“HE WAS IN THE WORLD, AND THE WORLD WAS MADE BY HIM, AND THE WORLD KNEW HIM NOT. HE CAME UNTO HIS OWN, AND HIS OWN RECEIVED HIM NOT. BUT AS MANY AS RECEIVED HIM, TO THEM GAVE HE POWER TO BECOME THE SONS OF GOD, EVEN TO THEM THAT BELIEVE ON HIS NAME.” John 1:10 to 12.
Here we have the statement that Christ’s own received Him not. His own refers to the Jews. But note these statements:
John 2:23; Many believed in His name.
John 4:39 to 41; Many more believed on Him.
John 7:31; Many of the people believed on Him.
John 8:30; Many believed.
John 10:42; Many believed on Him.
John 11:45; Many of the Jews believed on Him.
After reading these statements then read John 12:37 to 40:
“ But though He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.”
Thus we have the statements that “many believed on Him” and “His own received Him not”. Note the question of the Pharisees: “Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on Him?” John 7:48
Most of the rulers of Israel neither believed nor received Christ. We see then that the Lord Jesus, while on earth, was not only offering salvation to individual Jews, but was presenting Himself and His kingdom to the Nation Israel. “But His own received Him not.” They knew not the time of their visitation. Luke 19:44. They knew not the things that belonged to their peace. Luke 19:42.
Note Christ’s words concerning John the Baptist: “But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto Him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of Him.” Mark 9:13
“And if you will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.” Matthew 11:14. Then note Luke 13:34 and 35: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate; and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.”
In what sense was Israel’s house left desolate? On the day of Pentecost 3000 Israelites believed and were saved. Acts 2:41 to 43. Then note Acts 4:4—“Howbeit many of them which heard the Word believed; and the number of men was about five thousand.” These were all Israelites.
Then note Acts 5:14—“And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.” All Jews. “And the Word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” Acts 6:7. All Jews.
Then note Acts 11:19—“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.”
Many of Christ’s own did receive Him. What is meant then by the statement, “His own received Him not?”
Now search the Scriptures diligently from Matthew 1:1 to Peter’s statement in Acts 10:28, about seven years after the death of Jesus Christ, and count the Gentiles to whom Christ or His twelve apostles preached.
When the Twelve met one Gentile what did they say? “And His disciples came and besought Him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.” Matthew 15:23. Why did they do this? “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: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 10:5 and 6.
Why did one Gentile man receive a blessing from Jesus Christ on earth? “For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.” Luke 7:5. “And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto Him the elders of the Jews, beseeching Him that He would come and heal his servant.” Luke 7:3
“As many as received Christ.” Think of this in the light of Acts 10:28 and Romans 10:14
“Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”
“How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”
If it was not lawful for the Jewish disciples of Christ to go to the Gentiles, how could they hear and receive Christ? If the Gentiles did not hear the gospel they could not believe and receive Christ.
How do we reconcile Matthew 15:24 with John 3:16. “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
In the light of Matthew 15:24 and Acts 10:28 and Acts 11:19, we must conclude that there was no “whosoever” message for the Gentiles until the words of Peter, in Acts 10:34 and 43. “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respector of persons.” “To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.”
The proselytes, of Acts 2:10, were Gentiles by nature, but Jews by religion. The Grecians, of Acts 6 and 11, were Greek-speaking Jews. Philip did not preach to Gentiles, in the city of Samaria. Acts 11:19.
In the light of Acts 10:28 and 11:19 we may be sure that the Ethiopian was a proselyte. Acts 8:27.
Several years after Philip preached to the Ethiopian, the other apostles condemned Peter for preaching to the household of Cornelius. Acts 11:1 to 5.
Note what happened after Peter told them of Christ’s instructions to preach to Cornelius. “When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” Acts 11:18.
1—Go not into the way of the Gentiles. Matthew 10:5.
2—It is an unlawful thing for a Jew to go to a Gentile. Acts 10:28.
3—”And when James, Peter, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.” Galatians 2:9.
Here we learn concerning the twelve apostles; from first to last their ministry was to and for Israel.
WHILE JESUS CHRIST WAS ON EARTH
Now let us compare Matthew 15:24—26—27 with Romans 10:12 and 13.
“I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
“It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and cast it to dogs.”
“And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.”
“For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
There is a very great difference between a sheep and a dog. This was the difference between the Jews and the Gentiles, while Christ was on earth.
But twenty-five years later there was no difference. Something had happened.
Now let us compare the statement of Christ to the Jews, “your house is left unto you desolate”, with Paul’s statement to the Jews, in Acts 13:46: “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the Word of God should first have been spoken to you but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.”
Why was it necessary that the Word of Christ should be preached to Israel first, some years after Christ had said “your house is left unto you desolate”?
The answer is, Luke 23:34—Acts 3:1718 and 3:26,
“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
“And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled.”
“Unto you first God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”
Christ on the cross prayed for Israel. God gave Israel another chance. And for several years after the prayer of Christ, God’s order was “to the Jew but not to the Gentile.” And then for some years, God’s order was “to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.” Romans 1:16—Acts 13:46—Acts 18:6 and Acts 28:28.
Then what happened? Study, “as many as received Christ” and John 3:16, in the light of Romans 11:30 and Ephesians 3:1 and 2 and 3:6.
As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name. “
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
“For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief.”
This was written years after Christ died.
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward.”
“That the Gentiles should be jointheirs, and of the JOINT-BODY, and jointsharers of His promise in Christ by the gospel. “
Israel’s blindness, unbelief, and rejection brought mercy and salvation and reconciliation for and to the Gentiles. Romans 11:11 and 11:15.
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.