Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Is He referring it to the ten commandments?
No, if Jesus were to refer to the ten commandments, He would have said “the law” or “the commandments” or “Moses”, instead of saying “My commandments”. Yet many people in the traditional or evangelical churches thought that Jesus was referring to the ten commandments (which no one can keep fully).
If we study the context of John 14-16, we can see that Jesus could well be referring to the new commandment He gave to His disciple a while ago – “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
Years later, the apostle John did a recap on His new commandment in his first epistle to the church: “This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.” (1 John 3:23)
In addition, when Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments”, He was speaking to His disciples in a figurative language (in John 14:15-16:24). He later spoke plainly by saying, “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father… for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father“. (John 16:25-28)
Notice, after Jesus spoke plainly, His disciples responded by saying, “Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech. Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God.” (John 16:29-30)
And Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe?” (John 16:31)
In the context of John 14-16, Jesus was using figurative language to tell His disciples that if they love Him, they will believe that He came forth from God.
So, we obey Jesus’ commandments by believing in Him (that He came from God), and loving one another, just as He has loved us.
(Source: Yahoo Answers)
[Post revised and updated on 18 January 2011]