Summary: Compares Old Testament observance of the commandments with Jesus’ expectations.
THE 10 COMMANDMENTS
HOW SHOULD CHRISTIANS OBSERVE THEM?
All of the great religions that proclaim belief in one God submit to the 10 Commandments. Yet, how do we, as Christians, understand and obey these so-called Jewish commandments?
Please read Exodus 20:1-17 For the Christian, the 10 Commandments are more stringent, yet more achievable, than Jewish practice demanded. How is the Christian understanding of the 10 Commandments more stringent, and why can we more easily achieve them? We shall first consider the stringency of Christian obedience to the Commandments. The first commandment reads: YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME. The ancient Jews understood this to mean they must worship the God of Israel, and no other. Likewise, modern Judaism’s mission is to protect the spiritual life and practice of Jewish people. There is no mandate to reconcile non-Jews to the one true living God. Jesus also says to worship no other gods. But he goes further, calling his followers to a rigorous mission of proclaiming the Good News to all peoples. Jesus says in John 14:6 that He is the only way to reconciliation with God the Father. Additionally, in the Great Commission he tells us to make and train his disciples.
The second commandment reads: YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FOR YOURSELF AN IDOL. Ancient Israel focused on the literal making of idols, because false idolatrous religion was so common then. Today one could be certain to find prohibitions in Judaism against religious statues and the like. Jesus took this one step further. He said that we must not let family become an idol. You had better be willing to hate–or abandon–your parents and siblings rather than compromise your love for God. Jesus also said we must not let our possessions become an idol. We cannot serve God and money.
The third commandment reads: YOU SHALL NOT MISUSE THE NAME OF THE LORD YOUR GOD. Ancient Israel hesitated to use the name of God at all. This is why you so often see the terms “GOD” and “LORD” in the Bible, rather than YAHWEH. Today, the more conservative Jews even hesitate to use the title God. In their writings they write G-d instead. Jesus teaches that we can use the name of God–in power. He still insists that the name be revered however. Jesus says that in his name you shall heal the sick, cast out devils, and do works greater than he has done. Many shall say to Jesus, “Did we not do great works in your name?” And He will respond saying, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” Recall that the seven sons of Sceba used the name of Jesus to deliver a man from demons. Yet, they did not know Jesus. The demons left the man–but attacked those who would disrespect Jesus name by using it in ignorance.
REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY BY KEEPING IT HOLY. Ancient Jews had numerous rules about what could and could not be done on the Sabbath. Modern Jews have those same rules and volumes of commentary on how they can be applied with today’s technology. As an example, in the heavily Jewish neighborhoods in South Miami Beach the elevators in condominiums automatically stop on each floor during the Sabbath. This way, no Jew is “creating work,” by pressing buttons or causing power surges in the elevators’ mechanisms.
Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Therefore, it is okay to heal on the Sabbath. It is okay to work at getting food, so as not to go hungry, on the Sabbath.
Finally, it is okay to have special days or to treat every day the same, so long as the glory and honor go to God.
HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER. Ancient Israel had specific laws about how you were to honor your parents. So long as your treatment towards them complied with the laws, you were okay. Modern Jews continue to pay general homage to the need to honor parents, and comply with religious guidelines on how to do so. Jesus said we have to honor our parents with our hearts and spirits, as well as our mere compliance. Corban meant you could give money to the Church (Temple) that should have gone to your parents. Jesus says you must not use the Church as an excuse not to care for your parents. Jesus also says that parents must not drive their children to anger through harsh treatment.
YOU SHALL NOT MURDER. Ancient and modern Jewish practice would take this literally. You should not kill people. Jesus said that to angrily denounce someone is a murderous act. He said we are to love our enemies.
YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY. Ancient and modern Jews would take this literally–you must not have sex with somebody other than your spouse. Jesus said that to even lust after another woman is adultery.