The Apostle Paul tells us,
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel,
for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone
who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek”
This verse, Romans 1:16, reminds us that the Jewish people have a distinct calling and a purpose.
What Does ‘To the Jew First’ Mean?
So, what is that calling and purpose?
What does to the Jew first actually mean?
Firstly, consider God’s eternal plans and purposes. Remember that God chose Israel to receive His law first and His Son came to the Jewish people first.
The Creator planned for the Gospel to come out of Jerusalem.
Isaiah 49:6 speaks of the Jewish people being made a light unto the nations,
so that salvation reaches to the end of the earth.
Then, Isaiah 56:7 describes a future Jerusalem that will be a house of prayer for all nations. What can we take away from that?
We see that the plan of redemption is not limited to the Jewish people,
or to Israel.
Instead, it starts in Jerusalem and expands outwards—just as Jesus told the disciples before He ascended to heaven, as described in the
book of Acts.
The disciples were hungry to know whether Jesus returned
to restore the Davidic Kingdom. To which He replied:
“…It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
(Acts 1: 7-8)
We see here again that the Great Commission begins in Judea and Samaria, and then extends to every nation.
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”