Bible in a Year Series - Day #281 - This post is part of a year-long series where we are reading chronologically through the Bible. Click here to learn more. You are most welcome to join along at any time.
Today's text from the ESV Study Bible: John 5.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one." (Deuteronomy 6:4)
Even in today's Judaism, the Shema is one of the central prayers of the Jewish prayer book and is one of the foundational understandings of Yahweh: there is only one God.
After our 200+ days of reading the Hebrew Canon this fact is brazenly clear.
Now, here comes Jesus claiming to be "one" with Yahweh. To the Jews, this was blasphemy and stoning was the appropriate action for such a thing. To make matters worse, in today's reading we find Jesus healing on the Sabbath which is another great offense to the Jewish understanding of Yahweh's law.
There was a significant amount of theology in the words of Jesus today that is greatly worthy of our attention. But, with the quick pace of our chronological study, I think it important that we understand what Jesus is intent on doing.
The Christian believes that Jesus is the Messiah, Immanuel, God come to earth. The Jew believes Jesus to be a blasphemer worthy of death.
This was the conflict then, and it is still the conflict now.
As we discussed yesterday, the post-modern mind would dream up a nice convenient middle ground where we would dream Jesus to be a Rabbi, a good teacher, or perhaps a prophet.
But, the student of the Scriptures will understand that Jesus did not leave this as an option. We must all make a choice: Is this God or is this man a fraud?
For us today, there is no irrefutable empirical evidence. However, in my view, taking a look at the whole of Christianity's testimony, there is certainly enough evidence to require a verdict on our parts.
Furthermore, if this was indeed God come to earth, then this is certainly the most important task that any of us could undertake.
Dear reader, this man Jesus claimed to be God. This man today has billions upon billions of followers.
Doesn't it makes sense to spend a portion of our lives exploring his claims and making our own decisions? As Pascal said in his famous wager, you don't want to be on the loosing side of this proposition.