Why did Jesus Christ command His twelve disciples not to preach the gospel of the kingdom to Gentiles or to the half-breed Jew and Gentile Samaritans?
The answer is a very simple one and it isn’t that Jesus didn’t mean what He said like one popular Pastor/Theologian records in his best selling study Bible. Or one of the many mainline denominational “we have to make this fit our theology” explanations!
The Biblical answer is Jesus was on the scene fulfilling the promises He made to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3), Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, and David (2 Samuel 7:8-16). God the Son was among His covenant people “the Jews” and those covenants God made with Israel had NOTHING to do with the Gentile world (Ephesians 2:11,12).
Important side note: During Christ three year earthly ministry, the Mosaic Law and Temple Worship are still in operation. The Law God commanded (Exodus 19 & 20) Moses to take down to the nation of Israel thousands of years in the past was 100% valid throughout all of Christ earthly ministry. The Gentile world had absolutely nothing to do with the Mosaic Law or Temple worship, never! The Mosaic Law and Temple worship did not end until the risen Lord tells Paul that mankind is no longer under the Law but under grace almost 14 years after Christ began His earthly ministry (Romans 6:14; Romans 3:22).
So, again the answer is; Jesus could command His disciples “not to go to the Gentiles or Samaritans” because the King and the kingdom was promised to Israel not the Gentile world. Jesus was keeping His covenant promises to His chosen people.
The Bible is always the best interpreter of itself, a clear Holy Spirit inspired answer is in what the apostle Paul writes to a Gentile congregation of believers in Rome reminding them;
‘Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision (Who were the circumcision? THE JEWS) for the truth of God (as part of his eternal purposes), to (What?) confirm (or fulfill) the promises made unto the fathers; (now really folks do we need to be theologians to know who the fathers are? Of course not, these promises were made to The patriarchs of the nation of Israel Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, and David and the promise was that one day God the Son, Israel’s Messiah, would be their King, He would crush Israel’s enemies and rule Israel from David’s throne in Jerusalem.)
All covenant blessings to both Jew and Gentiles was “the Christ”. The great message of hope throughout the Old Testament was the coming of the Messiah and His kingdom (Zechariah 14:9). Not the body of Christ, because it was hidden in God until Paul. (Colossians 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14) It is not until God calls Saul (Acts 9:15,16; Romans 15:15,16) who we know now as the apostle Paul that the Gentile world would have a message of salvation.
To get a snap shot of Jewish theology in general I would encourage you to read Luke 1-2. The testimonies of Zechariah, the priest, Mary, the mother of Jesus, Simeon, the righteous Jew, and Anna, the prophetess provide great insight into what godly Jews understood about God’s plan.
God always had salvation for the Gentile world in mind but any and all divine blessing was to come through and by the nation of Israel. The entire Old Testament speaks of this, many prophetic verses revealed God’s plan for blessing Gentiles through Israel and the Messiah (Isaiah 2:4, 11:10, 42:1-7, 49:5-7, 60:1-3 cf. Luke 2:25-32; Isaiah 61:4-7, 62:1-5; Jeremiah 3:15-18; Zechariah 8:20-23).
Israel’s rejection of their promised “Messiah” and the eventual crucifixion of Jesus by the Romans and Jewish leadership (Psalms 2) created a massive theological dilemma. How could God fulfill all His promises, bless Israel and intern bless the Gentile nations when Israel killed their own promised King?
Tough question simple answer. God’s Word is Amazing, Perfect and Precise.
Thank you for reading.
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.
It’s All Grace or Nothing at All
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