Continuing with the previous posting featuring Matthews’s Gospel we can further examine our Lord’s commands recorded in the Gospels of Mark and Luke.
The Gospel According to Mark
What is very surprising is the parsimony of Jesus’s direct commands to be found in the Gospel of Mark. In fact, I can only find one imperative command, i.e., “Repent and believe in the gospel,” which comes at the end of verse 15 in chapter 1. This is absolutely fundamental to the Christian faith. Without repentance and belief there can be no faith – no faith and there is no salvation. (Ephesians 2:8, 9)
Here’s the full text of verses 14 and 15:
‘Now after John was put in prison. Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.”’ (Mark 1:14, 15)
Nevertheless, I find it quite astonishing that Mark presented the other commands of Jesus in an indirect manner, e.g., in Mark 8:34 Jesus says, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
He does not command people to desire Him and take up their crosses.
The Gospel According to Luke
By contrast to Mark’s Gospel there are approximately 30 imperative commands in Luke’s Gospel.
Here they are:
Luke 6:27-31 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do them likewise.”
Luke 6:35 36 “But love your enemies, do good and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Highest. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”
Luke 6:37, 38 “Judge not, and your shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given you: good measure pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Luke 12:22 And He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on.”
Luke 12:29 “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind.”
Luke 12:31-33 “But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Do not fear, little flock, for it is the Father’s pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys.”
Luke 12:35, 36 “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master to return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately.”
Luke 12:40 “Therefore you also be ready for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
Luke 13:24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”
In the next article we’ll be looking at the commands of Jesus featured in The Gospel According to John.