What Does Matthew 15:24 Mean?

But He answered and said, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

Matthew 15:24(NASB)
Picture courtesy of John Heseltine and Pam Masco

Verse of the Day

When man sinned, God determined in his heart to redeem mankind. All humanity had been infected with sin, but God's redemptive plan was designed to circumnavigate the wiles of the devil, through a people of faith. His mission and ministry was to redeem a people out of the kingdom of darkness, into the kingdom of His dear Son.

Israel was chosen to be the nation through whom all the families of the earth would be blessed. And throughout Old Testament Scripture, we see God's plan of redemption slowly unfold. Israel had been called as a light to enlighten the Gentiles. They were to tell the Gentile nations about the wonderful works of God and His precious plan of salvation.

They were instructed to go into all the world, preaching the gospel of the kingdom to every creature. God did not leave His people clueless, but explained His perfect plan of salvation through many prophetic writings - and Israel were to be His earthly witnesses.

A child was to be born into the human race as man's Kinsman-Redeemer. The Son of the most high God was to be given as the sacrifice for the sin of humanity. He was both fully human and fully divine, and the government of God was to be placed upon His shoulder - and He was to come through the tribe of Judah and the house of David.

Because of Adam's sin which caused all humanity to be infected with sin, He was to be the last Adam, the perfect Man, the federal head of God's new creation, and His name was to be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. His name was to be above every name - and His name is JESUS - which means SAVIOUR.

A Messiah was to be born Who would save His people, Israel, from their sin. A Son was to be given to redeem humanity from a lost eternity. He would be great and would sit upon the throne of his father, David. All who believed God's plan of salvation would be reckoned as righteous - just as Abraham believed God and his faith was reckoned to him as righteousness.

To carry out God's perfect plan of redemption, the Messiah was to come through Israel. He was to be their King Who would govern the world in righteousness. The people of Israel were to tell the Gentile nations the good news that the Word was made flesh and that all who believed on Him, would become sons of God.

Jesus certainly came as Saviour of the whole world: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him - Jew or Gentile - would not perish but have everlasting life." However, the world were to hear about Him through the nation of Israel, for Salvation is of the Jews.

Israel was to be God's mouth-piece, through whom would come the Messiah. Israel had been commanded to go into all the world and preach the gospel of peace to every creature, but the nation failed to obey the Lord and did not recognise Jesus as the prophesied Son of David Who would save His people from their sins, when He finally arrived.

Earlier in His ministry, Jesus sent out His disciples, commanding them, "Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." And here this chapter, many are astonished that Christ should answer a desperate, Samaritan woman by saying, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

"Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me," she cried. "My daughter is demon-possessed." But before His crucifixion and Resurrection, no Gentile had any right to address the Lord Jesus as the 'Son of David'. Under the Law, no Gentile could approach God, except through Israel. To do so, they would have to became Jewish proselyte. However, as soon as this Gentile woman addressed Him as 'LORD' and asked Him to heal her daughter, she was saved by grace through faith in Jesus as the Saviour of the world - for Salvation is of the LORD.

Salvation is of the Jews, through whom was born the Jewish Messiah - for Israel carried the physical Seed of Abraham.

Salvation is of the Lord - the Lord Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son, and all who believe on Him, whether Jew or Gentiles are saved and declared righteous by faith. For salvation is of the Lord and we are the spiritual seed of Jesus Christ - the Jewish Messiah and Saviour of the world.

As post-Cross believers, we are not required to become Jewish proselytes in order to be saved. We are saved by grace through faith in Christ. However, we see from this verse and many similar passages, that in order for Christ to fulfil the whole Law, this Gentile woman had to approach Him as Lord and Saviour of the world, rather than Jesus, Son of David.

How important to read all Scripture in its correct historical context, in order to understand many of the anomalies which can, at times, confuse us.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the wonderful compassion that Jesus showed to this Samaritan woman who came to understand that the Jewish Messiah was the Lord Jesus, the perfect son of David, and eternal Son of the most high God. Thank You that He is my Saviour too. Thank You that by grace through faith in Him, I have received forgiveness of sin and life everlasting. It is wonderful to realise that the whole Law was fulfilled when Jesus died as Israel’s perfect Passover Lamb and my precious Sin-Sacrifice. As I trace the wonderful plan of redemption from Adam’s sin, through Israel’s history, to the birth of Jesus - His sinless life, His sacrificial death, His glorious Resurrection, and Ascension into heaven, I am filled with awe and wonder that You loved the world so much that You gave Your only begotten Son to die in my place. Praise Your holy name, AMEN.

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