How Did Jesus Keep the Ten Commandments? by Matthew Howden

Matthew Howden


In my last lesson we learned how Adam and Eve broke all of the Ten Commandments through their disobedience and rebellion in the Garden of Eden.

Adam and Eve disobeyed God willfully, not accidentally. Because of their disbelief and lack of faith in God’s word, they disobeyed every commandment of God, not just one, and they sadly missed out on the relationship with God and life that God had planned for them because of their sin, as do we.“Because of Jesus’ perfect, sinless life, we can have our broken relationship with God mended and fully restored.”

Towards the end of that lesson I remarked that ever since man’s fall in Eden humanity has required Someone who can uphold the Ten Commandments to pay our sin debt. That Someone was and is Jesus Christ. Because of Jesus’ perfect, sinless life, we can have our broken relationship with God mended and fully restored.

Why? Again, because he was and is perfect and we’re not. Jesus kept all of the Ten Commandments and here’s how.

How Jesus Kept the Ten Commandments

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (Ex. 20:3)
    Jesus knew the first commandment and had no plans of elevating Satan to a place ahead of God.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (Ex. 20:4-6)
    After his baptism, when our Lord Jesus Christ had been in the wilderness for forty days, Satan appeared to him and promised to give him all power and glory of the kingdoms in the world. He told Jesus, “If thou worship me, all shall be thine” (Luke 4:6-7). But Jesus answered, “Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Lk 4:8).
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (Ex. 20:7)
    Jesus only uttered the words that his Father had given him (Jn. 12:49). Put another way, he never used God’s name in vain; rather, he only spoke the truth about God the Father and honored him by behaving in a way that was consistent with who he is (the Son of God).
  4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Ex. 20:8-11)
    “As his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day” (Lk. 4:16). On the Sabbath, Jesus carried out acts of piety, mercy, and necessity. The Lord of the Sabbath also ensured our perpetual Sabbath rest through his death on the cross.
  5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. (Ex. 20:12)
    Jesus consistently made decisions that pleased his heavenly Father. He also cared for his mother while he was dying on the cross (Jn. 19:27).
  6. Thou shalt not kill. (Ex. 20:13)
    Life was saved by Jesus (Jn. 5:40). He accomplished and still accomplishes this both physically and spiritually. He delivers people from their sins (Matt. 1:21).
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery. (Ex. 20:14)
    Jesus sacrifices his own life for that of his wife, the church, in a way that is akin to a perfect marriage.
  8. Thou shalt not steal. (Ex. 20:15)
    Giving without restriction is the antithesis of theft. Jesus offered the thief on the cross the undeserved gift of eternal life. He was also against robbery (Jn. 2:13-17). Jesus’s keeping of the eighth commandment in John 2 demonstrates that we in our poverty can become rich, i.e. the one who was rich (Jesus) became poor for our sakes, that through his poverty we might be rich (2 Cor. 8:9).
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. (Ex. 20:16)
    Jesus was truthful at all times (Jn. 8:45-47) because he only used the words that the Father had instructed him to speak (Jn. 12:49). Moreover, because Jesus is the Truth (Jn.1:14- 17, Jn. 14:6) he stood up for what was right. Jesus never lied or tried to hide the truth.
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. (Ex. 20:17)
    Jesus said, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Lk. 9:58). It’s amazing to think that the same person who controls heaven and earth said this. Although Jesus patiently endured, he did not covet what was not rightfully his, but rather, he received his inheritance through the cross.


Adam and Eve broke the Ten Commandments in the Garden of Eden. As a result, “sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12).

And yet, just as “death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17).

Because Jesus upheld the Ten Commandments and did not break them but lived a perfect life, we are able to live when we put our faith and hope in him to forgive our sins.

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Image Credit

Christ Tempted in the Wilderness (1824) by John Martin, English, 1789-1854. The Art Institute of Chicago. Stanley Field Endowment. 1997.310.

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