Why was Salvation ‘..for the Jew first’?
In today’s world we can be accused of:
Ageism if we appear to diminish older people.
Sexism if we appear to diminish women.
Can we accuse Paul of Semitism, or Favouritism, when he appears to diminish Gentiles in Romans 1.16?:
The Gospel of Christ…is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek (Gentile). Romans 1:16
Is Paul, as a Jew, revealing his Semitism and his Favouritism…or is he explaining the historical process of how the LORD has acted?
Paul makes it very clear in Acts 13 that he cannot be accused of either Semitism or Favouritism:
Paul … said, ‘It was necessary that the Word of God should be spoken to you (Jews) first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of Everlasting Life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. Acts 13:46
In Exodus 6, The LORD promised the Jews, the Children of Israel, that He would save and redeem them from their bondage to the Egyptians:
The LORD said, I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will save you from their bondage, and I will redeem you Exodus 6:6
We need to answer 5 questions:
1. What were the Jews saved from 3500 years ago?
2. What did Jesus save both Jews and Gentiles from 2000 years ago?
3. How did the LORD redeem the Jews 3500 years ago?
4. How did Jesus redeem both Jews and Gentiles 2000 years ago?
5. What does Isaiah 53 explain about the Salvation and Redemption that Jews and Gentiles have through His blood?
Question 1. What were the Jews saved from 3500 years ago?
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work.
Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, and deprived of the right to leave. This was the situation that the Jews were suffering in Egypt.
The LORD saved them from this bondage of slavery:
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves; I have broken the bands of your yoke and made you walk upright. Leviticus 26:13
The Psalmist is delighted at Salvation!:
Psalm 96:2 Sing to the LORD, bless His name; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Psalm 98:2 The LORD has made known His salvation; His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations.
Question 2. What did Jesus save both Jews and Gentiles from 2000 years ago?
The Apostle John and Paul explain the spiritual problem of slavery that BOTH Jews and Gentiles have:
Jesus said, ‘Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin….’ John 8:34
Romans 6:6,12,23 Our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts….for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Happily, as Paul explains to Titus:
The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men… Titus 2:11
And ‘the angel of the LORD’ makes clear to Joseph what Jesus will do:
You shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21
And John the Baptist explains that the prophecy of Isaiah is about to be fulfilled:
As it is written in the book of Isaiah the prophet, saying:
‘The voice of one crying,
’In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’ Luke 3.4-6
So the Jews were saved from the slavery of bondage to the Egyptians 3500 years ago….and Jesus saved BOTH Jews and Gentiles from their spiritual slavery to the bondage of sin 2000 years ago.
Question 3. How did the LORD redeem the Jews 3500 years ago?
At The Exodus…. You in Your mercy have led forth the people whom You have redeemed; Exodus 15:13
The Psalmist and Job rejoice in their physical and spiritual Redemption:
Psalm 71:23 My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing to You, and my soul, which You have redeemed.
Job 19:25 I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth;
Question 4. How did Jesus redeem both Jews and Gentiles 2000 years ago?
Paul explains to the new Gentile believers how Jesus paid the redemption price with His life Blood:
Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood,
1Corinthians 6:20 You were bought at a price;
When we compare what the LORD did at the Exodus and what He did at His Crucifixion we discover that He effected Redemption in 3 specific actions; in darkness, with blood, and by the death of the firstborn:
At The Exodus:
The LORD said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt. Exodus 10.21
At His Crucifixion:
Matthew 27.45-48 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.
At The Exodus:
Every man shall take …a lamb for a household…..Your lamb shall be without blemish, …and..the whole congregation of Israel shall kill it…then take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.…. When the LORD sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door … Exodus 12.1-32
At His Crucifixion:
We have redemption through His Blood, Ephesians 1:7
By the death of the firstborn:
At The Exodus:
At midnight the LORD struck all the firstborn in Egypt, ….Then Pharoah called for Moses and Aaron and said, ‘Go out from among my people….and be gone;…’ Exodus 12.29-31
At His Crucifixion:
I will make him My firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth. Psalm 89.27
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Question 5. What does Isaiah 53 tell us about the Salvation and Redemption that Jews and Gentiles have through His Blood?:
Isaiah prophesies that, at His Crucifixion, He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows. Our griefs and our sorrows are not sins which we have done. They are those things in our lives that we have suffered from.
They are, perhaps:
Our grief at the loss of a parent when we were very young
The rejection that we experienced from our parents, at school, or at work
Our grief, sorrow, and guilt over the divorce that we experienced
Our grief over the early death of our spouse
Our sorrow and guilt over the loss of our relationship with our child
The rejection we experienced at failure to win promotion at work…..
and so on, and so on…..
For many of us, our reaction to these griefs and our sorrows has been bitterness, resentment, rejection, guilt, and lasting pain.
We have become like Job who cried out to God, ‘Why is light given to him who is in misery, and life to the bitter of soul, who long for death, but it does not come….I loathe my life; … let me alone, for my days are but a breath. Job 3.20-21,7.16
We are like the Psalmist who wrote: I am feeble and severely broken; I groan because of the turmoil of my heart. Psalm 38:8
Isaiah 53 prophesies that, at His Crucifixion, by His stripes we are healed. From what are we healed? It was Jesus Himself who bore our griefs and sorrows on the Cross, when He prayed:
My God, My God, … Why are You so far from …. the words of My groaning? Psalm 22:1
Here is a prayer that you might like to pray:
I come to You now, Jesus, because You are a Man of sorrows and acquainted with my grief that pierces my soul, the whole of my being. Therefore, I now give to You all my pain, my sorrow, and my grief, because on the Cross, You bore my griefs and carried my sorrows, and by Your stripes I am healed.
By a decision of my will, I forgive, unreservedly, all those who have ever sinned against me intentionally or unintentionally, in thought, word, or deed. I turn from all bitterness, all resentment, all rejection, all guilt, and all hatred. Guard, protect, and keep my soul; rescue me, for I put my trust in You. Heal me, LORD, and I shall be healed.
Accept my prayer from a willing heart, O LORD. Amen
Rejoice in your Salvation and Redemption which was for the Jew first at The Exodus, and also for the Jews and Gentiles at His Crucifixion!!