God’s Chosen People
Jewish people are God’s chosen ones. God made this promise to Abraham:
“I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.” (Genesis 22:17–18)
• God chose to teach the world about Himself through the Jewish people and to bless the world through Abraham’s offspring.
• To this day, though they are few, Jewish people around the globe bless the nations through their excellence in science, business, the arts, and every human endeavor.
• God’s crowning blessing brought to the world through Abraham’s offspring is the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who came to earth to save all who would receive Him—both Jew and Gentile.
God has graciously invited Gentiles into His family.
And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree.
Jewish people are the natural branches and Gentiles are the wild ones. God, extending His grace, has provided for both to be united as one olive tree, joined through faith in the one true God.
For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death. (Ephesians 2:14–16)
Gentiles are deeply indebted to Jewish people for a heritage of faith, for teaching us about God, and for bringing so much blessing to the world.
Love One Another
God has inextricably united Jews and Gentiles, transcending man’s attempts to bring division. Throughout the centuries, Christians have discriminated against and persecuted Jews, leaving deep scars. For that, Christianity owes a deep and sincere apology for transgressions that are very real and painful.
Gentiles are called to love Jewish people and the nation of Israel.
Pray for peace in Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper. O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls and prosperity in your palaces. (Psalm 122:6–7)
Because I love Zion, I will not keep still. Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn, and her salvation blazes like a burning torch. (Isaiah 62:1)
“I will bless those who bless you [Abraham and his descendants] and curse those who treat you with contempt.” (Genesis 12:3)
Any animosity between our faiths grieves God and should grieve us as we are called to love one another. The time has come for both sides to embrace each another with respect. It is time for repentance, forgiveness, and healing. We must learn to see one another from God’s view and not through the lens of human history.
Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. (Romans 13:8)
All in the Same Boat
Can Jewish people claim moral high ground over Gentiles, who do not have the heritage, laws, traditions, and experience of God’s direct intervention in their human history? The truth is that Jews and Gentiles are all in the same boat—we all need a Savior. Paul wrote this to his Jewish comrades:
Well then, should we conclude that we Jews are better than others? No, not at all, for we have already shown that all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are under the power of sin. As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous—not even one. (Romans 3:9–10)
And from the prophet Isaiah:
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)
God sees us all on the same page. We are all—Jews and Gentiles alike—sinners. We all descend from Adam and Eve. We all sin and fall short of God’s perfect law of love. We may do good deeds, keep religious laws, and preserve treasured traditions, but in God’s eyes, we are guilty and deserve death. All are guilty and without excuse before a holy God. There is only one way for that guilt to be removed—through the blood of the Lamb shed on the cross.
God’s Promise Fulfilled
Christ was a Jew, born of a Jewish virgin, and raised in obedience to Jewish law. His genealogy dates from the roots of the Jewish race. Christ came to fulfill Jewish law, not to abolish it. Christ fulfilled God’s promise of Messiah, who would save His people from their sins.
He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. (1 Peter 2:24)
“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.” (John 10:14–16)
One Shepherd: Jesus. One flock: Jews and Gentiles.
Jesus is calling all His followers into one flock. Through Christ, God forgives our sins and calls us to do the same in all our relationships. Let’s choose God’s ways over ours by loving one another and serving Him in unity.
Jesus Was a Jew by Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum
Such an important subject deserves deeper study. Please consider reading Dr. Fruchtenbaum’s thorough discussion.