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The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others…

The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others (edition 2004)

by Scot McKnight

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Title:The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others
Authors:Scot McKnight
Info:Paraclete Press (MA) (2004), Paperback, 350 pages
Collections:Your library, @Church
Tags:Non-Fiction, Jesus, Spiritual Formation, Meditations, Religion

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The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others by Scot McKnight



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Within the Christian faith, there are a slew of creeds that exist. Perhaps the most famous of all are the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed. But, little do we know that Jesus himself established His own creed. This creed is known as the Jesus Creed.

But, before explaining the Jesus Creed, there is a bit of background information that must be addressed first. Before Christ was born, Jews all throughout the known world had their own creed. This creed is better known as the Shema (Sh'ma) and is still professed by millions of Jews today. The Shema is taken from a passage in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 which reads:

"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 is the shortened version of the Shema and the one most often cited by Jews. Daily, when awakening and retiring for the night, observant Jews recited this creed aloud. Every Jew knew this sacred creed and repeated it quite often. It was also the greatest commandment and was to be followed very obediently with no other exceptions. Anyone who did not follow or recite this creed was known as an "Am ha-aretz", loosely defined as a country bumpkin with no education.

Now, fast forward many years later to the days of Jesus' ministry when He was asked what is the greatest commandment of all:

"And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?" Jesus answered, "The most important is, `Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these.'" (Mark 12:28-31)

The Scribes were expecting only one response. Note the singularity of the question in verse 28? But, Jesus responds not only with the Shema, but adds something additional to this historic creed. Jesus amends the Shema with, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." In other words, Jesus personalizes the Shema from a Love-God only Shema to a Love-God-and-Love-Others Shema. And, we all know Jesus certainly demonstrated this in His love for other people.

But, the story doesn't end there...

Jesus is once again put to the test with yet another trick question regarding this new creed. What precisely does Jesus mean by "neighbor" in this equation? If a person is not my neighbor, am I still obligated to love him?

"But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, `Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise." (Luke 10:29-37)

So, the bottom line is this. We are to love God and love others. This is the Jesus Creed. Our neighbors, are anyone with whom God places onto our path. It's easy to claim we love God. Anyone can make this claim. But, it's a bit more challenging to truly love people; ALL people no matter their background; even if they may not love us back. This applies to those that are hard to love or whom we may deem our "enemy". America certainly has it's enemies, but as Christians, are these too our enemies? Loving others is an outflowing of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us. It will also likely be a reason many people may ask us, why do you love me? Why do you care?

Francis Schaeffer, in his book, "The Mark of a Christian" summarizes this love of neighbor very succinctly. He writes:

"Love, and the unity it attests to, is the mark Christ gave Christians to wear before the world. Only with this mark may the world know that Christians are indeed Christians and that Jesus was sent by the Father." (page 59) ( )
  gdill | May 16, 2013 |
"Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength". The second is this: "Love your neighbour as yourself." There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 12:29-31.
The author speaks about how the above "Jesus Creed" should shape everything about Christian Spirituality.
  DLUC | Apr 11, 2011 |
This book is the answer to a question: What would the Christian life look like if everyone loved God with their entire being, and loved their neighbours also? The answer is attractive. In The Jesus Creed, McKnight paints a picture of the sort of kingdom-charged life we all can live.

The structure works quite well: there are 30 short meditations that challenge you to examine your life in light of the creed Jesus and his followers lived by. If you're looking for some devotional reading, this will offer a solid month of character formation. McKnight includes many anecdotes and illustrations that enliven the points he's making.

I only had one problem with this book: it felt a little scattered at times. All 30 chapters were good, and the points were important—I just didn't always see how the chapters fit together with each other.

This is a book from a scholar in the form of a popular devotional. There's depth beneath the easy-reading style. If you're reading for information, you'll probably be dissapointed. There are other books for information. If you want to seriously consider how we as Christians should be living, this will search the heart. ( )
  StephenBarkley | Jun 18, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 056704033X, Paperback)

When an expert in the law of Moses asked Jesus for the greatest commandment, Jesus responded with the Shema, the ancient Jewish creed that commands Israel to love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength. But the next part of Jesus' answer would change the course of history. Jesus amended the Shema, giving his followers a new creed for life: to love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength, but also to love others as themselves. <br/><br/>This is what Scot McKnight calls the 'Jesus Creed'. He has written this book for all Christians who want to find out how it can transform their lives - and the lives of those around them.<br/>>

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:22 -0400)

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