To the Jew First
September 30, 2020
These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: "Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 10:5-6).
Zig Zigler said, “You can’t hit a target you cannot see, and you cannot see a target you do not have.” President Trump said, “To get momentum, you must first focus on a specific goal with passion and intensity.”
Jesus commissioned the Apostles to go to the Jewish communities and to avoid the Gentile communities. He was not being a bigot (someone utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion), nor was He being racist (someone who believes his own racial group is superior or that a particular racial group is inferior to others). God promised the Messiah to the Jews first. Jesus’ message of salvation was primarily to the Jews, but not exclusively to the Jews.
His ministry paralleled that of Moses - to bring the Hebrew people out of bondage to sin and into the promised Kingdom of God. And like the ministry of Moses, there would be non-Jews numbered among them. Jesus did minister to Samaritans, Phoenicians, Romans, and other groups, but again, His primary task was to bring the Gospel to the Jews first.
The ministry of the disciples (now apostles) was to be a clear extension of Jesus primary ministry - The Kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:17). The authority He gave them to preach (mentioned here for the first time in the Gospels), was to be accompanied by power to perform miracles. Jesus emphasized that preaching needs the miraculous to confirm it and the miraculous needs preaching to explain it.
While initially the ministry of the Gospel was restricted to the Jews, it has, since the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, been expanded to everyone - Jew and Gentile, male and female, slave and free, wealthy and poor. What about the accompanying miraculous power? Paul explained that the Holy Spirit gives us spiritual gifts to validate our message. While miracles is listed among these gifts (1 Corinthians 12:9-10), there are far more gifts given to Christians than just miraculous power. In fact, the greatest power demonstrated in the Gospel is the power to save a lost soul. There is no greater witness to the power of God among Christians than their leading a person to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
“Lord Jesus, may we be focused on ministering Your Gospel to those whom You send us, knowing that Your Holy Spirit goes before us to prepare the person for that message. May we be faithful to following the explicit leadership of Your Holy Spirit to say and do as He wills so that people will come to know You, whom to know is eternal life. To Your honor and glory I ask, Amen.”