It is not uncommon to hear someone refer to Jesus as the Jewish Messiah or to hear someone say, “the Jews rejected their Messiah.”
Jesus certainly is the Messiah of the Jewish people and he came to redeem the people of Israel. Yet the promise of the Messiah wasn’t a promise to redeem the people of Israel only. The promised Messiah who was to bring deliverance to the people of Israel, would bring salvation to the Gentiles well.
A distinctive characteristic of the Messianic promises is that the Messiah would bring the knowledge of salvation to all nations. One such prophecy, quoted from Isaiah by Matthew, says the following:
Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and a smoking flax shall he not quench, till he sends forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust. (Matthew 12:18-21)
In another place, the prophet Isaiah prophesied the following:
You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth. (Isaiah 49:6 TNLT)
In Romans 15 the apostle Paul, quoting the Old Testament, says the following:
Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. (Romans 15:8-12)
The Gentiles becoming the people of God through the Messiah was not an afterthought, but the fulfillment of the promises of God instead.
Paul says in Romans 15 (mentioned above) “Rejoice, ye Gentiles, WITH HIS PEOPLE.” His people is a reference to those who among the Jews receive Christ and trust in him as their Savior.
Throughout the New Testament the predominate thoughts concerning the recognition of Jesus as the Christ (the Messiah) is He is (1) the Son of God (2) the Son of David (3) the king of Israel (4) the Savior of the world.
All of these truths work together in sync as the family of God is gathered together in Christ Jesus. In Christ, the separating wall which divided the Jewish people from the nations has been removed, for the Messiah is not only Israel’s deliverer but the Savior of the whole world, and now -through the Messiah – both Jews and Gentiles are united into one family and there is no longer any distinction between the two in the eyes of God.
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all ONE in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye ABRAHAM’S SEED, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:26-29)
Gentiles who have faith in Jesus are one with the Jews who believe in Jesus and together they are the seed of Abraham according to the promise.
For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. (Romans 10:12)
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13)
In closing, Notice the words of Paul from Ephesians 2:10 – 3:6:
Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. In those days, you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ. For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death. He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us. So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him, you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit. When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles…assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending his grace to you Gentiles. As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me. As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ. God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets. And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus.