Jill Shannon is a Messianic Jewish Bible teacher, author and singer/songwriter. Growing up in a Reform Jewish home, she accepted the Lord in 1973. In the 1980’s, Jill and her husband immigrated to Israel, learned Hebrew and gave birth to three children. During these years in Israel, she endured hardship and received vital lessons, shared in her book, “Coffee Talks with Messiah: When Intimacy Meets Revelation.”
Jill currently speaks and writes about experiencing God’s glory, holy living and intimate friendship with the Lord, the biblical Feasts, Israel and the Church. Jill also composes and records worship songs, which can be found on her two CD's, “A Part of ME” and "Beckon Me." She presently resides outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with her husband and two daughters. She also has a married son and daughter-in-law in Pittsburgh, PA.
My parents were the children of Russian Jewish immigrants. They were raised as conservative Jews but after they married and began to raise children, they moved into a looser form of Jewish observance, with a large component of enlightened secular humanism. My mother was a concert pianist and writer, and my father was a biochemist, photographer and linguist. I was their first child, and they were very delighted with me.
I knew from synagogue attendance and years of Hebrew school that God was the “thing” I needed to fill the hole in my constantly aching heart. Although I privately prayed in bed every night and I did believe that He heard me, I did not hear His voice in my heart, nor did I know His character or biblical requirements for His people.
God’s blessings in my life were very evident, and I sensed that He loved me. Even so, it could not be said that I had a personal relationship with God, or that I understood the concepts of righteousness, holiness or sin. Why did my Hebrew school not address this need for relationship? Where was the Reality and Presence of God in our ancient religion?
During a difficult first year away at college, I became depressed; I even entertained thoughts of suicide from time to time.
Throughout the summer after my first year away, I began a series of conversations with my friend Lyn, whom I had known since Junior High. She had just come into a personal relationship with Jesus, and I asked her every ponderous question that an unfulfilled yet skeptical college student would ask. Finally, I asked her something about the people in the world who never heard of Jesus, and the potential injustice of God. Oddly, her simple answer ended my month-long interrogation. “Jill, God is just. Jesus is coming back whether you believe it or not.”
I was stunned at the simplicity of this statement. His return was an absolute future reality, irrespective of my subjective beliefs. Objective truth was NOT connected to our personal opinions and beliefs! I did not want to be living this way when He returned. I already sensed that this event could be a dreadful moment in history.
One week before returning to my university, I prayed with Lyn and turned my heart toward Yeshua (Jesus) to receive atonement and forgiveness for my sins. My sinful nature was evident to me, and I now knew that my longstanding sense of guilt and unworthiness was accurate. I had always felt unclean, but no one could help me understand it or rectify this condition. I now realized that Yeshua’s sacrifice was the only act of cleansing which could restore me to the accepting and loving relationship with God for which I was created. Our Hebrew Scriptures were full of the sacrifice of animals to restore the worshiper to God, and our father Abraham was asked to sacrifice his only son; why could this sinless man not offer Himself as a perfect sacrifice on our behalf?
In 1982, my husband and I immigrated to Israel, and began a new life there.