did they go around showing love? Did keeping all those commandments and rituals and ceremonies,
and all those jots and tittles make them more loving?
Obviously not! Keeping all the Laws of Moses, the Ten Commandments, and even all of the rules Jesus laid down, Paul laid down,
Peter laid down, James laid down, and John in the Epistles laid down cannot make anyone more loving. It cannot make you feel
more love towards someone and cause you to lay down your life for him or her.
Because love is an attitude of heart and is not produced by a certain performance or criteria, no matter how long or thorough
the list is.
So then why DID Jesus say we need to keep His commandments, and what are the commandments that we are supposed to keep?
Another hint that may lead us to the answer to this question is found in John 15:3-5
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except
ye abide in me.
I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without
me ye can do nothing.
What is a commandment? It is something spoken or written down. What is the Word? There is the living Word, Jesus, the spoken
Word of God which is spoken by Jesus and the Holy spirit and God the Father, and the recorded or written Word of God.
The Word of God is commandment. It is instruction, doctrine, and shows us the way. 2Ti 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration
of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of
God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
We are made clean by the word of God. The word of God ,Jesus ,abides in us as we abide in Him. This relationship we have with
Jesus where He abides in us and we abide in Him results in fruit for the kingdom of God.
So how are we keeping the commandments of Jesus? By abiding in Him, Jesus , the Word of God. Rev 19:13 And he [was] clothed
with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
You cannot abide in Him and He in you if you are kept so busy trying to keep every dot and tittle of the law and make sure
others around you are keeping every jot and tittle of the law. You just can’t do it.
So what is Jesus saying when He tells us to keep His commandments, when we see that in the Bible that even though there were
those who kept the Laws of Moses and did everything they were supposed to do, like the Scribes and Pharisees, and the rich
We can clearly see that merely performing commandments and obeying laws and rules do not bring lasting peace and love to others.
It’s not the keeping all of the letter and words in the book that saves us or makes us and others happy.
It’s a changed heart and a renewed mind that has to come first, and sincere faith in God’s Word. Not just a dutiful
keeping of old laws and ordinances.
“For the Law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” John chapter one.
John, when he was older, wrote again about keeping the commandments of Christ in the Epistle of 1stJohn.
1Jo 2:3And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
This might almost seem like double talk to some. How can we know that we know Him if we keep His commandments? There are Christians
who are not even sure if they know the Lord yet they try to keep the 10 Commandments. There are Christians who even try to
keep part of the Laws of Moses, and they do not have a relationship with the Lord. There are Christians who keep all of their
church’s rules and ordinances, and faithfully attend church as well as being involved with their various church functions
who are not sure about their relationship with the Lord. I have even talked to Christians who do all those things I mentioned,
and say that they don’t want a relationship with the Lord. They don’t want to be close to the Lord. They just
want to worship the Lord.
As for me I sure would want to know who I am worshipping, and what kind of a God I am bowing down to and adoring. How can
you adore God if you don’t know Him and find out everything you can about Him? Not that you should doubt Him, but a
lot of people make the excuse that we don’t know His ways or His thoughts to mean that we don’t need to know anything
about Him and can’t understand Him, so they just give up on ever having a relationship with Him. They Don’t realize
that God wants to be close to our hearts as we are to His.
He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
Now, wait a minute. John is saying that if we keep His commandments then we will know that we know Jesus. We are now trying
to find out what are these commandments that are being mentioned here. What are we supposed to keep? What does that mean “to
keep”? This word is translated in the King James Version or Authorized Version to mean the following:
AV - keep 57 times, reserve 8 times, observe 4 times, watch 2 times, preserve 2 times, keeper 1 times,
hold fast 1; for a total of 75 times. Most people just naturally think that the word keep means to obey and is referring to
obedience. It CAN also mean obedience in the language of today, but as we see by these older meanings, the word keep has an
even deeper, more meaningful definition.
In today’s language you might say it can be compared to keeping a promise.
