Recently, I finished reading Scot McKnight’s book, “The Jesus Creed.” There are just some books that cause you to love God more – this is one of those books. There are a handful of books that are in the same caliber – Knowing God, Loving God, The Pursuit of God, and Desiring God. Hmm… they all have God in the title… maybe that is the secret.
McKnight establishes the premise of his whole book on how Jesus came and gave a “creed” for people to follow. The creed was rooted in the shema. It is found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” This was the creed for Jewish spiritual formation. This was the first prayer that every Jewish child was taught to say. It is believed that if a Jewish person lived by the shema then they would be blessed beyond imagination.
In Mark 12:28ff, when Jesus was asked by a teacher of the law what the greatest commandment was, He answer by giving the shema (love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all our mind, and with all your strength) and then added Leviticus 19:18, “love your neighbor as yourself.” This became the Jesus Creed and it transformed people’s lives and it still does today.
Even though the greatest commandment is so simple, it is not always easy to live out. McKnight breathes a fresh wind into this simple but yet profound commandment.
Following Jesus requires following this Creed.