“And behold, a (Jewish) lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Rabbi, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the Torah? How do YOU read it?” He (the lawyer) answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind. (Deuteronomy 6:5) And love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18)
And Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live.” (Luke 10:25-28)
Note, Jesus did not say that you need to believe in the ‘Son of God’ or in a Messiah, in order to achieve ongoing life (heaven or the world to come). Jesus just affirmed the verses in the Torah that people need to love God intensely; and love their neighbors as much as they love themselves.
Jesus did not even mention the requirement that love of God be directed to the one and only God in Luke’s gospel. But he was speaking to Jews, and Jesus knew they were strongly committed to monotheism.
In fact, in another version of this incident, in the gospel of Mark, Jesus does quote the most famous verse in the Torah that is part of every Jewish congregational prayer service, which says that there is only one God.
“One of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that Jesus 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, with all your soul with all your mind and with all your strength.’ (Deuteronomy 6:4- 6)
The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Leviticus 19:18) There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:25-28)
Again, note that Jesus (a) does not say anything about loving a divine ‘son of God’ or anyone else attached to his father in heaven, as the Jews who he spoke to about his ‘father in heaven’ understood that this term was a metaphor not to be taken literally, the way the pagans had meant it.
When the words of Jesus, after his death, were spread out to non-Jews, many of them did take these words literally and started believing that Jesus himself was a Divine being.
“Rabbi, which commandment in the Torah is the greatest?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’” ( Deuteronomy 6:5) This is the greatest and first commandment.
Further, the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Leviticus 19:18)  On these two commandments hang the whole Torah and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-4)
More than ninety verses in the Qur’an, in fifteen different chapters, discusses Prophet Jesus. In Arabic, Jesus is known as Eesa. In sixteen of the 25 places in the Quran where the name Eesa is used, he is called Eesa “the son of Mary” (Eesa Ibn Maryam).
Since the people who knew the family best, did not agree on who was  known to be his father, he was called by his mother’s name. The Gospels relate that the people who know the family of Jesus in Nazareth, his home town, called Jesus the ‘son of Mary’; “Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary…” (Mark 6:3 )
But a different view can be seen in the same event related in the Gospel of Matthew which states: “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judah?” (Matthew 13:55-6)
Christians maintain that Joseph, the husband of Mary, was the foster or adoptive father of Jesus; not the biological father of Jesus. This may be correct, but the only thing everyone agrees on is that Mary was the mother of Jesus so this is the best way to refer to him.
I believe that Prophet Jesus, who stated: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24); unintentionally became a Jewish Prophet for the non-Jewish world through Paul, who never met Jesus, yet whose influence created the three basic Christian doctrines of Original Sin, Trinitarianism, and the redeeming quality of the Crucifixion Of Jesus, the Son of God, as a Vicarious Atonement.
And Prophet Muhammad, the last prophet descendant of  Prophet Abraham, was the one intentional non-Jewish Abrahamic Prophet for the non-Jewish world.
“The Lord said (to Himself), “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household (for generations) after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.” (Genesis 18:17-19)
“He it is who has sent unto the unlettered people an apostle from among themselves, to convey unto them His messages, and to cause them to grow in purity, and to impart unto them the divine writ as well as wisdom – whereas before that they were indeed, most obviously, lost in error.” [Surah Al-Jumu’ah, 62:2]

Rabbi Allen S Maller

Allen S. Maller was the rabbi of Temple Akiba in Culver City, California for 39 years, from 1967 to 2006. Rabbi Maller edited the Tikun series of High Holy Days prayerbooks, used at Temple Akiba and at seven other congregations in California, Nevada and Arizona. Read Full Bio

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