When you make a promise or vow a vow, which is the same thing, you are making a commitment to do something, or not to do something,
and that is a very important and precious thing to the person you promised it to. Like a little child. If you promise to take
a child to the zoo, and you forget, or something comes up that YOU think is more important, so you BREAK that promise to the
child and did not KEEP it, or fulfill it, that will undoubtedly be a considerable disappointment to the child, right?
Or putting something away for safekeeping. You’ve heard of the word “keepsake” IT is usually referred to
something you “keep” in a special place because you value that thing because of precious memories attached to
Well, the Word of God is compared to gold, silver, precious stones and many other precious things, in fact, it is exalted
even above these things. The word of God is exalted even above the name of God it is of such immeasurable value!
But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
Now we are trying to define the word “keep” We are seeing that words that are used in the Bible were expressing
a deeper, more meaningful description of something than the same word or words used in today’s language. That is why
you cannot possibly comprehend the full meaning of the Bible by merely comparing it with the language use of today. You have
to go way back to when language was almost a sacred thing, and people really meant what they said, and communication was clear
and simple, not abstract and complicated as it is today.
God didn’t make the Bible too complicated and deep for man to understand it. MAN made it that way with his higher education
and intellect, complicating things and mixing things all up, so that now, the Bible cannot be understood by people who are
too smart for their own britches!
What I am getting at is that perhaps there is a deeper meaning to “keep my commandments” than merely a ceremonial-type
or ritualistic obedience to hard and fast rules and regulations, like the scribes and Pharisees observed, similar to a daily
Now don’t get me wrong, as checklists can be very helpful and needful to remind us of what needs to be done, and when
to do it. However, a long list of rules and regulations, no matter how needful and urgent could never take the place of an
intimate relationship with God. The question is, can we trust God and His power to “keep” us in relationship with
Him without our works trip of trying to do it all ourselves by trying to obey this and that, picking out what we want to obey
and leaving the rest, because the word says that if we have sinned in even ONE aspect of the law we are guilty of breaking
ALL of it.
1Pe 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
1Pe 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
In John 14 Jesus is comforting us and telling us of the promise of the Holy Spirit, who was to come after Jesus ascended to
the right hand of God.
Jhn 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
There is a lot about the Holy Spirit in this chapter, and what the Holy Spirit’s
Mission is to be after Jesus leaves. There are also many good points to consider , but let’s look at this passage in
Jhn 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will
come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Jesus just gets through answering Judas who changes the subject matter that Jesus was expounding on to ask a pretty good question
that Jesus answers to help us get an idea that He and God the Father want to have a relationship with us, and a close one
You can’t very well go and live with someone(in this case inside) and not expect to have a close relationship with him
or her. In these terms, Jesus and the Father, and later the Holy Spirit is brought into the picture loud and clear, as to
what type of relationship God wishes to have with us. Now God can’t get any closer to someone than being inside of him
or her. This is talking about a very personal and intimate relationship here.
With God desiring a relationship of this magnitude, we can understand why Jesus said to keep His words if we love Him and
He and the Father will come
And live with him and be in him.
Keeping His Words is valuing them, treasuring them, counting them better than gold , better than silver. Keeping the Words
of Jesus is putting them in such high esteem that nothing else should give it precedence. Nothing else in our lives should
be more important than the Word of God. Keeping the words of Jesus, His commandments, should be our first love, and seeking
first the kingdom.
It’s not in how much this or thats you did. It’s not in how many this or thats you did. It is not in what you
accomplished and the glory you can bask in that you can pat yourself on the back for and say, “look what I did!”
That is not keeping the Words of Jesus.
It’s in how much we value the Word. How much we think it is worth. Holding it precious, like a dear keepsake, that we
use daily to keep us on the straight and narrow road.
Now Here Is Another Perspective of Keeping the Word.
