Dear RCF Sisters and Brothers,
Since the great-great-grandchildren of Abraham were enslaved in Egypt they had always been at odds with the peoples around them. They were very different from other cultures, and nearly always the objects of criticism and oppression. Generation after generation of Jews had stories about the unjust and harsh treatment they had received from neighboring Gentiles. Hebrew parents taught their children to stay away from Gentiles, fearing not only their injustice but also the influence of their immorality and idolatry. By the time Jesus lived the Jewish homeland had been under the domination of Gentile nations for six centuries. These foreign nations siphoned taxes and goods from the people of Israel.
It was therefore not unreasonable that the Jews despised the Gentiles. However, now that their Messiah had come and desired to have everyone including non-Jews believe in Him, who would be the messenger? Perhaps God would call a Gentile to His Son who would carry the Good News of redemption through Christ to other Gentiles. That would seem natural. In today’s text we will see that God called the most unlikely and orthodox Jewish man on the planet to reach Gentiles. He was uniquely qualified for that job, but also for the task of convincing the Jewish people that their Messiah was also the Savior of all people, even the Gentiles who they so vigorously despised.