Memo To: Jews, Christians and Muslims
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: The Good Shepherd
Happy Easter. As Roman Catholics, Patricia and I this weekend celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. When I think of Jesus, I think of the Good Shepherd, who would leave the ninety nine to find and rescue the one. There is no need for me to connect Him with the laws and commandments of God for they had already been sent, to Abraham and Moses. As a Christian and as a political philosopher, I believe the beginning of Christianity can be located exactly in the Gospel of Matthew 15:21, where Jesus the Jewish rabbi is approached by the Canaanite woman. Until this point in the life of Jesus, he ministers only to his own people, preaching the law of Abraham and Moses. From this moment on, he becomes the Good Shepherd for all mankind. This is from The NIV Study Bible which Patricia and I have on our bedstead:
“The Faith of the Canaanite Woman”
15:21-28pp -- Mk 7:24-30
21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon possession."
23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."
24 He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."
25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!" she said.
26 He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."
27 "Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table."
28 Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
* * *
The Good Shepherd is common to all the monotheistic faiths. If there is one Creator, one Father to us all, He must look after all of mankind. Benjamin Disraeli, who was the Jewish prime minister of the United Kingdom in the late 19th century, once said that "Christianity is Judaism for the masses." On this Easter weekend, that is the thought I would most recommend to you and to everyone you know. But I would go further and ask those of you who are Christians and Jews to think of the billion people on earth who pray to our God and who call themselves Muslims. The Good Shepherd would not leave them behind. Indeed, in many ways, Islam is the most ecumenical of all the monotheistic faiths. On this Easter weekend, the agonies and anguish of the
Middle East are on my mind.
Perhaps you do not know that Islam is a direct offshoot of Judaism and Christianity. My friend Minister Louis Farrakhan celebrates Judaism as the father of Islam and Christianity as Islam's mother. He preaches the laws handed down by God, whom Muslims call Allah, to Abraham and Moses and he professes Jesus the Christ to be our Lord and Savior. Min. Farrakhan signed the copy of the Qur'an that he gave me four years ago, "To Jude, my brother in Christ." Our Muslim brethren, in case you did not know, affirm that the Qur'an is the eternal word of God, dictated to the Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century by the Angel Gabriel. The differences in the history of civilization since the 7th century have been secular, involving wars over earthly resources like land and energy. Patricia and I will pray this weekend for the reconciliation of those political differences that continue to separate Christians, Muslims and Jews.