Was Jesus sent to the Children of Israel or to the world?

Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi

Jesus(P) was sent by God exclusively to the Bani Israil (Children of Israel) and had many times clearly and explicitly stated that he is a Prophet sent only to the Jews. There are many verses in the New Testament that supports this mission of Jesus(P). The following are only a few indications of his statements.

In Matthew 1:21, we read that

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS, for he shall save his people from their sins.”

It is clear from the very onset of Jesus'(P) birth that his mission was for the Jews, his own people.

Further, we read in Matthew 5:17-18, where Jesus(P) said:

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

The verse above complements the previous one. Jesus'(P) purpose is to fulfil the Laws of Moses(P), and who else has this Law but the Jews themselves? It is true that the Christian missionaries has spread Christianity all over the world, but Jesus(P) did not originally intended for the religion to be spread in this manner. The point is not what the missionaries do, but what Jesus(P) himself means. What is the purpose of God sending Jesus(P)? No one could give a better detail more than Jesus(P) himself.

The mission of Jesus(P) is further substantiated and made clear if we read the incident in Matthew 15:22-27 as follows:

“And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, ‘I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel’.

Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, ‘It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs’. And she said, ‘Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.'”

Although Jesus(P) did help the Canaanite woman in the end, it was because of his compassion for the woman’s plight. But note that it is only this single woman (a Gentile) who was helped. There is no other Gentile that Jesus(P) had preached to. Other related statements can also be found in John 11:52 and John 10:16.

Similarly in Matthew 10:5-6, Jesus gave explicit instructions to his disciples to whom they should preach his message, by commanding

“Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

In Matthew 21:11, the people of his time are recorded as referring to Jesus as a prophet in the country of Galilee

“And the crowds said, ‘This is the prophet Jesus of Nazareth of Galilee.'”

In Mark 6:4, it is stated that Jesus(P) referred to himself as a prophet to the Jews:

“And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honour, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.'” (also read Matthew 13:57, Luke 4:24 and John 4:43).

It is therefore clear that Jesus(P) himself rejects any notion of preaching to others besides the Jews he(P) was sent to.

Jesus'(P) closest disciples do not agree that it is correct to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. This is evident when we read in Acts 11:19 that

“Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.”

When the other disciples heard that Peter was preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles, they were upset with him.

“And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him. Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.” (Acts 11:1 – 3)

Thus, it is clear that Jesus(P) had plainly stated that he is not a Messenger for the Gentiles and that his message is not a final one for all of mankind. His disciples too heeded this original command of Jesus(P) and was upset when Peter did not. Anyone who says otherwise, i.e. that Jesus(P) was sent to the whole world, clearly neither understands Jesus'(P) mission nor the Scriptures.

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