Luke writes that Jesus, while in Jerusalem, said this before He ascended into the dimension called heaven.
“46 Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
How could “all the nations”, not just the Jewish nation, hear the message of repentance if the people empowered to preach it refused to leave home and preach it? And why did they disobey Jesus who would die to secure the forgiveness every nation was supposed to receive?
The Jewish men who heard Jesus say these words didn’t leave Jerusalem until they were forced out by persecution perpetrated by the Pharisees’ angry hit man, Saul of Tarsus. They planted themselves in Palestine instead of going throughout the planet!
“And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.”
It was only after the gospel was being preached by members of the Church did the leaders [apostles] of the church begin venturing out of “their house”. Leaders are supposed to lead but these leaders became followers. They only provided “leadership” after the Holy Spirit circumvented their leadership and worked His work outside Jerusalem through those appointed by the “leaders” to serve tables and those fleeing for their lives. Those fleeing for their lives shared the faith that would save other’s lives.
It was almost a decade after Jesus told His apostles to leave Jerusalem and go into Judea, Samaria and then to the ends of the earth [into all the nations] before they obeyed His command.
I believe the answer to their disobedience lies in the lie they believed about the restoration of the kingdom to natural Israel. “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” [Acts 1:6]
It is interesting to me a decade passed and a decade is 10 years. The Law is made up of 10 Commandments. The Law reveals sin and brings death in disobedience to it. So, Jesus sent death into the house [Jerusalem] and His house [Church] because the apostles disobeyed His “command” to go into ALL the world and preach forgiveness of sin.
This is an Adamic [carnal, fleshly] mistake!
The first man Adam, the original apostle of Christ, failed to take Paradise to the planet and in doing so sucked the serpent into the Garden. The serpent sucked the Life out of God’s leaders when they were seduced by his schemes!
The 1st century Jewish apostles were more concerned with when God was going to restore His kingdom to natural Israel than in discipling to Christ the nations of the world Christ told them to invade. That command and commission is to fulfill the promise to Abraham in the gospel of Christ, “I will bless those who bless you [Abram], and I will curse those who curse you [Abram], and in you [Abram] all the nations of the earth will be blessed” [Genesis 12:3]
“8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.”
The blessing of Abraham is salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Or as Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe the gospel.” [Mark 1:15]
Today, what God said to Abram has been hijacked by those who still believe God is going to restore natural Israel to a place of prominence! They say God said, “I will bless those who bless Israel and I will curse those who curse Israel.” Whether out of ignorance, naiveté or deception this belief is damaging to those it infects.
The blessing and cursing have everything to do with the acceptance or rejection of Jesus, who is the Son of God and Son of Man! It involves natural Israel or the natural descendants of Abraham, the Jews, but it is not just about them. “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” [John 3:36]. That applies to every person regardless of ethnicity, gender or socio-economic status.
And once the “He who believes” believes, he, along with everyone else who believes is one with Christ Jesus, and are Abraham’s descendants, his heirs according to the promise made to him in Genesis 12:3.
“28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise..”
John, the Jewish disciple Jesus loved, said this:
“16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 21 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
- God so loved [loves] the world, not just Israel
- God sent His Son into the world, not just Israel
- God wants to save the world, not just Israel
- God sent the light into the world, not just Israel
- God does not want the world condemned, not just Israel
In fact, the entire New Testament revelation reveals that truth!
Palestine is not the prize. The planet is!
“For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.”
That is why the meek will inherit the earth!
God had to convert a Jewish religious terrorist [Saul/Paul] before the Jerusalem Church got serious about the Great Commission! It got so bad that God moved the center of world evangelism from Jerusalem to Antioch of Phrygia in the region of Galatia!
The church in Antioch was not formed by the forging apostolic force from Jerusalem. No, it was formed by believers who came from various places due to the persecution related to Stephen’s martyrdom, and preached to the Jews in Antioch. After that men from Cyprus and Cyrene came and preached the gospel to the Greeks!
Finally, the Jerusalem Church sent Barnabas to Antioch to encourage the Jewish and Greek believers there to remain faithful to Jesus. Barnabas was not one of the original apostles!
And by the way, it was the Antioch church that Paul was a leader in and was sent out to evangelize the world from. And it is the place the believers [Jews and Greeks] were first called Christians.
The Jerusalem Church produced the Judaizers who followed Paul around harassing the converts to Christ in his ministry. These Law based believers tried their best to pull the saints back under the Law of Moses.
There are contemporary Judaizers still trying to trick saints into slavery!
There are those today who have read Jesus’ words found in Luke 24 and still will not leave Jerusalem! If they do venture out beyond Jerusalem they attempt to persuade the gullible to come back under their control. Using the “Jewish root” lie they lie in wait for those who do not know their Bible.
The root of Christianity is Jesus, not Judaism!
Jerusalem and Judaism have never been Jesus’ focus. The nations are Jesus’ focus! Jesus is called, “Desire of the nations,” but some believers only see Jesus as the Savior of the Jews, or the Jewish Savior! Jesus came into the world He created as a Jewish person but let’s not go overboard with that truth.
First, God chose the Hebrew people out of all of the ethnic groups on the planet because He chose them, not because they earned that choice.
“7 The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers.”
