JESUS VS PAUL # 18: to Israel or everyone

The following apparent discrepancy comes from JESUS VS PAUL # 18: to Israel or everyone

18) Jesus–“I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 15:24) and “…Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 10:5-6) and “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine….” (Matt. 7:6) and (Matt. 15:26, Mark 8:27, John 4:22)

versus

Paul “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him” (Rom. 10:12) and “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16) and “Even the righteousness of God which is my faith of Jesus Christ unto all and all them that believe: for there is no difference” (Rom. 3:22) and (1 Tim. 2:6, Rom. 4:16, 2:26-29, 4:9-13, 23-24, 11:19-25). Jesus told his followers to go only to the Jews, while Paul said there was no difference between Jews and Greeks.

In many ways, this objectiion is similar to the objections dealt with in JESUS VS PAUL #1: SALVATION FOR JEWS ONLY?,  JESUS VS PAUL #3: ENTER SAMARIA OR NOT?, and JESUS VS PAUL #12: all justified or not?. Having said that, I will still attempt to address this issue once again.

To be clear, the objection is: “Jesus told his followers to go only to the Jews, while Paul said there was no difference between Jews and Greeks.”

We will start with a look at Matthew 15:24 and 26, but in context. Matthew 15:22-28,

22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.”

23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

25The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

26He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”

27“Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

28Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

Jesus said he was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel. His purpose at that time and place was not to heal people. His purpose was to show the lost sheep of Israel that God was fulfilling prophecy among them. So, he focused his time and effort upon those to whom he was sent. He was sent to a specific people, at a specific time, for a specific purpose. In fulfilling the purpose of God, Jesus was showing obedience to God. And in doing so, He was also being the sacrificial lamb all of us need.

Jesus DID say he was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. Some might say he was rude, but I think it more likely that Jesus knew what would happen and let it play out. Part of it may have been that Jesus was using this experience to teach his followers – nothing Jesus did was without purpose. The Jews of that time thought highly of themselves and less of Gentiles. His followers had to recognize the difference, and recognize what Jesus did. Note that the woman said essentially that even the crumbs of what GOD provides is worth having. Some might think this ugly, but if you think about it, she was showing her faith in God – even the littlest thing Jesus could do would be great. Because of her faith, her daughter was healed. Jesus did not ignore her, but granted her petition made in true faith. This is how it is with God. Many people ask for things, but only some of those prayers are actually made in faith, or are in the will of God. And it is THOSE requests that God grants. In healing the GENTILE woman’s daughter, Jesus was showing that it is FAITH in God that matters, not who has it.

Let us now look at Matt. 10:5-6 in context, Matthew 10:5-20.

5These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ 8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; 10take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.

11“Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. 12As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. 16I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

17“Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. 18On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Jesus DOES tell the disciples to go to Israelites and not to the Gentiles. Pay attention to something else Jesus said, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. It will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.” Jesus sent the disciples to the Jews only because they were the one’s from among whom the Savior of the world was born, and they would have the first chance to accept what God has done. Jesus knew many would not accept Him. God would be shown merciful and gracious and as having fulfilled His promise to Abraham that many nations would be blessed through him. But first, Jesus had to give those who claimed to see the opportunity to actually see Him and choose Him. Jesus sent his followers to those from whom he came, and they were given a chance to accept what God had done. Some would accept it, but some would not.

As for what Jesus said in Matthew 7:6, we have to read it in context.

Matthew 7

 1“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

 3“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

 6“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.

 7“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

 9“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

 13“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

 15“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

 21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

 24“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

 28When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

The chapter begins with the fact that people need to take care of their own sin before worrying about others who have that same sin. Then there is a warning about not sharing what is sacred with those who can not understand because they may trample it underfoot and seek to destroy you. This does not mention a specific group of people, but one would think it is speaking about people who do not trust God – not a nationality or ethnic group of people (although Jesus’ listeners might have taken it to mean such). This warning is then followed by Jesus telling people to ASK GOD for what they need, which makes sense, given that this entire chapter is how those who trust God should live differently than those who do not – which is seen even more clearly in verses 7:13-28. Jesus warns people it will be difficult to enter into heaven, that they are to have their foundation built upon solid ground, and to have fruit which reflects the faith they are to have. So, no, Matthew 7:6 does not refer to people of other ethnic groups, but to people who have no faith.

