THE HEARTBEAT OF JESUS
Everything we have talked about so far leads us to one thing – the heartbeat of Jesus. We cannot leave this study without exploring as deeply as we can, what made Him tick. Who was this man, Jesus? What was His essence? If we are to get anywhere near to what He modelled, we must explore and discover Him.
I want to make it as simple as I can by examining His relationships on every level, beginning with His place in the Trinity as the Son and going on to all the people He interacted with on earth, both friends and enemies. How did He relate to them; how did He treat them and how did He come across to them?
How did Jesus relate to the Father.
Let’s start at the beginning. Jesus said:
I and the Father are one. (John 10: 30)
That was a very bold statement to make and one which His opponents obviously understood, judging by their reaction.
Again the Jews picked up stones to stone Him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ‘We are not stoning you for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.’ (John 10: 31-33)
What was the oneness He was talking about?
“When a Torah scribe asked Yeshua which was the foremost commandment in the Law of Moses, he quoted the Shema and its appended command:
The most important one is: ‘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 mind and with all your strength’. (Mark 12: 29-30)
“He added the command to love one’s neighbour found in Leviticus 19:18 as a corollary of loving God.
“The scribe responded by affirming Yeshua’s answer. Then he shifted focus to what seems to be a veiled reference to monotheism — perhaps to tempt Yeshua to make a statement about his identity.
‘Well said, teacher,’ the man replied. ‘You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but Him.’ (v. 32)
“Yeshua didn’t take the bait. Instead, “When Yeshua saw that he had answered wisely [about the command to love], he said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God’ ” (v. 34).
“Yeshua didn’t take this discussion of the Shema as an opportunity to affirm a theoretical compound unity in the Godhead or his place in it. Rather, he pointed the scribe to the extraordinary passage in Psalm 110:1, which speaks of a “Lord” who sits next to YHVH.
YHVH said to my LORD [Adon], Sit at my right hand, Until I put your enemies beneath your feet.
“Then Yeshua tested him with an exegetical question about that Lord’s identity: “How is it that the scribes say that the Messiah is the son of David? [Ps 110:1] David himself calls him ‘Lord’: and so in what sense is he his son?” (Mark 12:35-37).
“The scribe and his theological comrades apparently could not, or dare not, answer Yeshua. Instead, “No one was able to answer him a word . . .” (Matt 22:46).
“Yeshua’s diverting attention from the Shema to Psalm 110:1 is a significant move. In fact, Psalm 110:1 is the most quoted Hebrew text in the NT, more than Deuteronomy 6:4, Isaiah 53 or Psalm 22. He set the exegetical agenda for all his followers — and for Israel.
“In essence, Psalm 110:1 is the other Shema in Hebrew Scripture, the one that completes the revelation of the one God to his people and to all peoples on earth.
“Yeshua’s shift of emphasis could become a vision-changing lesson for modern interpreters to follow his example — instead of the example of their teachers and rabbis.
“The statement by Yeshua, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30), begs to be interpreted in light of this discussion of echad. In context, it seems clear that he was affirming a unity of purpose, will, and power with God the Father. His Father, who is “greater than all” (John 10: 29), had given him authority and divine power to keep all his sheep safe within the protected sphere of eternal life. He asked his Father that his disciples “may all be one, just as we are one” (John 17: 21-22). What all their unity may be, it does not mean they become united into the one Deity, as in New Age pantheistic religion.
Notwithstanding the accusations of the Jerusalem theologians that Yeshua, “being a man, [made himself] out to be God” (v. 33), he stood his ground that, as “Son of God” (v. 36), the Father was “in” him — not that he was God the Father.” (“Echad” in the Shema” by Paul Sumner).
(For a more thorough discussion of the meaning of echad, see Paul Sumner’s article:
http://www.hebrew-streams.org/works/hebrew/echad.html – retrieved in May 2015).
What did unity with the Father mean to Jesus?
Jesus’s claim to be one with the Father was not about equality with the Father as His right. He renounced that right when He became the Son, and lived on earth in a Father/Son relationship. In fact He delighted in His subordination to the Father. He made no bones about His submission and obedience to the Father, even to the point of embracing the Father’s plan that He become the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world.
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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