God made a decision and honored His covenant commitment to the forefathers [Abraham, Isaac and Jacob], who were all men of faith in God and faithfulness to God.
Second, God divorced Israel in the Old Testament because of their constant adulteries with other gods, who are not God.
“Thus says the LORD, “Where is the certificate of divorce By which I have sent your mother away? Or to whom of My creditors did I sell you? Behold, you were sold for your iniquities, And for your transgressions your mother was sent away.”
“And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also.”
Third, Jesus abandoned them [Jerusalem] to seal their fate with God. Fourth, Peter and Stephen, two highly visible Jewish men of God laid the blame of Christ’s murder at the door of natural Israel’s house.
“Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!”
And lastly, Paul said not to view Jesus, or anyone according to the flesh [ethnicity, gender, or any other natural status symbol].
2 Corinthians 5:16
“Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.”
On the day of Pentecost Peter preached a scathing sermon in Jerusalem. It was so effective it pierced many Jewish hearts and 3,000 repented and received Christ.
“22 Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know — 23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and [you] put Him to death. 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ —this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Peter said it was God’s predetermined plan and foreknowledge that the Jews would hand Jesus over to the Romans to be murdered. God chose the Jews to bring Jesus physically into the world and He chose them to physically take Him out of this world. So much for celebrating an elitist attitude.
Now, for all the idiots out there are looking for a reason to mistreat Jewish people because of their complicity in Jesus’ death, you need to check your heart and loyalty to the God you say you are defending. God orchestrated the entire plan!
Stephen, in front of the Sanhedrin who were after more blood from those who believed in this Jesus, released his own scathing sermon.
“51 You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. 52 Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; 53 you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.”
This is painful to face, but it is more painful to listen to and or watch as these Jerusalem loving [preferring] and Christ hating [not preferring] Judaizers to this day defend the natural Jewish people, putting their interests above the Lord they say they love and serve.
And do not point to your “supernatural showmanship” to qualify you as a a genuine spokesman for Christ. Jesus said to watch out for those who over exaggerate their relationship to Christ by pointing to the supernatural. He called them false [misleading] prophets [spokesman] who are ravenous wolves [serve for what they can take from the saints not what they can give to the saints]. They destroy through their deception not even realizing they are deceived.
There is still an elitist spirit that permeates Jewish believers in Christ and that elitism manifests in several ways:
1.They won’t call themselves Christians
2.They see Jewishness as the pinnacle of being the people of God
- Paul teaches being naturally Jewish is irrelevant!
3.They label people antisemites who don’t bow at the feet of Zionism
- Should they be labeled anti-Christ?
See how easy it is to malign someone’s integrity and character?
Forgetting that the gospel was preached to Abraham [Abram] in God’s statement about the nations being blessed, they reduce that revelation to fit their narrow narrative. And by the way, the Hebrews [Jews] are not the only semitic people on the planet. Jesus is the Savior of the Arab people too. The Arabs are semites, but you rarely if ever see them defend the Arabs.
They will not defend the non Hebrew semitic peoples, so – are they antisemites too?
Throwing that label out is indefensible and has no place in the Christian community, unless you are absolutely pure in you antisemitic and anti-Christ positions!
God promised Abraham that Ishmael would be blessed and the blessing of Abraham includes the salvation of all people, even the descendants of Ishmael!
These present day puritans are quick to label nonconformists to political Zionism antisemites. Memo to those people – we are not antisemites. We are pro Savior of the world! We are not anti Jewish or anti Jerusalem. We are pro Jesus the Christ!
Your immaturity and irresponsibility is showing and it is not pretty!
Jesus and the New Testament writers clearly revealed the world is God’s focus and the focus of His work, not just Jerusalem and the Jewish people! Jerusalem and the Jewish people were the starting line, not the finish line.
“Beginning from Jerusalem” is what Jesus said!
The word beginning denotes the first place, not the only place. It also means to rule over. Jesus never intends to rule from Jerusalem. In fact He is forbidden to be a priest or King in Jerusalem or any other city in the world.
“My kingdom is not of this world” is what He told Pilate! It is still not of this world and it will never be of this world. It is in this world! It has always been in this world! And it will always be in this world! But it is NOT of this world!
His rule from Jerusalem is based on that is where He lived, died, was buried, was resurrected and ascended, as a Man. When He returns He will hand the kingdom of heaven back to Father God, and then the end will come! The end will come, not the millennium!
Maturity in the things of God requires the people of God to leave where they began with God, and go to where God is leading them. Even Paul, the writer of Hebrews, makes this truth clear.
“1 Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God [See Luke 24:46,47 above], 2 of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do, if God permits.”
Paul explains what maturity looks like in chapter 5. Keep this in mind and go back and read these 2 verses in chapter 6 again, with the context in view.
“8 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. 9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, 10 being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. 11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
Paul is saying these Hebrews should have matured and become teachers, but they were still carnal Christians [infants] in need of other people to supply them milk. He is saying they should have moved on from elementary school [pre-school] to graduate school! These carnal Christians [Hebrew believers] were not even getting their own milk. They drank milk from the breasts of those who were more than happy to keep them unhealthy and immature.
The saints have got to grow up!
The saints have got to get their own milk so that one day they can eat their own meat!
Meet me oh Lord, let’s eat!
Dr. Kevin M. Drury, DMin