therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the gentiles; they will listen.” [acts 28:28]


to live in the ancient near-east was to believe that the main thing that identified your ethnicity was what god you believed in.


if you were a canaanite, you worshipped baal.

if you were a moabite, you worshipped chemosh.

if you were a philistine, you worshipped dagon.

if you were a babylonian you worshipped marduk.

if you were an egyptian, you worshipped a host of gods, re, osiris, horus among them.

if you were a roman, you worshipped caesar, the representative of god on earth, along with the gods jupiter, mars, etc., and the panoply of other god (e.g. diana/artemis of the ephesians)


if you were jewish, you worshipped the mighty God YHWH of the bible. to be told that God’s choosing salvation had been extended to the  gentiles, that they were also God’s people would have been shocking, which is why many rejected the notion and disbelieved.


but this should not be new–the jewish people were long ago informed that God was a God to all peoples:


to abraham, God said:


i will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” [genesis 12:3]


in psalms:


all the ends of the earth shall remember

    and turn to the Lord,

and all the families of the nations

    shall worship before you. [psalm 22:27]


in isaiah:


he says:

“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant

    to raise up the tribes of Jacob

    and to bring back the preserved of Israel;

i will make you as a light for the nations,

    that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” [isaiah 49:6]


in zechariah:


and many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people. and I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. [zechariah 2:11]


there are many such  references to this in the old testament, and the jews should not have been surprised by paul’s statements.


what about you and me? do we also believe that God cannot and will not save certain people?


i know that i place limits on God–i sometimes believe that that there are those beyond God’s hand, and cannot be saved–and yet, despite my unbelief God works in ways that exceed any expectation that i could every have. in his presence today, let us ask for our unbelief to be shattered, let us ask for salvation, specifically, by name, for individuals and people groups that we believe will never turn to Christ–he is still a saving God!