Ephesians 5.21-33; Psalm 127; Luke 13.18-21
Obedience to God is a recurring theme in the Bible. The commandments, from the terse ten given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai—said to have been written “by the finger of God” [Exodus 31.18]—to the 613 Mitzvot (Hebrew for commandments), 248 positive and 365 negative, as enumerated by the Medieval Rabbi Maimonides (c1135-1204), form the foundation of Jewish life. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that the commandments are essential for spiritual health and growth and form the basis for social justice.
To obey comes a root word meaning “to hear.” (The same root is more clearly seen in words like auditorium or audio-visual.) That is as true of our relationships with other human beings as it is of our relationship with God. “Hear, O Israel” [Deuteronomy 6.4] is the fundamental commandment. God instructs us to hear, to listen to Jesus [Luke 9.35] because he is the perfect embodiment of God’s word, of his purpose. [John 1.1-14] We are to keep the commandments, as Jesus himself instructed us, in order to find life. [Matthew 19.16-19]
Yet obedience for Jesus is never simply legalism or adherence to the “letter” of the law. Jesus plunges to the heart of the law, helping us to understand the fullest implications of each of the commandments. [Matthew 5.20-48] Jesus aims by his teaching to lead us to perfection
[cf Leviticus 19.1-2] and thereby to the fulness of life. [John 10.10]