If you love me, you will keep my commands.
This is turning into a mantra of sorts for the Torah observant. They seem to think it is a key verse that proves if you love Yeshua, you will keep the commands of the Law. That love for Yeshua is expressed by keeping the commands of the Law, and so proves to the world that those who keep the Law are His disciples.
This verse comes from a much larger context that when understood nullifies any chance of it commanding the keeping of the Law. We see in fact that Yeshua was given Words to speak to His disciples, and these are the commands spoken of every time. The context starts with the last Passover, during which time Yeshua was instructing His disciples, and preparing them for the separation they were about to endure. In fact, consecrating them for the covenant they were about to enter, with God, through Yeshua’s blood.
How interesting that it is Yeshua who is comforting the disciples for what they are about to endure. When in fact, it is really Himself who is about to go through the most burdensome job of serving through the death. Yet it is He who comforts and sustains the disciples. THIS is our example of how to observe the commands of God. This is His example of how to love God and others. This is the fullness of the Torah expressed to us in Yeshua.
So, if showing love to God is keeping his commandments, then this is Yeshua explaining to his disciples the full extent of how He kept the commandments of God. This was Yeshua starting to show his disciples the fullness of keeping God’s Commandments.
1 Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He now showed the disciples the full extent of his love.
3 Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. 4 So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, 5 and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he had around him.
7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now why I am doing it; someday you will.”
10 Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you are clean,
12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because it is true. 14 And since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 16 How true it is that a servant is not greater than the master. Nor are messengers more important than the one who sends them. 17 You know these things — now do them! That is the path of blessing.
- Matthew 7:12 “Do for others what you would like them to do for you. This is a summary of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.
31As soon as Judas left the room, Jesus said, “The time has come for me, the Son of Man, to enter into my glory, and God will receive glory because of all that happens to me. 32 And God will bring me into my glory very soon.
34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
The original Passover was a shadow of what Yeshua does for those who believe Him and His Word. During the Jerusalem Passover Yeshua condensed the Passover/Exodus/Mt. Sinai history into one night.
The same way God used Moses to take His people out of Egypt, starting with the Passover, crossing through the sea, and brought them to the foot of the mountain to hear the Words of God. In Jerusalem, God used Yeshua to take His people out of the world starting with the disciples at Passover, washing their feet, and bringing them to the foot of Yeshua to hear the Words of God.
He rid Yisrael of their connection to Egypt, just as He rid His disciples of their connection to this world. As we will see in John 17. By calling them ‘clean‘ after the foot washing He was preparing them to receive the Words of His Commandments as at Mt. Sinai. During the Passover the disciples were being cleansed through the water and being consecrated to hear the instructions of God at the foot of Yeshua. Here we see that Yeshua was observing a sort of condensed pattern of the Passover/Exodus/Commandment story. I believe this will again be played out at the end of time in fuller fashion, as with Egypt and the plagues. We understand it today as the great tribulation.
Notice how the instruction given, the Torah proclaimed, the way Yeshua explained the full extent of his love; was summed up in the golden rule. “The summary of all that is taught in the law, and the prophets”. Do as I have done to you. Wash each others feet, you know this! Now do it! I gave you an example. ‘I’ Yeshua the Messiah, the one born from above, have served you who were born from below. And I command you to be like me, and to serve others as I have served you. THIS is the Torah observance we are called to. Not walking out every jot and title according to our flesh, but walking out the fullness there of, through our Spirit, given us from above. Yeshua is our example in every way.
Again, we see the condensed version of the giving of the Law. Yeshua does not lay out every point of observing the Torah given Moses. No, He only gives the summary of it. Why? Because as Jews they already knew the Torah flawlessly? God forbid, for when we read Scripture we see that not only did Yeshua come at a time where perversion of the Torah was tantamount in all of Yisrael. But we know that every man sins and falls short of God, not really knowing Him at all unless they know Yeshua. So to think that the disciples where all observant enough to be Torah teachers, and only be given a summary command of the Torah because of their full knowledge of Torah is not a plausible argument either.
We see here that Yeshua is not teaching the details of the Law of Moses, but the ‘summary’ there of. It seems that applying the ‘letter’ of the law to ones life is like piling an endless weight on one side of the scale. It can never lead one to a ‘balanced’ approach to God. It continually leads one to realize their sin. The more laws, the more you know how bad you are. But applying the ‘spirit’ of the law to ones life is like lifting all the weight off, causing the scale to sit at rest in a balanced position. Because Grace balances the scale by removing the penalty of the law. Where there is no penalty of the law, grace abounds. Where there is no grace, the law abounds with it’s penalties.
So, we see the Passover command here is ‘love’ and ‘serve’. Do to others as you would want done for you. Our example is to lay down our life for the good of Gods Word, and others. When He says it is our love for ‘one another’ that proves to the world we are His disciples, it means this:
He commanded we love one another. So if we love Yeshua we are follow this command. If you love Yeshua, you will love one another, thus keeping his commandments to do so. Our love for one another is how we show we love Him. THIS is how we prove to the world that we are His disciples. This truth nullifies the ability for John 14:15 to mean commandments of the Law, as well as for all the places Yeshua mentions ‘commandments’ in these chapters of the second Passover.
As if physical observance to the Law was the point of Yeshua’s commandments. He was NEVER leading anyone into Torah observance via the Mosaic system as a way to love Him and follow Him. He was making the way as High Priest of a New Covenant made with better promises. He became ‘the’ Passover sacrifice for us, cleaned us with His own hands, washed us clean by the giving of the Spirit, and gave us a ‘new’ command. Repeated many times as commandments.
Love one another, as I love you, this is how you will prove to the world that you are my disciples.
What happens when we love Yeshua? Do we observe the commandments of the Law? No, we fulfill the Law by Faith through love, we love others, we serve others, we die for others. We love God, we serve God, we die to ourselves for God. The call is not unity with the Law, it’s unity with the Law giver!!! This is how we prove we are His, He dwells within us.
Today when we apply the blood of Yeshua on the doorposts of our hearts, it is a sign to God that His Spirit may enter our houses and dwell there forever.
"When you awake in the morning, learn something to inspire you and mediate upon it, then plunge forward full of light with which to illuminate the darkness." -Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
Jewish adventures in the diaspora.
Scripture, ethics and spiritual formation