[ NOTE: Disciples of Jesus have only one teacher, Jesus the Christ. Matthew 23.8,10, NKJV “Do not be called teachers, for one is your teacher, the Christ…for one is your teacher, the Christ”. However we are also commanded to discuss the word of God. This is a discussion. These are my own thoughts. Anything I conclude, any connecting of verses to make a point, could be wrong. Truth comes from Jesus and YHWH only. ]
Matthew 10:2, 4 KJV Now the names of the twelve apostles are these…Simon the Canaanite“
This is a verse the Christian Church either dismisses or ignores. They dismiss it by saying, “Jesus is referring to the location to which Simon came from”. Since all of Judah and Israel and beyond were considered ‘Canaan’, then it would be absurd to think the narrator was referring to location. If it were about location, they would all be Canaanites.
The narrator of the Gospel was referring to his race or ancestry. Jesus chose a Canaanite to be a Disciple. He also chose a tax collector who was much despised by the people living in Israel because they were seen as working for the Roman empire by collecting taxes from the people who the Romans ruled over. Jesus also chose a Zealot, who possibly committed acts of violence on Roman troops. Zealots believed in the overthrow of the Roman empire by force. They often acted as assassins, attacking unsuspecting Roman troops. It’s interesting that two people, a tax collector and a zealot, who were complete opposites, were chosen by Jesus to be in a small group taking the Gospel of the Kingdom the world.
The idea that the nation of Israel, or Israelites, were a group of one people in terms of genetics, is absurd. The “Chosen people”, are not a people of race, but a people in covenant with YHWH. Read Who is Israel? for more understanding concerning who Israel is.
In the lineage of King David, and therefore Jesus as well, is Ruth a Moabitess [ Ruth 1:4-6 , 2:5-6 ]
Matthew 1:5-6 “And Salomon begat Boaz of Rachab; and Boaz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; And Jesse begat David the king…”
To those people who claimed to be special because they were descendants of Abraham, John the Baptist says this, Luke 3:8 NKJV – “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones”. Basically he is saying your ancestry means nothing.
In the following passage Jesus refers to the law when asked how to inherit eternal life. And the man asks, “And who is my neighbor?” The answer turned out to be, a Samaritan who “showed mercy” on the man. It’s interesting Jesus chose a Priest and a Levite as the two people who passed the man by. He had just referred to the law, and now he says in this example those who were trusted with running the Temple are those who broke the 2nd commandment to “to love…your neighbor as yourself”. These two people were the descendants of Abraham, but they broke a commandment that Jesus said must be kept in order to inherit eternal life.
Luke 10:25-37 NKJV – 25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” 27 So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.‘ ” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” 29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 “Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 “Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 “So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 “On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 “So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” 37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
The will of God is to show mercy and have compassion for people, it is those who do that who will be shown mercy and compassion from YHWH God:
Matthew 5:7 – Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.
In a striking statement Jesus makes it clear that blood relatives are not automatically his family. It is those who DO the will of God.
Mark 3:31-35 NKJV – 31 Then His brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. 32 And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You.” 33 But He answered them, saying, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?” 34 And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 35 “For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.“
The message of Jesus in the three Gospels includes the repeated teaching that people who do and act are going to heaven, receive mercy, and are called the children of God. It’s repeated over and over again. The concept that begins in the book of John that by believing only you are saved and a child of God, is not in true scripture. There are so many people who have a modern day “belief” in God, who do not do good works, or practice the law. And they go so far to say if a person does good works and keeps the law in order to go to heaven, this person won’t. To them people are saved by grace alone though faith, and a person isn’t in grace if they are doing good works to inherit eternal life. Three times in the three gospels do we see a person ask how one “inherits eternal life”, and each time Jesus refers to the law, “keep the commandments”. In Matthew 25 those who did good works will go to heaven, those who don’t won’t. Twice Jesus says those who are cast away are cast away for not practicing the law, “depart from me you who practice lawlessness”. [Matthew 7.23 , 13.41]
The covenant of God, and the blessing of God, do not come by ancestry, but to those who DO THE WILL OF GOD.
Luke 4:27- 28 KJV – “And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus [Elias] the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath…”
Jesus decimates any comfort one may have in their ancestry. It is one of the most repeated teachings in the three Gospels, and also the whole of the scriptures. In the Torah the descendants of Abraham very often had their souls “cut off” from the covenant of Israel. [See link above “Who is Israel”.]
In this final example Jesus shows that a Roman will sit down with Abraham in the Kingdom of heaven, but the “Sons of the Kingdom”, will be cast out. “Sons of the kingdom” likely refers to the descendants of Abraham. What did the Roman soldier do? He has compassion and mercy on someone, he recognized Jesus had the authority to heal, and he came and asked him calling him “Lord”. Three things Jesus had promised in his Gospel message, three things that are part of the ‘good news’, that the merciful will be shown mercy, that if we ask we shall receive, and that Jesus has been given authority from God. This by the way IS THE GOSPEL.
Matthew 8:5-13 NKJV – 5 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, 6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” 7 And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. 9 “For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 11 “And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 “But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.
And this brings me to a possible conclusion of enormous magnitude. Whereas Christians have often thought those who do not have the same faith as theirs are all going to hell, it seems possible, maybe probable, that all the people worldwide for all ages who kept the commandments and did the will of God, that these people are the ones who will enter into the kingdom. And this would make sense. For the religion we have, we usually inherit, either from our parents or our community. Someone who is born in Iran will have a far less likely chance than a person born in Arkansas of having the current mainstream understanding of Grace which people teach is needed to inherit eternal life. But this person, like many people who are not Christians, may spend his life loving God and loving his neighbor as his self. Or the child raped in a Catholic Church who grows up and wants nothing to do with the Church, this person may still love God and His neighbor and do good. To many, the priest who did the raping will be saved by faith through having the correct faith, while the victim will go to hell for not wanting anything to do with the church, even if he does good and practices the commandments.
The Disciple of Jesus does everything Jesus says to do. Good works, practicing the law, getting baptized, sharing the message of the kingdom, and all of this is The Faith. “When the Son of Man returns will he find The Faith on Earth?”-Jesus As it is now, this understanding is rare, this faith is rare.