When reading the bible you read Jesus telling people to follow the commandments, whoever breaks even the least of the commandments will be in the lowest level in the kingdom.


"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

He is preaching One God, and to follow the commandments.

Did his message fundamentally change after his death to the Romans?

How to you reconcile these 2 very different messages?

  • I don't recall Jesus ever telling anyone but Jews to follow commandments. Can you cite a verse which explicitly states otherwise?
    – user900
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 16:06
  • @ user1361315 I have studied the Bible for years and am still unfamiliar with any Scripture as you have defined them please give me the Scriptures you have which back up your assertion.
    – BYE
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 17:12
  • @CecilBeckum this is the verse about breaking them and being in the lowest: biblestudytools.com/matthew/5-19-compare.html Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 17:48
  • @user1361315 ... and that verse was spoken to the Jews. Could it be that He was talking about the commandments in Matt. 5-7, in which they would apply to Jews and Gentiles after His resurrection? The commandments Jesus gave in Matt. 5-7 could not be followed apart from the work of the Spirit inside.
    – Steve
    Commented Dec 1, 2013 at 15:09

1 Answer 1


I believe that you may be misreading the scripture.

These Scriptures elaborate on the subject:

Jas 1:25 KJV But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

Jas 2:10 KJV For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

you may compare that to saying she was only a little bit pregnant. The meaning here being that you cannot be only slightly guilty of breaking the Law, any more than you not really a sinner because all you did was to tell a white lie.

I have taken the liberty of quoting a couple of the more prominent commentaries here

David Gusik's commentary:

Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments: The commandments are to be obeyed as explained and fulfilled by Jesus' life and teaching, not as in the legalistic thinking of the religious authorities of Jesus' day. For example, sacrifice is commanded by the law, but it was fulfilled in Jesus, so we do not run the danger of being called least in the kingdom of heaven by not observing animal sacrifice as detailed in the Law of Moses.

Whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven: The Christian is done with the law as a means of gaining a righteous standing before God. One passage that explains this is Gal. 2:21: For if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain. However, the law stands as the perfect expression of God's ethical character and requirements.

The law sends us to Jesus to be justified, because it shows us our inability to please God in ourselves. But after we come to Jesus, He sends us back to the law to learn the heart of God for our conduct and sanctification.

John Gill's commentary:

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments,.... Which are to be understood not of the beatitudes in the preceding verses, for these were not delivered by Christ under the form of commandments; nor of any of the peculiar commands of Christ under the Gospel dispensation; but of the precepts of the law, of which some were comparatively lesser than others; and might be said to be broke, loosed, or dissolved, as the word here used signifies, when men acted contrary to them.

And shall teach men so; not only teach them by their example to break the commandments, but by express orders: for however gross and absurd this may seem to be, that there should be any such teachers, and they should have any hearers, yet such there were among the Jews; and our Lord here manifestly strikes at them: for notwithstanding the great and excellent things they say of the law, yet they tell us, that the doctors of the sanhedrim had power to root anything out of the law; to loose or make void any of its commands, for a time, excepting in the case of idolatry; and so might any true prophet, or wise man; which they pretend is sometimes necessary for the glory of God, and the good of men; and they are to be heard and obeyed, when they say, transgress anyone of all the commands which are in the law {h}. Maimonides says {i}, that the sanhedrim had power, when it was convenient, for the time present, to make void an affirmative command, and to transgress a negative one, in order to return many to their religion; or to deliver many of the Israelites from stumbling at other things, they may do whatsoever the present time makes necessary: for so, adds he, the former wise men say, a man may profane one sabbath, in order to keep many sabbaths. And elsewhere {k} he affirms,

"if a prophet, whom we know to be a prophet, should order us לעבור על אחת מכל מצות, "to transgress anyone of the commands", which are mentioned in the law, or many commands, whether light or heavy, for a time, we are ordered to hearken to him; and so we learn from the former wise men, by tradition, that in everything a prophet shall say to thee עבור על דברי תורה, "transgress the words of the law", as Elias on Mount Carmel, hear him, except in the case of idolatry.''

And another of their writers says {l},

"it is lawful sometimes to make void the law, and to do that which appears to be forbidden.''

Nay, they even {m} say, that if a Gentile should bid an Israelite transgress anyone of the commands mentioned in the law, excepting idolatry, adultery, and murder, he may transgress with impunity, provided it is done privately. You see what reason Christ had to express himself in the manner he does, and that with resentment, saying,

he shall be called, or be the least in the kingdom of heaven; meaning either the church of God, where he shall have neither a name, nor place; he shall not be in the least esteemed, but shall be cast out as a worthless man; or the ultimate state of happiness and glory, in the other world, where he shall not enter, as is said in the next verse; but, on the other hand,

whosoever shall do and teach; whose doctrine and conversation, principles and practices agree together; who both teach obedience to the law, and perform it themselves: where again he glances at the masters in Israel, and tacitly reproves them who said, but did not; taught the people what they themselves did not practise; and so were unworthy of the honour, which he that both teaches and does shall have: for

the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven; he shall be highly esteemed of in the church here, and be honoured hereafter in the world to come. The Jews have a saying somewhat like this;

"he that lessens himself for the words of the law in this world, נעשה גדול, "he shall become great" in the world to come {n},''

or days of the Messiah.

Hope this helps.

  • I see how what you are saying, but who's words are those? (biblical references, not the commentary) Paul? Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 19:18
  • @user1361315 sorry I should have used the whole title and not the abbreviation. Those are from the book of James.
    – BYE
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 19:21
  • But the point was, for Jews, what did he preach? Jews would NEVER accept someone claiming to be God, as it goes against the Torah (and Jesus was called Rabbis Jesus for a reason). And I haven't really read any quotes from Jesus that are explicit enough to warrant him telling them that he is the son of God. I mean what did the word 'Messiah' mean to Jews of the time? Also the phrase Son of God, what did that mean for Jews? It meant someone with a high position no? Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 19:21
  • @ user1361315 This conversation could go on for quite awhile, and therefore we do not need to continue it here. I would suggest that we go to chat to continue, but in fact I am legally blind and the process I have to go through in order to get these read to me prohibits use of a chat room because it is so time consuming. If you wish you can go through e-mail my address is [email protected] but be aware that it will be slow as far as my responses go.
    – BYE
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 19:29

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