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Multi ethnic

Is Jesus only for people from a certain race?

A lot of pictures of Jesus make Jesus look like a white European. But He wasn’t white. And He wasn’t European. Jesus never even went to Europe. Or America. Jesus was born in Israel, in the Middle East. That means He probably had light brown or olive skin, similar to Arabs or Asians today. He was a Jew. Before Jesus came to earth, all believers in God needed to be Jews. Either born as a Jew or convert to Judaism, meaning changing both their religion and their culture to become a Jew.

Jesus came to save everyone

Some of Jesus’ disciples thought that Jesus had only come to save Jews. And other people knew that the Jews didn’t like other peoples. But Jesus came to save everyone. When Jesus started talking about spiritual matters with a Samaritan woman, she became confused:

“The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him. And He would have given you living water.” (John 4:9-10)

This Samaritan woman thought that Jesus would reject her because He is a Jew. But Jesus wanted to share the good news of God with her. Starting with Jesus, the good news of God would not be restricted to one nation or one people anymore. Listen to what Jesus says to the Samaritan woman:

“Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know. We worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. For the Father is seeking such people to worship Him.”” (John 4:21-23)

Gentiles do not require to hold to Jewis laws and culture

Later on after Jesus ascended to heaven, some Gentiles (non-Jews) believed the Gospel and received the Holy Spirit. Showing that God had accepted them (Acts 10). But some Jews disagreed with this, and said that the Gentiles had to become Jews in order to be saved (Acts 15:5). The leaders of the early church gathered to consider this objection, but they concluded that if God accepts non-Jewish believers by giving them His Holy Spirit. Then they should not require them to hold to Jewish laws and culture either:

“And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them: “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you. That by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as He did to us. And He made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”” (Acts 15:7-11)

United in Christ

Later on, the Apostle Paul testifies to the fact that the division between Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews) no longer exists. Because believers in Christ from all races and ethnicities are united in Christ:

“Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called ‘the uncircumcision’ by what is called the circumcision. Which is made in the flesh by hands — remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise. Having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances. That He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two. Making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” (Ephesians 2:11-18)

Every nation will worship the Lord

And in the final book of the Bible we see that people from all over the world will be worshipping God in heaven:

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number. From every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice. “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”” (Revelation 7:9-10)

God calls us to repent

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is truly for all people and all races. God calls all people everywhere to repent and trust in Him, as famously said by the Apostle Paul in Athens:

“And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward Him and find Him. Yet He is actually not far from each one of us… The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom He has appointed; and of this He has given assurance to all by raising Him [Christ] from the dead.”” (Acts 17:26-27, 30-31).

Also read: Who was the first black man in the Bible?

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Esther Visser

Esther Visser

Esther Visser (1972) was raised in Waddinxveen. She did a 2-year masters degree at Tyndale Theological Seminary in Badhoevedorp, to prepare for the mission field. In 2000 her husband and she were sent to Thailand as church planters, in cooperation with OMF and GZB. They lived and worked there for 15 years, together with their two children. At this time Esther is editor-in-chief for De Waarheidsvriend, the house magazine of the Gereformeerde Bond. She is also active in church life, as a youth worker, and as an artist.

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