Everytime I read the New Testament I see Jesus quoting the Old Testament quite a bit. As I learned in my Bible interpretation classes in seminary, parallel passages and repeat quotes are there to drive points home more directly. Maybe it’s just me, but for a while now I’ve wondered if Jesus quoted any one verse(s) more than others to really drive a certain point home?
So what I did was go back and read all of Jesus’ words and made a chart of every OT verse he quoted. As it turns out, it was recorded that Jesus quoted 49 different Old Testament verses (not including the repeats of the same verses throughout the different books). Of those 49, Jesus quoted three particular verses more than any other.
Jesus quoted different parts of the Ten Commandments on four separate occasions:
Matthew 5:21 – Exodus 20:13
Matthew 5:27 – Exodus 20:14
Matthew 15:4 & Mark 7:10 – Exodus 20:12, Deut 5:16
Matthew 19:19 & Mark 10:19 & Luke 18:20 - Exodus 20:12-16, Deut 5:16-20
But other than the Ten Commandments, Jesus quoted two individual verses on two separate occasions – more than any other he quoted in all of Scripture!
Hosea 6:6 – For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. (Matthew 9:13 and Matthew 12:7)
Leviticus 19:18 – Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. (Matthew 5:43, Matthew 22:39 (with a repeat in Mark 12:31))
I don’t see how it is any coincidence that Jesus separately quoted the, a) Ten Commandments, b) a subversion of the dogmatic religious institution of the day, and c) an expectation of love, more than any others in all of Scripture.
Let that sink in to your life! Jesus repeatedly gave us three very clear instructions on how to live a Jesus-shaped faith…