And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. (Acts 28:23 KJV)
I do not know what reaction I would face from you after you have read this article. However, the worst I would expect is an attitude of indifference and that feeling that the author of this article is writing gibberish and nonsensical statements. However, such an attitude will not be strange to Paul where he to be on earth today; so, I believe that with him, I share a kindred spirit with regards to what I am about to share with you in this writing.
I want to talk about JESUS amongst the Jews. I do not intend to do an elaborate analysis of the subject; rather, I hope (in the context of our study of Acts of the Apostles) to highlight what the Christian’s attitude ought to be towards the Jews.
It’s a wonderful thing to be a Jew. Their story, heritage and ancestry leave for any Jew every reason to be proud and fulfilled. In fact, it is normal to find different tribes of people in different parts of the world claiming to belong to the lost 10 tribes of Israel. Even the Apostle Paul acknowledged the intrinsic self-worth in being a Jew when he said, “They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.” (Romans 9:4-5 ESV). Hence, every Jew carried about him (in Paul’s days as well as in these days) a hunch on their shoulders that their God was the only true God (and indeed He still is). However, they found it difficult reconciling their Jewish pride to the salvation that Jesus brought.
Severally they had told Jesus, “we are sons of Abraham; we are not slaves to anyone.” However, the Bible made it clear that “all have sinned”, which meant that “all needs help!” The only way that ‘help’ is to come was to be through the person of Jesus Christ. However, the tragedy was that the Jews rejected Him, and continued to follow in that ancient way established by their forefathers under Moses. This was what Jesus contented with till he was killed; and this was what Paul contented with for which he had now arrived Rome to stand trial before the Emperor.
True to his passion for the Jews; Paul contacted them and they visited him. After he had finished telling them what happened to him for which he had come to Rome; they expressed interest in hearing Paul talk about the way of salvation. Thus, they scheduled another day of meeting. When that day was come, they all assembled in Paul’s house; and beginning from Moses and the Law down to the Prophets, Paul proved to them that Jesus was the Messiah promised. This he did from morning to evening! From his action that day, we draw a few lessons:
- Paul never saw salvation and believing in Christ as something optional for the Jews (no matter how faithful they are to their laws and standards.) He saw it as something compulsory; and he took it upon himself to win many Jews (though not with great success). This is unlike many Christians today who feel that there is no need bothering a Jew with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They feel that someone who is already serving the “true God” shouldn’t be bothered with the Gospel of Jesus. But, this is simply not true; because all men (Jews and Gentiles alike) need Jesus.
- The evidences for “Jesus the Messiah”, if traced from the Old Testament, are quite overwhelming. For Paul, it took him from morning till evening in his bid to show from the scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah.
- Despite all of Paul’s defenses and arguments; the Jews still did not believe. They argued among themselves and argued with Paul too. The evidences were overwhelming; yet the Jews refused to surrender to the Lord Jesus. This is quite symptomatic of our world today. Despite all the overwhelming evidences all around them, several have simply refused to submit to the Lord
- Finally, Paul said to them after they rejected his message: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet: “‘Go to this people, and say, “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’ Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.” (Acts 28:25-28 ESV)
AND SO: Let it be clearly established that ALL men need Jesus (both Jews and Greeks); and the Gospel remains God’s veritable tool for winning men over to himself. Thus, in the sight of the LORD, a Gentile (maybe of Arab extraction) who is a disciple of Jesus Christ, is of more worth and concern than a Jew who have refused to believe in Jesus Christ. No wonder Paul told the Colossians; “It doesn’t matter if you are a Greek or a Jew, or if you are circumcised or not. You may even be a barbarian or a Scythian, and you may be a slave or a free person. Yet Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.” (Colossians 3:11 CEV). So, we can learn from Paul to value the knowledge of Christ above being a Jew, or an American, or any other form of National pride. Remember, Christ in you, that alone is the Hope of Glory.