The Great Sayings in the Gospels
Jews, Gentiles, and the Kingdom of God
5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,
6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.
7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.
8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.
9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. KJV
Last week we discussed the “great faith” of the Centurion at Capernaum. He had such confidence in the Lord Jesus that he believed Him to have power and authority over all things, even diseases and to be capable of healing a man He did not know at a distance, never becoming acquainted with his particular situation. In other words, he believed that Jesus is God and rested confidently in that belief. He had saving faith.
In the process of commenting on the man’s faith, Jesus raised an enormous issue and then passed quickly beyond it. Today, I would like to stop for a while and look closely at what Jesus said and what the implications are of that issue.
As you should know, from the time of Abraham until the time of Christ, the Jews were the favorite nation on the planet to God. God made incredible promises to Abraham, to his son Isaac, and to his son, Jacob. They were promised all the land that Abraham traveled as their permanent inheritance on this planet. They were promised the blessings of God upon themselves and upon their ‘seed.’ God took care of them, watched over them, delivered them from desperate situations and ultimately delivered them from captivity in Egypt.
He led them across the wilderness and kept them for 40 years even as He disciplined the unfaithful ones among them. Then, He led them into the Land of Promise and defeated their enemies before them so long as they looked to Him in faith. He gave them judges, kings and prophets to lead them and, again, kept them safe so long as they were obedient. He judged them with captivity and then brought them back so that the Messiah might be born among them.
Then God revealed His Son to them with mighty signs and miracles, with words of truth and with His Own testimony among them. No people were ever so blessed nor ever had so much of the revelation of God poured out upon them. It is no wonder that they were called “the children of the Kingdom.”
Yet, Jesus said here, very early on in His ministry, “the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness…”
This casting away of the physical descendants of Abraham is no new revelation to those who paid attention to the scriptures.
Moses told them that this would be the result of rejecting the revelations of God and disobedience to His Voice.
15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
16 Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field.
17 Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store.
18 Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
19 Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
20 The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.
21 The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it.
22 The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.
23 And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron.
24 The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.
25 The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. KJV
9 I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.
10 I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.
11 I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.
12 Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel. KJV
And, Jesus Himself will say later, near the end of His ministry concerning the temple and the city of Jerusalem:
1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. KJV
20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. KJV
Jesus knew from the beginning that He was going to be rejected by the majority of the Jews and that the largest part of His Kingdom would be made up of Gentiles. The Jews had rejected God’s Word over and over throughout their history. They had persecuted and murdered the prophets. And, they were going to reject and murder Him.
He even told some parables to that effect.
33 Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:
34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.
37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. KJV
This was a theme both of the prophets and of Christ. The Jews would reject their Messiah and the gospel would be proclaimed to the Gentiles and, from among the Gentiles, a vast throng would be brought into the Kingdom of God.
As we pointed out in the last message, the Centurion and most all of the Gentiles were willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ with far less evidence than was given to the Jews. (And they rejected their revelation.)
Consider that this man had never seen Jesus nor known Him. He had never heard Him teach nor seen Him do a miracle. The only possible evidence he could have had was the Old Testament scriptures and the reports that he had heard. Yet he believed with a faith that was worthy of special attention by Jesus Christ.
Consider that as the apostle Paul carried the gospel message to pagan cities who knew little to nothing of the Jewish beliefs, they believed powerfully in the message, to the degree that Paul was known as the man who “turned the world upside down.”
Do you remember the powerful work done at Ephesus?
8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.
9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.
10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. KJV
Because it was God’s purpose to call multitudes to Himself from among the Gentiles, the Holy Spirit powerfully attended the preaching of the gospel among them and brought thousands of them to Christ in repentance and faith.
This did not stop with the death of the apostles but the gospel message continued to march onward through the Gentile peoples until every major people group was reached with the gospel. The Christian Church is almost exclusively a Gentile operation. Relatively few who identify themselves as Jews also call themselves Christian.
Even now, the gospel continues to press into smaller and smaller racial and language groupings of Gentiles. It has almost reached the entire world and yet those who call themselves Jews continue to reject the message of Christ.
Some believe that there is a great revival among the Jewish people out in the future but, personally, I doubt that this will ever occur. It looks to me from scripture like they have been totally and permanently cast away by God except, as Paul remarked, “a remnant of grace,” a very few to whom the gospel is revealed.
Now, one might say, what does all of this mean to me?
Think about it. You are a Gentile! You are exactly the kind of person to whom God determined to send the gospel and to send it attended by His Holy Spirit.
There is no person in the world who has an advantage over you because of their race. As God foreknew the rejection of Christ by the Jews, He planned from all eternity past to save people like you. Just as the Jews were His Chosen People during the times of the Old Testament, so, now, you who are willing to trust Him, believe on Him, repent of your sins and obey the scriptures, You are the Chosen People of God.
Consider this passage from John’s vision of heaven and the throne of God.
9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. KJV
First of all, this means that there is no one here who is excluded from the call of God to salvation.
Neither because of your race nor because of your sins are you disqualified from hearing and believing the gospel message. Your sins may be horrible (and they are). You may have lived a long time in rebellion against God. You may have rejected the call of the gospel many times. Yet, you are still of the sort of person that Jesus Christ came to save. Remember what He said?
13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. KJV
Matthew, Mark, and Luke all made sure that this statement was preserved for you. Jesus came to save sinners, Gentile sinners, sinners of every stripe, color, and brand.
1 Cor 6:9‑11
9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. KJV
You have not sinned too greatly, nor are you the wrong kind of person to be saved. God’s call is still going out that “all men everywhere” are to repent of their sins and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
And that means you, whoever you are.
The second thing this means is that there is no place on the planet, no tribal group or nation, to whom a missionary should not go and nowhere we should not help them go.
Whether it be into the midst of a crowded and overpopulated country given over to superstition like China or India, a sophisticated and urban nation like Germany or France, a thoroughly deceived and religious people like the Muslims, or a tribal and animistic population like Africa or New Guinea, there is no place off-limits to the gospel.
God is still calling men and women to go to unreached peoples and He is still moving on the hearts of all kinds of folks to come to the Savior. Those who are called go and those who are not called to go are called to help them go, to support them spiritually and financially, to send them money and lift them up mightily in prayer.
This is what Jesus meant when He said, “many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness…”
So, will you come to Christ today?
Will you take up your cross and follow Him?
Will you take Him at His word that “now is the day of salvation?”
Will you take up your responsibility and your place in publishing the gospel message to others?