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.
– 2 Corinthians 5:16 (Paul writing)
Yesterday, we read about how Jesus ascended into heaven after giving final instructions to His closest followers that they were to be His witnesses…beginning from Jerusalem and continuing to “the remotest part of the earth.”
Jerusalem was the proper place to begin giving their testimony because the messianic enterprise was a Jewish thing through and through. Jesus was a Jew. His apostles were Jews. The first followers were Jews. The Bible is a Jewish book from Genesis all the way through to Revelation. Someone will say, “But not all Jews believed Jesus and His apostles.” True, but neither did all Jews believe Isaiah or Jeremiah or the other prophets. Even today, there are some Jews who do not accept the Old Testament. None of this makes the Bible any less Jewish.
Therefore, Jerusalem was definitely the place where the proclamation of Messiah’s resurrection should begin…but there was no way it could end there. This is because the good news of Messiah was never intended to be for Jews only. It was intended from the beginning to include the Gentiles. It’s just that there was to be an order to things. The gospel was first to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles. The Gentiles were to learn about Messiah from the Jews – not the other way around.
This is why Paul was called to be an apostle later than the original twelve. Paul himself was a Jew, but he was called to preach the gospel of Messiah to Gentiles.
God chose the Jews not to exclude the world, but to save it – just as He chose Joseph not to exclude his brothers but to save them.
In the process of making known that the Jewish Messiah was to be king not just of Israel but of all the nations, another revelation was unfolding: that Jesus was a human being but also more than a human being.
In the beginning of the New Testament, it’s easy to distinguish Jesus from God. But as you move from one book to the next, it becomes harder and harder to distinguish the two.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord Jesus, let me embrace Your divinity as I embrace Your humanity..(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)