Is Easter for You or Me?
As we approach Easter, I have been thinking about what God did for humanity through Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. We know that in the Old Testament times, God chose Abraham and, therefore, the children of Israel as his chosen people. Deuteronomy 14:2, "For you are a holy people to YHWH your God, and God has chosen you to be his treasured people from all the nations that are on the face of the earth."
God did not stop by sharing his love only with the Jews. He also extended it to the Gentiles. The gentiles are any people who are not Jewish. The word stems from the Hebrew term goy, which means a "nation," and was applied to the Hebrews and any other nation. The plural, goyim, "the nations," meant nations of the world that were not Hebrew.
God had a plan for reaching all humanity through Jesus Christ, and it began first with the Jews. Jesus did have a deep conviction of a special mission to the Jewish nation, who were God's treasured possession (Exodus 19:5). He expressed this so strongly that some have concluded that He envisioned no mission beyond Israel. But careful consideration of all His words and actions reveals that it was a question of strategy: As Paul later expressed it, His mission was "to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16; 2:10, KJV).
God's second strategy was to reach the Gentiles. Most of the public ministry of Jesus was conducted in Jewish territory. Under the circumstances, the number of personal contacts with Gentiles recorded in the Gospels is surprising. He healed a Gadarene (Gentile) demoniac (Matthew 8:28-34). Another time, among ten lepers healed, one was a Samaritan (a mixed-race, half-Jew), and Jesus remarked upon the fact that only the foreigner returned to thank Him (Luke 17:12-19).
As we think about this Easter season, God, in his love for humanity, sent Jesus to die for ALL mankind. Jews and Gentiles. That means you and me—no matter what ethnicity or nationality the "you" or "me"are. As we look across our school community, let's see the oneness that God sees and not the diversity that man sees.