Command (Dictionary): To direct authoritatively, order, to exercise a dominating influence over, to have military command of as senior officer.
Command (Bible): Mouth, to enjoin, to charge, command, to transmit a message, to order.
Here are Scriptures that speak forth strong commandments on love in both Testaments:
Deuteronomy 6:4-9: 4 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.” (NASB)
Leviticus 19:18: 18”You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.” (NASB)
The nation of Israel faced a daunting task to both conquer Canaan and resist the idolatry prevalent in Canaan. The Lord brought forth the above commands to Israel as guides for obeying and maintaining a focus on God. Note that the promises needed to be on their hearts and not just “head knowledge.”
The opening wording (Hear O Israel) is from Deuteronomy and is called the “Shema” which is the Hebrew word which begins the phrase, “Hear O Israel“ This passage is the heart of the Scriptures. Those who follow the Lord must obey the simple instruction of love, the love of God and the love of neighbors.
The Shema is one of only two prayers that are specifically commanded in Torah (the other is (grace after meals). It is the oldest fixed daily prayer in Judaism, recited morning and night since ancient times Jesus was challenged a number of times regarding the Scriptures.
The religious leaders needed to be reminded that their service was to be one of love! And it was God’s plan that the “whole” Law and all the prophets should be foundationally set in love. Jesus addressed this issue with His disciples as well and told them that He had commands from His Father concerning love.
John 13:47-50: “47 If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. 50 I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” (NASB)
God the Father revealed His nature through His commandments which He gave to His Son. And those commandments were about abiding love:
John 15:12: 12“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” (NASB)
John 15:17: 17“This I command you, that you love one another.” (NASB)
John 15:9-11: 9Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (NASB)
Jesus uses the expression “abide in love” three times! As we focus on what He is saying, we see that abiding in His love will bring great joy! And in addition to this we will bear fruit to Gods glory:
John 15:16: 16“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” (NASB)
We need to consider our life in Jesus as one motivated by love. It is very clear that there is a need for obedience to the above commands! This is not optional and all that Jesus taught was directly from our heavenly Father!
So, what must we do as His children? Remember the opening Scripture said “Hear O Israel”? We must accept His command to “To Hear” and that means to live a life founded in love, hearing the Holy Spirit, searching the Scriptures and within His grace, bearing fruit to Gods glory! It is not optional!
Father God we rejoice in Your word. Please guide our life through the Holy Spirit so we walk in love. Search our hearts to reveal if there are any areas which lack love. In Jesus name we ask. Amen.