It has come to my attention that I need to clear up what I mean by stating “part of Jesus’ life was to reinterpret the Shema around himself.” The Shema, once again, was the central prayer any practicing Jewish person would pray. It basically suggests that there is one God for Israel and his name is Yahweh. The Jewish response is therefore to love him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. This is a basic overview of the Shema, though it is more complex than what is stated here.
Jesus in order to claim to be the son of God, and the I am, has to reshape this prayer and claim to be precisely who this is directed towards. The actions and words that Jesus states and does, are in part, only what God can do. We see the Pharisees saying, how can He forgive sins (Luke 5:21)? Therefore, Jesus’ life resembles a pattern of the Shema God. His power, authority, actions, and redefinition of Torah through his teaching, are proof enough that this person was claiming to be God. His life also, was a reflection of what the temple was suppose to be for Israel. That is, a place for healing, forgiveness of sins, and the place where heaven and earth came together and where God’s presence was found.
The temple was a central symbol for an Israelite, just as the Shema prayer was also part of their central praxis and identity. The temple; the place of God’s presence was now in person, in Jesus, and the Shema was being redefined by showing that the one God included Jesus(John 1) and he was the living temple. In order for Jesus to establish a kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, to take death’s sting away, and offer new life through new creation, He would have to be, without doubt God. Jesus life then, reshaped the central prayer and temple, in and around himself, for he was this one God, and all that he set out to accomplish, was accomplished through his life, death, and resurrection. These accomplishments could only be done by the Son of God or God himself. In this the Shema prayer encompasses Jesus, though the Israelites did not know him, he was being revealed, and as John so eloquently puts, he was with him (God) in the beginning.
This synopsis, is what I am suggesting when I say ” Jesus is reshaping the Shema around himself.” If his life was detached from the Shema, he would be either a failed Messiah (he would not have rose again), or a false prophet ( we are warned of those who will do similar things, but will not be from God-Matthew chapter 7; chapter 24). But he was in fact a true prophet, Messiah, and the One God, that the Shema prayer was focused on.
Hopefully this clarity will allow the journey to be continued…