Part 6 - Matthew 10:5-6 - A BIGOTED WOMAN, DOGS AND A SECOND CHANCE!
Gordon Brown, Englands Prime Minister described a widow as a "BIGOTED WOMAN" recently. He meant it to be a private comment but was picked up by a microphone he was wearing.
Mrs Duffy asked some questions to Mr Brown regarding immigration, and cornered him with questions about the budget deficit. After getting into the car one aide asked what Mrs Duffy had said to him, Mr Brown replied: "Everything, she was just a sort of BIGOTED WOMAN who said she used to be Labour." His comments were broadcast across Britain and the world. It may cost him the election.
Jesus once called a Samaritan woman A DOG. In Matthew 15:21-28 (NLT) a Gentile woman came to Jesus, pleading, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely." Jesus ignored her at first. When she didn't go away, He said to the woman, "I was sent only to help GOD'S LOST SHEEP-THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL." But she came and worshiped Him, pleading again, "Lord, help me!" Jesus responded, "It isn't right to take food from the children and THROW IT TO THE DOGS." He eventually healed her daughter but today He would have been hounded by the press for such a comment and rejected by a large section of the population. Election was not an issue for Him, so He did not apologise. He was more interested that we would be become one of those elected (chosen) by God.
So what is this all about? Back in Matthew 10:5 Jesus sends His 12 disciples ONLY to Israel. - "Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: "Don't go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, but ONLY TO THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL-GOD'S LOST SHEEP." There it is again. ONLY ISRAEL!
Why were these guys restricted to going to Israel? If you only looked at this passage, you would think that JESUS A RACIST - only concerned for His own nation. His instructions prevented them from going North into Syria, South into Samaria, or East into Decapolis because that was all Gentile territory. They were limited to going around Galilee, THEIR HOME TERRITORY. No Gentiles. No Samaritans. No Romans. ONLY TO JEWS. Only the familiar.
As a young Christian missionaries would come and speak at our Church at Wagga Wagga in NSW, Australia and they would encourage people to commit their lives to go to the uttermost parts of the world. They would quote the great commission in Matthew 28:19 and preach on the word "GO!" They would quote Acts 1:8 (NLT) "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me EVERYWHERE-in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ENDS OF THE EARTH."
But here Jesus says to His disciples to AVOID the uttermost parts of the world and JUST PREACH TO THE JEWS in Galilee.
What am I to make of this, Lord? What are you saying to me?
Is Jesus trying to lay out a principle of sharing my faith with others IN THE PLACE WHERE I LIVE FIRST. I could make a case for this but I don't think so. It's true of course that if I can't work for Him in my own community, going overseas isn't going to make much difference. It seems to me that the testing ground for discipleship is in my own home territory. And I need to do this intentionally. I am to START OFF FIRST IN MY JERUSALEM. Then He extends my territory. But that's not what this passage is getting at.
Is Jesus a Racist? John 3:16 makes it clear that He is far from being a racist - "For God loved the world so much that He gave His One and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life."
I love the way Galatians 3:26-29 (NLT) puts it when it speaks about faith in Christ - "For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on the character of Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are His heirs, and God's promise to Abraham belongs to you." Jesus could never be accused of being a racist.
I think the reason Jesus said to go only to the Jewish race was because of a promise made to Abraham - all through the Old Testament the Jews are the people God chose to take His message to the nations. 1 Chronicles 16:24 (NLT) says they were to "Publish His glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things He does."
Psalms 67:2-3 (NLT) says "May Your ways be known throughout the earth, Your saving power among people everywhere. May the nations praise You, O God. Yes, may all the nations praise You."
The Jews failed to take the message to the nations but because of God's promises to them Jesus gives them as second chance, so to speak, concerning the New Covenant message - a chance to redeem themselves. God honours His promise to Israel before engrafting the Gentiles into the vine, before including us all as recipients of His salvation when we believe in Christ. He honours His promises to me today. His Word is faithful. Thankyou Father for being the God of the second chance to me also when I don't get it right the first time. Your grace is amazing.
God bless you Church as you begin to share your faith intentionally and obey His call on your life in your work place, in your home, to your family and friends and then to the very ends of the earth.