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ExhortationsThe Message

Jews and Gentiles

Jews and Gentiles are sons of God.

“Do not judge the Gentiles for believing the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob because they are not Jews, or you too will be judged for being sons of disobedience. As it is written, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1–2).

Pigs don’t appreciate pearls, and some people don’t enjoy the teachings of Christ, primarily when they are already rooted in their beliefs. That is the issue during the time of Jesus because the Jews don’t believe he is the Messiah. There was an incident when a non-Jewish woman approached Jesus and sought to be healed first. Jesus refused her and said that “he was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel.” Jesus was sent by the Father for the Jews only and had a limited time to preach the gospel to them, and his effort to reach out to the Jews was not working. 

Jesus only had three years to preach the good news, and he had to leave the earth. Hence, he needed to focus his efforts on delivering the message to God’s chosen people, the Jewish people, but what happened was that the Gentiles became involved in his teaching that was only meant for the Jews. Is it because the Jews did not accept him as the anticipated Messiah (Luke 2:25) and the Gentiles were the plan B?

Jesus’ statement about being sent only to the lost sheep of Israel was because that was the plan. God will never change His mind. Numbers 23:19, Hebrews 13:8, James 1:17 – God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. God is a Spirit that gives life, and a human is a living soul with a sinful nature. Nevertheless, he will do it when He says it, and when He makes promises, He will fulfill them. God is great; His thought is higher than human thoughts, and His way is not human’s.

Jesus came only for the Jews and not for the Gentiles. He was and is a Jew, born into a Jewish family and under Jewish laws – Luke 2:27; Galatians 4:4. He Grew up in a Jewish neighborhood and went to Jewish synagogues to speak and worship in the Jewish temple. When Jesus formed his ministry, he selected all Jewish disciples and preached mainly in Jewish towns. In Matthew 10:5–6, Jesus told his disciples, “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Isaiah, a Jewish prophet, mainly prophesied for the Jewish nation and the coming of Jesus, but his prophecies were still not understood. So Jesus fulfilled his mission in accordance with the Jewish prophets.

How the Gentiles became part of Jesus’ gospel is no longer beyond us. We already learned that Gentiles had encountered Jesus. The story of the Samaritan Woman at the well from the Gospel of John 4:4–26. The Samaritan Woman Jesus spoke to about the living well, that whoever drinks from it will never be thirsty again. Another was a gentile woman from  Canaan who came to Jesus, crying, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” “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.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” “The Woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes, it is, Lord,” she said.” “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” “Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great Faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. The involvement of the Gentile in receiving the gospel is voluntary; the Gentile believes Jesus and the gospel.—Matthew 15:22-28

Jesus healed the servant of a Centurion with great Faith–Luke 7:1–10, “For I also am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another.” Peter was hesitant to bring the gospel to a Gentile household, but when he heard from other apostles that the Gentiles accepted the gospel, Peter also went that way to the Gentiles. Paul was already in the Gentiles’ region preaching and converting those who believed in Jesus whom he preached.

Paul warns the Gentiles, “You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.” “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21). The early church, though, delayed recognizing that Salvation was available to all, not only Jewish people.

There’s no sense wasting our time arguing the value of the gospel to itchy ears. Suppose they don’t want to listen and reject the gospel before they hear the word; go elsewhere. Many people, like the Samaritans, are ready to listen to it.

Justification by Faith alone is Paul’s doctrinal view on Salvation, while James, the brother of Jesus, is justification by Faith with work. Faith without work is dead, he said. Don’t get confused by these two different approaches regarding salvation. The true meaning of Salvation was offered not only to the Jews but to the Gentiles as well. God is the God of all nations.

God is all in all.

Bishop Joseph

Bishop Joseph Vitug, Ph.D. - Bishop Emeritus

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