ExhortationsThe Message - Sermon

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 appreciate the teachings of Christ especially when they are already rooted in their belief. That is the issue during the time of Jesus because the Jews don’t believe that 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 has a limited time to preach the gospel to them and his effort to reach out to the Jews was not working. 

Jesus only had 3 years to preach the good news and he had to leave the earth so he needed to focus his efforts to deliver the message to God’s chosen people, the Jewish people, but what happened was that the Gentiles became involved in his teaching that were 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 is 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. When He said it, He will do it, and when He makes promises He will fulfill them. God is great and His thought is higher than human’s thoughts and His way is not human’s way.

Jesus came only for the Jews and not to the Gentiles.  He was and is a Jew, born into a Jewish family and born under the 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 preaches mostly 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 mostly prophecied for the Jewish nation and the coming of Jesus but was still not understood. Jesus fulfilled his mission in line with the Jewish prophets.

How and 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 whom Jesus spoke to about the living well, that whoever drinks from it will never be thirsty again. Another was a gentile woman who came from  Canaan came to Jesus, crying out, “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 the acceptance of the gospel by the gentiles, Peter also went the way to the Gentiles. Paul was already in the Gentiles’ region preaching and converting those who believed about Jesus that he preaches.

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 and not to Jewish people only.

There’s no sense wasting our time arguing the value of the gospel to itchy ears.  If they don’t want to listen and reject the gospel even before they hear the word, go elsewhere. Many people like the Samaritans are ready to hear 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 with these two different approaches regarding salvation.  The true meaning of salvation 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

Dr. Joseph Vitug, Ph.D. - Bishop Emeritus

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