The Ministry of Jesus Christ To Jews & Gentiles–1
Three Different Ministries
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Text: Romans 15:8-13
The theme of chapter 15 is ministry! In fact, Paul uses three different Greek words to get across his point.
In verse 8 it says, "Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision…" The word he uses here is diakonov diakonos (dee-ak'-on-os; 1249). It is the simple word for a servant, one who runs errands; one who waits on tables; one who carries out the commands of another. The word deacon is derived from this word. Christ was following God’s command, coming to Israel.
In verse 16 it says, "I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles." This is the word leitourgov leitourgos (li-toorg-os'; 3011). This is an ordinary word used of a public servant or a servant of the king. Paul was the servant of the King of kings among the Gentiles.
Also in verse 16 it says, "ministering the gospel of God." This is the word ierourgew hierourgeo (hee-er-oorg-eh'-o; 2418). This is a unique word, only found here. It means to perform a sacred rite or service. That sacred service was preaching the Gospel.
Now that we have seen the three different word translated ministry in chapter 15, let’s look at the three ministries in focus in the chapter.
The Ministry of Jesus Christ To Jews & Gentiles (8-13)
The Ministry of Paul To The Gentiles (14-22)
The Ministry of The Gentile Church To The Jews (23-33)
The focus of out message today is…
The Ministry of Jesus Christ To Jews & Gentiles (8-13)
"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:" Romans 15:8
Verse 8 clearly tells us that Christ’s first priority was to bring "the truth of God" to the Jews! He came for the purpose of confirming and fulfilling the Old Testament covenants and promises. Christ was very literally the minister (one who carries out the commands of another) of God and His covenants and promises. When you review the Gospels, it is clear that Paul’s statement in verse 8 agrees with what our Lord said. Consider the following two verses… Matthew 15:24 "But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." When he sent out the 12 on their first evangelist mission He told them, "But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Matthew 10:6
Why? Had the leaders of Israel received Christ as their Messiah, His kingdom would have been set up and the blessings of God would have flowed to the Gentiles thought converted Israel. However, that was NOT the case.
In fact, Israel rejected her Messiah-King three times!
The first rejection came when they allowed the murder of the Messianic messenger John The Baptist. The Jewish religious leaders lodged no protest when John Baptist was jailed for doing what they should have done. John had told Herodius that it was illegal for her to have left Herod’s brother Philip and married Herod (Mark 6:17-28). There should have been loud protests from the religious leaders that John was unjustly imprisoned. But that’s not all. Neither did they protest when John was murdered at the behest of Herod’s stepdaughter, who had pleased his guests by performing what was no doubt a sensuous dance for them.
Why was there no public outcry? This man had been preaching repentance, telling Jews that they need to get their lives right with God because their Messiah would soon arrive.
The second rejection was of Christ himself. They murdered Him when they had the chance. In fact, the Jewish religious leaders were envious of Christ. He was a threat to their "religious machine." When they had the chance, they called for His murder (Matthew 27:16-26).
The third and final rejection came with the murder of Stephen. Acts 7:51-60 gives us the details.
"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." Romans 15:9
With the three-fold rejection of Jesus Christ, there is a change in priorities. The message of the Good News of Salvation was taken to the Gentiles. This was by the instructions of the resurrected Lord. We read, "But the Lord said unto him (Paul), Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:" Acts 9:15
Note the progression in verses 9-11. First, the Gospel is "confessed" or proclaimed to the Gentiles the Jewish believers in verse 9. Second, Gentile believers rejoice with Jewish believers over the life-giving Gospel message in verse 10. In verse 11, all non-Jewish people praise God for the Gospel. And why shouldn’t they. Previously they had been hopeless lost. Ephesians 2:12 says, "That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:" All that changed with the emphasis of getting the Gospel to non-Jewish people.
The last two verses of this section are so appropriate -- "And again, Esaias saith (Isa. 11:10), There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. 13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost." Romans 15:12-13
Allow me to ask you a question. Where do you find yourself today? Are you filled "with joy and peace in believing?" Or are you filled with unrest and anticipation? If you are without Christ you can expect unrest and anticipation. Why? It is because you are without hope. But in Christ, you "abound in hope."
I comment to you Jesus Christ. He came to save Jews and non-Jews alike.
"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came
into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."
1 Timothy 1:15