Why did Jesus focus His ministry on the Jews?

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Christ’s dealings with the non-Jews of Palestine were secondary to His ministry for He explained, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 15:24). Jesus‘ short ministry of 3 1/3 years had to be focused primarily on the Jews, though when occasion offered He did not deny the Gentiles the blessings He accorded His own people. During that brief period, He exhibited the absence of favoritism whether the distinctions were of social rank, or knowledge, or wealth. Even His enemies acknowledged that (Matt. 22:16).

If Jesus’ labors for the Jews were to succeed, it was essential that He should observe the customs of the Jews to the extent that the Jewish leaders should have no reason to charge Him of breaking down the walls they had erected against the Gentiles, even though these walls were wrong in many respects. If He had done away with these barriers, He would have destroyed His influence with the very people He came to save.

However, Jesus’ mission to reach the whole world was to be accomplished through the lives of His disciples. Jesus gave them His great commission just before His ascension to heaven (Matthew 28:19). This commission was to be carried out after the disciples got empowered with the Holy Spirit at the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). With time, Jewish Christians understood the fact that God considered all men everywhere eligible to become citizens of the kingdom of heaven (Acts 9:9–18, 32–35; 10:1–48; 15:1–29; Rom. 1:16; 9:24; etc.).

Today, Christian workers are to break all barriers between races and regard all men brothers before God, and to remember that “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). The apostle James stressed this truth to all who wished to be true disciples of Christ (ch. 2:1–9). And Paul, the preacher to the Gentiles, taught this same principle saying, “but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God” (Rom. 2:10–11).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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