by Sean Finnegan
The Shema has been the core creed of Judaism from the time of Moses to today. It stands as an immovable witness to God’s identity as well as our proper relation to him. Even though Jesus confessed the Shema, most Christians today aren’t familiar with it. This is because after the New Testament age, under the influence of Greek philosophy Christian thinking metastasized into Trinitarian dogma, scorning its native Hebrew context in the process. Eventually, “Yahweh” became “Lord” and “one” became “three in one” and the church became estranged from the bible’s legacy of unitarianism. This led to persecuting Jews and Christian monotheists. Listen in to this message about the Shema to find out how to stay true to the bible’s teaching about God’s identity.
Deuteronomy 6:4 This verse begins the passage known as “the Shema.”
Shema Yisrael, Yahweh eloheinu, Yahweh echad
Hear, O Israel: Yahweh [is] our God, Yahweh [is] one
Deuteronomy 6:5 Not only is God one, but we are to love Him with everything we have, including all our heart, all our soul, and all our might. These are more than just words on a page for Jews. It’s what they die for, what they live for.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 Jews say the Shema each morning and night in obedience to this command. The Shema is not a silent belief but something spoken aloud daily.
Deuteronomy 6:8 For prayer, Jews wear tefillin, small black leather boxes with scrolls in them.
Deuteronomy 6:9 On Jewish homes all around the world you can find mezuzah, small decorative cases hung on their door posts containing scrolls.
Deuteronomy 6:10-15 Sadly, Israel did forget God’s commands, and they did worship other gods, which resulted in their exile from the Promised Land. However, after they returned, they remembered.
How do we process this as Christians? We must look to Christ and see what he said about this idea. Did he accept it, reject it, or change it?
Mark 12:28-34 Jesus and the scribe completely agree on who God is. “He is one, and there is no one else besides him.” Jesus knows the Shema and endorses it. What about you?