In John Chapter 10, Jesus says “My sheep hear my voice” So if you are one of His sheep you already are hearing
His voice. “and I know them” There is the perspective of a relationship here. “and they follow me”
Why did Jesus send the Holy Spirit? One reason is that He knew it was going to be just as hard for us to keep the hundreds
of little commandments and shibboleths and rules He laid down in the New Testament, so He sent the Holy spirit to “teach”
us all things and “bring all things to our remembrance” Lord is saying He will be personally teaching us and reminding
us of His Words through the power of the Holy Spirit, so learn the word, abide in the word, let the Word of Christ dwell in
you richly, study to shew yourself a approved of God , a workman that needeth not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word
of truth, and learn the word, let the word renew your mind and heart, search the scriptures daily, hunger and thirst after
righteousness, desire the words of His mouth more than your necessary food, etc, but since God knows it is physically impossible
for us to remember everything at will, He has given us the Holy Spirit, to be like an amplifier of His voice to us, because
the Holy spirit is come to give witness of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit reminds us of the words of Jesus, and we keep them inside, we treasure them. “My sheep her my voice,
and I know them and they follow me, and I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck
them out of My hand” John 10.
The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth, and how we hear the voice of Jesus leading us. “Thy word is a lamp unto my
feet and a light unto my path.” The voice of Jesus will never contradict the Word of God. It will never teach anything
not according to His Word. The Holy Spirit speaking the voice of Jesus to us will always be confirming the Word of God. This
is also true with prophecy. Prophecy will not teach anything contrary to scripture, if it is true
True prophecy will always unite the body of Christ, feed, encourage, uplift, strengthen, enlighten, or heal the body of Christ.
It will have the same nature as the recorded Word of God. It will not be some far out, off the wall, aloof, “new revelation”
that is supposedly “filling in the gaps” of the Bible.
Why would God leave gaps in His Word to be filled in by end time prophets? Where does it say that in the time of the end prophets
will be needed to fill in the gaps because the Word of God was not understood until that time?
So when I talk about hearing the voice of Jesus, I am not referring to New Age prophecy. I am not referring to the Charismatic
movement. I am not referring to lone prophets giving their “prophetic” speeches, or prophetic art or prophetic
music and such.
What I am referring to is that still small voice that speaks to our hearts to comfort us, teach us, lead and guide us, fellowship
with us, just the way Jesus said the Holy Spirit would teach us.
Simply, if you are one of the sheep of Jesus, you WILL hear His voice, and you WILL follow Him, and you WILL have eternal
life, and NO MAN will be able to pluck you out of the Father’s hand.
I am referring to the personal relationship and fellowship that Jesus wants to have with us.
To me, “One of the least of these commandments” means the words, instruction, correction, reminders, encouragement,
and other promptings of the Spirit of God. These will always be according to the Word of God previously recorded in the Bible.
Because Jesus said in John 10:35 “and the scripture cannot be broken”. It cannot be loosed, broken, destroyed,
dissolved, broken up, or broken down according to Strong’s Greek Lexicon.
That makes it pretty solid if you ask me. So when you use scripture, you know you are using something that is a final authority
on the subject.
The Word in the Old Testament is confirmed by the Word in the New Testament, by Jesus and the Apostles, and the Word in the
New Testament in confirmed by the Holy Spirit as the truth to us now through our relationship with God and communication with
“Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God”
John chapters 14, 15, 16, and 17 describe a special relationship that God wants to have with us. IN these chapters we can
understand that God wants to be close to us. In fact so close that He wants to dwell in us. That is pretty close! As I mentioned
before, you can’t get any closer than that to someone!
Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth. 7Canst thou by searching find out God? canst
thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? 8It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou
know?a 9The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea. 10If he cut off, and shut up, or gather
together, then who can hinder him?a, b 11For he knoweth vain men: he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider it?
12For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt.a 13If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out
thine hands toward him; 14If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.
15For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear: 16Because thou shalt
forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away: 17And thine age shall be clearer than the noonday; thou shalt
shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning.a 18And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about
thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety. 19Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid; yea, many shall
make suit unto thee.