Jesus’ commands, to His disciples, are specifically tied to God’s purpose for their lives. They are centered in a loving and real relationship because the disciples have surrendered themselves to the will and purposes of God. To “do what Jesus commands” actually flows out of the necessity of “taking up our cross daily and following after Him.” (see Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23)
This is the first crucial step for discovering a real, consistent, and dynamic relationship with the One Who desires to lead us in the course of our lives. With Jesus, there is always the first calling of surrender, of all we hold dear… to draw near and hold dearly to Him. Jesus is the access to the great “treasure” to be found in the field (Matthew 13:44). He is the entry point for discovering and obtaining the “pearl of great price.” (Matthew 13:45-46)
But with Jesus, it is always first things first. He must be the One Who is preeminent in our lives. We must love Him with our obedient, surrendered hearts. We must be fully abandoned to God’s will and purposes for our lives. This is the obedience of which Jesus is speaking, and of which He is seeking in us. This is what truly proves our love for Him.
It is important to note that Jesus is not asking something that He was unwilling to do Himself. He is the Model of heartfelt surrender and devotion. Jesus tells His disciples as much: “I love the Father and …I do exactly what My Father has commanded Me.” (John 14:31) And:
Jesus asks His disciples to do what He has demonstrated with His Own life. To love the Father, according to Jesus, is to practice a lifestyle of doing the Father’s will and of obeying what the Father commands. Jesus even goes so far as to say that obeying the Father is His daily “food” or sustenance. It is what feeds Him, sustains Him, and keeps Him going.
This is the very basis of everything truly Christlike. Jesus’ obedience was the constant expression of His love for the Father. It was His lifelong commitment to accomplishing the Father’s will that constrained Jesus in everything He did. This same kind of passion for obedience is required in anyone who would desire to be Jesus’ disciple. To love the Father is to seek out, and do His will, first and foremost — to the exclusion of all other enticements and motivations in this life. Only a true love for God will produce the obedience that Jesus’ seeks in us.
This is why it IS the greatest command:
This is the way Jesus lived His life on this earth – and it is how He expects all His disciples to live as well.