Rom 15:8-10 “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.”
Paul often seems at odds with his Jewish brethren. He bukes the believers for their tendency to be so easily drawn back into the law service after having tasted of the grace of God found in Jesus Christ. They are often referred to as those whose faith is weak concerning the eating of meat. Yet, he is diligent to warn against treating them as less than brethren.
Here he clearly states the reason for his admonishment to those who are fully devoted to following after Jesus. Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision. In all His ministry here in the flesh, He taught the Jews and preached in the synagogues. In every way, He observed and kept the laws that His Father had given to the Jews, starting with the fleshly token of circumcision as it was given unto Abraham.
Jesus told His disciples to only go the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Mat 10:6) while He was here as a minister of the circumcision. They were forbidden to preach to the Gentiles or to go to the cities of Samaria. With the fulfilling of every prophecy, He confirmed the promises God had made to the patriarchs of old. Every miracle was an affirmation of the truth of God that Jesus was Messiah.
Yet, all through the history of the Jewish people, there was foreshadowing of the inclusion of the Gentiles in the kingdom of God. The Gentiles understood that they had no place at the table under the law service. Jesus was so devoted to the ministry of the circumcision that He once said to a Gentile woman that it “is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs (Mat 15:26-28).” Still, her faith was such that she answered that the dogs still ate of the crumbs that fell from their master’s table.
Even as Jesus was doing everything to confirm the promises made to the Jews, there were among the Gentiles those that recognized Him as the Master of their hope. Even though Christ had not gone into their coasts, the Gentiles glorified God for His mercy. The coming of Christ to them was evidence to them that God was indeed merciful. They had no other claim on Him besides God’s mercy.
We can sometimes forget that our only claim on Jesus rests in that same mercy today. If we have been blessed to believe and follow after Him for many years, we sometimes become callused to the fact that we do not deserve Him. We may even begin to believe that our obedience is enough to make us worthy of Christ. We need to be reminded from time to time that if we did everything perfectly (which we do not), we are still not worthy of Him in our own strength (Luke 17:10).
Jesus Christ is the Father’s faithful minister to His children. This is true for both the Jew and the Gentile. He has removed the wall of separation and has called us together into His service. He is our example of how we should minister to one another. In His service, we see that He is still the minister for the truth of God and the reason we can glorify God for His mercy.
May we always rejoice, confess, and sing unto His holy name!