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Did Jesus make a parallel to the Shema (Deut. 6:4-6) in John 14:6-11?

There is considerable evidence that John makes parallels to the Pentateuch in his gospel. John 1:1 and Genesis 1:1 in the Septuagint start with the same two words, *Ἐν ἀρχῇ. His Gospel refers to Moses in John 1:17,45; 3:14; 5:45,46; 7:19,22,23; 8:5; 9:28,29. "The book focuses on seven of Jesus’ signs (miracles), to show his divinity." (Intro. to John, ESV) These seven signs as witnesses of Jesus Christ are similar to the ten plagues in Egypt being witnesses of God's sovereignty over the Egyptian gods.

Here are some previous questions related to Jesus referencing the Shema:

Is John 10:30 intended to evoke the Shema?

In John 5:42 was Jesus' statement particularly offensive because it claimed they were not tr...

There appears to be a relationship with:

  1. John 14:6 -- Deut.6:5

  2. John 14:7-11 -- Deut. 6:4

  3. John 14:15,21-- Deut. 5:1-21; 6:1-3,5,6

Expanding this:

  1. With John 14:6 relating to Deut.6:5:

the way (ἡ ὁδὸς) -- volition -- your might (מְאֹדֶֽךָ)

the truth (ἡ ἀλήθεια) -- intellect -- your heart (לְבָבְךָ֥)

the life ( ἡ ζωή) -- life sustaining desires - you soul (נַפְשְׁךָ֖)

  1. With John 14:7-11 relating to Deut. 6:4, Jesus Christ made very explicit statements about his oneness with God the Father.

  2. With John 14:15,21 relating to Deut. 5:1-21; 6:1-3,5,6, both deal with commandments. However. John 14:15 has "if you love me,..." and Deut. 6:5 has "You shall love the LORD your God..."

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  • Great Question. I will provide an answer much later today. +1.
    – Dottard
    Aug 20, 2022 at 22:54
  • @Perry Webb. By parallel do you mean analogous and equal? Aug 21, 2022 at 0:43
  • @Alex More that He had it in his mind during his discourse
    – Perry Webb
    Aug 21, 2022 at 1:06
  • @PerryWebb. Please elaborate on your comment "More that He had it in his mind during his discourse". Aug 21, 2022 at 1:15
  • @Dottard Noted and deleted and close vote retracted. My mistake. Your answer up-voted.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 21, 2022 at 11:45

1 Answer 1

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In short, my answer is, "NO", the passage in John 14:6-11 does not allude to the Shema in Deut 6:4. The only connection between the two is a theological link but not a linguistic link. The Shema itself is more clearly alluded to in John 10:30.

More particularly, the passage in John 14:7-11 is about the unity of purpose; further the language used in John 14 is replicated as being necessary for every Christian - we must all abide in Christ and He in us (see John 15, etc). Thus, if one argues that John 14:7-11 alludes to the Shema, then by implication we, Christians must be one in substance and essence with the Father - something that only New Age people would agree with, but not the Bible.

[As is well-known on this site, I believe Jesus was fully God, but John 14 is not about that idea. This passage concerns the way Jesus lived and operated as an example to all Christians.]

APPENDIX - John's allusions to OT passages.

Here is a very incomplete list of passages that John's gospel alludes to:

  • 1:1-5 – Jesus is the “Word”, life and light. (See Gen 1:1-4)
  • 1:29, 36 – Jesus is the Lamb of God (see Gen 22:8)
  • 1:51 – Jesus is the ladder between earth and heaven (Gen 28:12)
  • 3:13, 14 – Jesus is the bronze serpent in the wilderness (also 8:27, 12:34 & Num 21:9)
  • 4:13, 14, 7:38 – Jesus’ message becomes a fountain/river of living water flowing out of His disciples. (See Eze 47:1-12, Rev 22:1, 2)
  • 4:32 – Jesus’ food was not of this world, ie, conversions to discipleship (recall Manna of Ex 16)
  • 6:35, 41, 48, 50, 51 – Jesus said, “I am the bread of life” (See Ex 16 about Manna)
  • 6:53-58 – we must eat Jesus’ flesh and drink His blood (recall prohibitions against eating blood, Gen 9:4-6, 17)
  • 8:12 (and 1:4, 9, 12:46) – Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (see Ps 27:1, 18:28, Micah 7:8, Isa 60:19)
  • 9:39-41 – converted disciples are not blind but those who will not see are blind
  • 10:1-18 – Jesus said, “I am the good Shepherd” (v11, 14) and the disciples are sheep (see Psalm 23:1; Eze 34:11ff, Isa 40:11)
  • 10:30 – “I and the Father are one.” – appears to evoke the Shema in Deut 6:4 but expands upon it. Jesus was then accused of blasphemy.
  • 15:1-5 – Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches” (see Isa 5:1ff, Jer 12:10)

There also appears to be a general structural theme to John's gospel that walks through the sanctuary/temple as follows:

  • The sacrificial lamb represented Jesus (John 1:29)
  • Jesus’ teaching is closely associated with water (in the laver), John 4:13, 14.
  • Jesus was the bread of life as symbolized by the shew bread (John 6:35-51)
  • The light of the Menorah represented Jesus (John 8:12, 9:5)
  • Jesus was the door (John 10:7-9)
  • Jesus is represented as our great High Priest and intercessor in heaven (John 14:6)
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  • Is it not referring to the Holy Spirit being of one substance and essence rather than it would be doing so for the Christian? 14:16-17
    – Perry Webb
    Aug 21, 2022 at 12:35
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    @Dottard, I agree. I admit the the author of John makes an intentional parallel to Gen. 1.1 in his prologue, but IMO one needs serious mental gymnastic to see John 14:6-11 as an intentional parallel to the Shema. "The Lord is one" Aug 21, 2022 at 20:05
  • Please explain the logic of: "Thus, if one argues that John 14:7-11 alludes to the Shema, then by implication we, Christians must be one in substance and essence with the Father..."
    – Perry Webb
    Aug 22, 2022 at 9:18
  • @PerryWebb - as explained above, the same language is used of Christ's disciples in places like John 15, and John 17.
    – Dottard
    Aug 22, 2022 at 9:30

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