now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout judea heard that the gentiles also had received the word of God. [acts 11:1]
a savior for all humanity
for centuries, the jews had been God’s chosen people: they were the nation through which God chose to interact with humanity. they were the people of abraham, isaac, and jacob. they followed the teachings of moses and the prophets, and they built their national identity on that special relationship with God.
the early church itself was extraordinarily jewish in nature – the apostles were jews, the believers at pentecost were jews, and Jesus himself lived his life as an observant jew – a promised messiah for the promised people in the promised land.
yet Jesus had instructed his followers to preach the good news to the ends of the earth (matthew 24:14, acts 1:8). did the early church truly anticipate that they would be joined with gentiles? after all, how could a gentile accept a jewish messiah sent to jews?
it would have been difficult for them to believe, but this is exactly what they had now seen and heard. even among people who had been spiritually and culturally separated for thousands of years, Christ had brought unbreakable unity.
the gospel is for everyone everywhere. even a roman centurion and his entire household could be saved and transformed by the grace of God through Jesus Christ.
the believers in judea now understood that it was not their jewishness that saved them. nor was it judaism + Jesus.
Jesus alone is sufficient to bring saving grace to the whole world, and everyone who hears and accepts the good news of forgiveness shall be saved.
~ jason soroski