These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: "Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans;Matthew 10:5(NASB)
It is very important to understand that Jesus was specifically sent, by God, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He was to execute God’s many promises of a kingdom on earth and to fulfil the many prophecies that spoke of peace and prosperity for God’s chosen nation. If the gospels are read without recognising this important issue it is possible to misinterpret many gospel passages.
Israel were God’s chosen people, through whom the Messiah was to be born. They were charged, at Sinai, to bring to light the Gentiles. They were to tell them God’s plan of salvation and His coming kingdom and they were to bring them into the fold of Israel. Holy men, from God’s chosen nation, prophesised about the coming Messiah and His eternal Kingdom. All the promises of God were given to Israel and were to be completed through Israel.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 15, I was sent ONLY to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” and all four gospels trace Christ’s life and ministry within Israel. They highlight Israel’s growing disregard and hatred of Jesus, and all four gospels give detailed accounts of the Jew’s rejection of their Messiah-King – His illegal trial by their leaders and His crucifixion, death and burial by His own people. Israel were God’s chosen nation, to Whom Jesus was specifically sent – but they rejected Him.
The mighty signs and wonders that Jesus performed throughout His ministry were to authenticate His Messianic claims. Moses and the prophet had written about Him and told the people how He could be recognised. He was to be crowned their King and they were to teach the gospel of the Kingdom to the Gentile nations.
Having already chosen His twelve disciples, Jesus encouraged them to pray for labourers to be sent throughout Israel, to tell of the good news of the kingdom of heaven. He then prepared the twelve for a special, evangelistic ministry, by equipping them with His own mighty power and sovereign authority. He gave them power over unclean spirits – to cast them out and to heal all kinds of sickness and diseases.
His twelve disciples were to go throughout Israel and perform these Messianic signs and miracles about which Isaiah and the prophets had written. These signs and miracles were the proof that their Messiah-King had arrived. However, they were given some very important and specific instructions from the Lord: Do NOT go in the way of the Gentiles, He commanded, and do NOT enter any city of the Samaritans.
The Messiah, Who was to be the Saviour of the whole world, instructed His disciples NOT to go and tell the Gentiles the good news. The One, through Whom all the families of the earth were to be blessed, ordered His disciples NOT to even enter into a Samaritan village!
How shocking it appears that the Redeemer of the world forbade His disciples to tell the good news of the kingdom of heaven, to Gentiles that lost in their sin and outside the sheepfold of Israel! WHY? Why were the Gentiles and Samaritans excluded from this good news that the kingdom of heaven was near?
Well, Israel had to repent of THEIR sin first. God’s chosen people were to turn from their sins and believe that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the living God FIRST. The Jews had to accept the arrival of their Messiah and crown Him King of kings – FIRST.
God chosen people, who had become so apostate over the centuries, were to repent of their sin, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, crown Him as king and then be a light to the Gentiles and Samaritans, by proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom throughout the world.
But Israel failed. Israel rejected their King. Israel crucified their Messiah and so the promised kingdom of heaven had to be postponed.
Sadly, the kingdom of God had to be taken away from Israel (FOR A SEASON) and given to a people, who WOULD produce the fruit of righteousness. The kingdom of heaven has to be postponed – for a time. The responsibility to tell the world about Jesus was given to the Body of Christ, which is the Church. When Israel rejected their Messiah, they became God’s light to enlighten a lost world.
Today the Church is proclaiming the gospel of the grace of God to unsaved Jew and Gentile alike, until the WHOLE nation of Israel repents of their sin and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ – and THEN the “Gospel of the Kingdom” will be preached throughout the world, and Christ will return to set up His kingdom, as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the four gospels and the beautiful truth that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel and their coming King. Thank You that even though they rejected Jesus and crucified their King, You have not finished with Your chosen people. Thank You that in Your grace You chose me and other simple folk, who would believe on His name and trust Him as Saviour, to witness to a lost world. Thank You that You have entrusted me and other believers to be a light to the lost sinners and ministers of the new and better covenant, in Christ’s blood. In Jesus name I pray, AMEN.