It seems to me the original complaintants were attempting to use Mark 8:27 in their list of verses concerning this apparent discrepancy to bolster the idea that Jesus came to Israel only. But let us look at it in context.

Mark 8:27-35

27Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

 28They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”

 29“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
      Peter answered, “You are the Christ.”

 30Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

 31He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

 33But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

 34Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.

This passage was not about to whom did Jesus come, but who WAS Jesus. On the one hand, Peter understood that Jesus was the Son of God. But on the other hand, Peter still did not understand that Jesus HAD to be the sacrificial lamb, that he HAD to suffer and die so others could live through faith in Him.

Now let us examine the last verse being used to show Jesus was only for the Jews, John 4:22, but in context, John 4:13-26.

13Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

 15The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

 16He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

 17“I have no husband,” she replied.

   Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

 19“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

 21Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

 25The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

 26Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”

Notice, Jesus was speaking of spiritual water – the Holy Spirit. But more than that, Jesus said that salvation came from the Jews. He did not say it came FOR the Jews. Even more, notice that Jesus said the Samaritan woman would worship God neither on a mountain (as the Samaritans did) nor in Jerusalem (as the Jews did). Worshiping God was not simply for one ethnic group – it was for all who had faith in Christ, the Son of God.

Now let us look at what Paul said in Romans 10:9-13

9That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Notice that Paul quoted Isiah 28:16 and Joel 2:32.

 Isiah 28:16

16 So this is what the Sovereign LORD says:  “See, I lay a stone in Zion,  a tested stone,  a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation;  the one who trusts will never be dismayed.

Joel 2:32

32 And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.

Notice that these things line up with what Jesus said in John 4:23

23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

God wants worshippers who worship in spirit and in truth – it matters not from whch ethnic group they hail.

Indeed, we can see that salvation is for everyone in Christ’s very words to his disciples in Matthew 28:18-20

18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Note, Jesus told the disciples to go to ALL nations (or ethnic groups). While Jesus had been sent to the lost sheep of Israel for a specific time and purpose, the effects of what He did would be for everyone. Indeed, his followers were sent to everyone, to make disciples everywhere and of every ethnic group. It was not just Jews to whom salvation had come, but to everyone who believed. We see this explicitely in John 3:16-18,

16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

We can see more of this in what happened to Peter in Acts 10:34-48

34Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right36You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

39“We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree,40but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

44While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.

Then Peter said, 47“Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” 48So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.

Notice that Peter realized God shows no favoritism, but accepts people who of all ethnic groups who fear Him and do what is right.

Now let us look at other passages used to show there is a difference between what Paul taught and what Jesus taught.

Romans 1:16

 16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

Paul is in agreement with what both Jesus and Peter said – the gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. The ethnic group or nationality does not matter.

Romans 3:22-26

22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

This time Paul tells us WHY God’s righteousness comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe: everyone has sinned and are justified by GOD’s grace – to demonstrate how just God is.

1 Timothy 2:6

6who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.

We see in 1 Timothy 2:6 that Jesus gave himself as a ransom for all AT THE PROPER TIME. It was not just that JEsus did this thing, but He did it for everyone, at the right time. There is a time and place for everything, including being the sacrificial lamb.

Romans 4:16-25

16Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.

18Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

We see in Romans 4 that God made Abraham the father of many nations, quoting Genesis 17:5, because of the faith Abram had.

In Romans 2, Paul reminds us that it not outward circumcision that matters, but internal. Romans 2:25-29

25Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26If those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.

 28A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.

Paul was just as clear in Romans 11:19-27

19You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

 22Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

 25I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:  “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”

People with faith are grafted into the tree of life. People without faith are not. It depeneds upon faith, not upon ethnic identity or nationality.

No, Paul was not in disagreement with Jesus. Paul was sent by Jesus to the nations, just as Jesus sent all the disicples to all the nations. Just as Jesus was sent by God the Father to suffer and die for our sins, that we might believe and so have eternal life.

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2 Responses

  1. wb,
    We should note, that even in the Book of Acts, the Gospel was sent to the Jew first. Yes, the Book of Acts is a transitional Book, from the OT to the NT Covenant. (Acts 28: 23-29…note even Rom. 1:16)
    Fr. R.

    • Amen Fr. R.

      As Jesus said in Acts 1:8
      But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

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