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Friday, 12 January, 2018

Matthew 10 : 1-23

'These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “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.”' (Matt. 10:5-6)

Part of our reading gives the first commission of the Lord Jesus to His disciples to take His message to His own people; to preach: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” We see that the twelve apostles were sent out and commanded: ‘DO NOT GO into the way of the Gentiles, but GO to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ The intimacy of God the Father to His chosen nation was such that the very first chance was given to them to hear the good news of the Kingdom.

The main thrust of the gospel was first among the descendants of Israel, not the Gentiles!  This was the original desire of God’s heart. We see a rejection on their part- many did not believe Christ to be the Messiah. And after the resurrection of Christ when He gives the Great Commission in Matthew 28, Jesus says, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;…” Ultimately God wanted to reach all His creation with the good news of the Gospel. Though Paul was called an apostle to the Gentiles, Paul’s commission even included preaching to Israel (Acts 9:15). Because His own nation, the Jews rejected Jesus as their Savior, He called a new people as the “Israel of God” (Romans 9:1-8)

As He says also in Hosea: “I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved.  And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.”Romans 9:25-26.  Here we see a re-grafting process in this connection.  The time of Israel’s re-grafting begins when God adds the “fullness of the Gentiles” to the church. This “fullness of the Gentiles” must be a very small number in comparison to all those called into the church. God tells Ezekiel, “For you are not sent to a people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, but to the house of Israel, NOT TO MANY PEOPLE of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely had I sent you to them, they would have listened to you” (Ezekiel 3:5-6). The church has always been a “little flock” and the Gentiles in it even fewer.

While Jesus was on earth, Jesus focused His Ministry on the Jews.  Whereas after His resurrection, He commanded His disciples to take the Good News to all over the world.  Paul used the same strategy.  In every city Paul visited, he preached first to Jews and then to the Gentiles:   “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17).  It can be called the ‘Dynamics of Christianity’.


Prayer: Thank You Lord for your enabling grace as You have shown mercy to include me, a gentile to become Your own chosen.

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