Let’s have a little fun today! What do Abraham, Gentiles and the Gospel have in common? (Warning: we’re going to get a little crazy before we get to the serious part, so stick with me!)
First, let’s consider a bit about what we know of each:
- Abraham, a Gentile, was called by God to be the father of the Jews…who would then produce a Jewish Messiah that Gentiles would discover as Savior.
- Gentiles are the recipients of the greatest gift ever: a Jewish Messiah, through the line of Abraham, a Gentile-turned-father of the Jews.
- The Gospel…the “good news” of salvation through the Jewish Messiah…is a Christian concept that we hope the Jews adopt as their own! Or is it….?
You see, things are a little complicated when we consider how God chose to birth a people and a nation He would call His own. Keep in mind that, when God called Abraham, there were no Jews! But always the Creator, God undertook yet another creative act when He literally birthed the Jewish people through a Gentile named Abram (later, Abraham).
Nehemiah 9:7 (and other places) tells us that God brought Abram out of Ur of the Chaldeans (modern-day Iraq). Abram’s family worshipped an assortment of gods (sun, moon, stars) just as almost all pagan families of that region did. In fact, it is believed his family manufactured idols. Yet God called this man to leave his country and most of his family to go to a land He would show him. (Genesis 12:1) And he did it!
As a result, God made a covenant with Abraham, the sign of which was circumcision, and that once-pagan, Gentile idol-worshipper became the father of the Jews! God can use anyone willing to obey and submit to Him!
Through that covenant, God promised to bless those who bless Abraham and his descendents, and that through them all the families of the earth would be blessed. What is that blessing? Redemption…the salvation that comes only through Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah!
So, just when was the Gospel (the “good news” of salvation) first proclaimed? By John the Baptist as he heralded Jesus’ coming? In the first century when Jesus died and rose again? When the disciples went forth preaching the Gospel throughout the region?
Well, things are rather interesting when we understand just how the Gospel came about! As Christians, we must first understand that the Gospel is not a “Christian concept” that the Jews will one day accept. The Gospel is a Jewish concept that goes all the way back to Abraham! Want proof? Read carefully…
Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
Whoa! I’ve heard entire teaching series done on those 3 verses, but let’s break it down to simple points:
- Key point: the Gospel was preached beforehand to Abraham! It’s not a Christian concept, nor is it even a New Testament concept. God threw open a curtain to show Abraham specifically what his purpose would be.
- The purpose, given to Abraham and his descendents, is to bless all the nations with redemption. The Jews are the vehicle of world redemption, thus Abraham had to know the Gospel!
- Those of faith…whether Jew or Gentile…are sons of Abraham! That Gospel reaches back in history to guide us all to salvation!
Do you see it, my friends? Only through a divine plan could a Gentile become father of the Jews, in order to bring redemption through a Jewish Messiah that Gentiles would be invited to enjoy! What a glorious God! Rejoice!