"Did Jesus Come to Save the World"
The question has to be asked, “Did Jesus come to save the world?” The answer is yes and no.
And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
He (Jesus), came unto his own (Jews), and his own received him not.
Even the gospel of John tells us that the Jews, Christ’s brethren, did not accept him. He was viewed as a trouble maker by the Pharisees. Yet scripture continues to proclaim that Christ had come to “save the world.”
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence.
And he said unto them (disciples), Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
This statement by Christ is the final conclusion to his coming. Yes Christ’s perspective was to save the whole world but his ministry at this time was to save the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Christ preached the coming Kingdom and he as the King. That he was the Jews Messiah, the Son of the Living God.
On the other hand the covenant agreement given to Abraham did include all nations of the world. The Old Testament talks about the Jewish people being a light unto the Gentiles. What is not included in scripture is the timing of this event or the messenger to whom this ministry would be given. As of this time the pagan Gentiles were not being given the opportunity for salvation based upon Christ’s ministry.
As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
This is an unusual statement since the apostles seem to have never left the area around Jerusalem. By virtue of scripture it can be said that they never left Jerusalem. At this time in history the Roman Empire was considered the whole civilized world especially through military and economic might. Some might say that the apostle Paul although not one of the original 12 was the one that brought the gospel of the Kingdom unto the whole world but this is not the case. The 12 preached the coming Kingdom and Christ as their Messiah. Paul preached the Body of Christ and his ministry was to the Gentiles in an age of grace. He was the apostle to the gentiles.
For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
Biblical scholars have long been troubled by the lengthy time after the Resurrection which some of the Apostles spent in Jerusalem. It was as if some of them clung to the Temple and Judaism for perhaps a quarter of a century, despite the clear commandment of Jesus to disciple all nations. Even when the Apostles occasionally were able, or forced, to lead a Gentile to Christ, they themselves soon returned to Jerusalem. Even when the Jewish believers were scattered abroad by persecution and scattered everywhere, Luke notes that the Apostles were expected to remain in Jerusalem, which they did.
You probably have been told that Jesus chose the twelve disciples, ordained them apostles, sent them, to preach to the Jews. When the Jews, as a nation, rejected that message, you probably have supposed that they turned to the Gentiles. Nothing could be further from the truth. It was the apostle Paul, called years later as a special chosen apostle, who was commissioned to bear the gospel to the Gentiles. To Ananias, who was sent to baptize Paul, Christ gave this assurance.
But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
From henceforth I (Paul), will go unto the Gentiles.
Jesus would not have called Paul as a special apostle to carry the gospel to the Gentiles, if the original twelve had been commissioned to preach to the Gentiles. Then to whom and where were the twelve apostles sent?
Christ did send Peter to the home of Cornelius (Acts 10 and 11) to open the gospel to the Gentiles, but Peter’s life mission was to carry the gospel to “the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” Peter merely opened the door, as the chief apostle. It was Paul who went through the door and brought the gospel to the Gentile nations.
And when they (Jews), opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he (Paul) shook his raiment, and said unto them, your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.
But when he (Jesus) saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted (helpless), and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.
And other sheep I (Jesus) have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
Jesus is telling us that there are other sheep (Jewish people). These sheep are not of the House of Judah. There are many who were scattered because of the Babylonian captivity of 606 B.C. Many were outside of the Jewish realm of influence. They Journeyed to Jerusalem only during the festivals. Jerusalem was the capital city of the House of Judah and were called Jews. The House of Israel’s capital (the lost ten tribes) was in Samaria. Jesus stated the following.
But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
In these verses we find that Jesus is emphasizing (commanding) that Peter and the 11 were to feed his sheep, the House of Israel.
But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
The Samaritans were a racially mixed society with Jewish and pagan ancestry. The city is situated 30 miles north of Jerusalem.
But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he (Paul) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
. . . God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.
Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.
Yet I (Paul) have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me,
. . . to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles).
The answer to the question is, yes Christ did come to save the world. But he personally did not accomplish this task. He had come but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Christ brought the message, while others sowed upon the foundation that he laid. Then Christ provided for the increase of believers.
Your questions and comments are always appreciated.
2015 – 2016