Jesus came for the Jews not the Gentiles?

I am having difficulty dialoguing with someone who claims that Christianity is based on Paul, not Jesus, and in this sense: He says that Jesus came to and preached to the Jews in a restricted sense while Paul opened up Christianity for the Gentiles later.

I mentioned the Great Commission, where Christ said to baptize “all nations,” which would imply not only Jews but the whole world. But this individual said that Matthew 28:19 is a forgery, as early texts don’t mention the Trinitarian formula here.

So my question is: What can I go to show that Christ came for Gentiles as well, and this was not just a later invention?

A secondary, helpful question is: Is Matthew 28:19 truly a forgery? I always see Catholic apologists cite this text as evidence for the Trinitarian baptismal formula as well as evidence for the Holy Trinity. It would be significant if this text was not in the original.

Well, you’re gonna have a problem with that, because that’s true. Mostly, anyway.

A Canaanite [gentile] woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. [Matt 15:22-28]

Jesus never went to Gentiles. A few came to him (the Roman centurion also comes to mind - Matt 8:8).

I am having difficulty dialoguing with someone who claims that Christianity is based on Paul, not Jesus, and in this sense: He says that Jesus came to and preached to the Jews in a restricted sense while Paul opened up Christianity for the Gentiles later.

The conclusion (that Christianity is based on Paul) is not supported by the condition (that Paul and the Apostles were the first to minister directly to gentiles).

The teaching of Paul was the same, regardless of whether he was teaching Jews or gentiles. The teaching came from Jesus. Paul was just the messenger.

If the Church had one gospel for Jews and another for gentiles then maybe the guy would be correct. But that’s not the way it is.

I pretty much agree with your friend, but I am looking at Scripture from an historical and critical perspective. When I want to read the Bible from a faith perspective, then I use a different lens. Everyone of us, individually and from within our faith traditions, interprets the Bible differently, using different schools of thought and in recent times, historical tools.

So yes, the Great Commission was most probably added on much later. And does that make a huge difference in my belief? Not so much.

I found an interesting paper that has a overview of what different scholars have taught about that verse in Matthew. Maybe it might shed some light for you.

I am sorry if you misunderstood me, but what I was getting is that the fellow was arguing that Christianity fumbled out of Paul and really has nothing to do with Jesus’ mission or real* life. Christ did not have any concern for Gentiles at all. Surely you would disagree with that. As Christians, we accept that Christ gathered Jewish Apostles and Jewish disciples and followed and fulfilled the law, but he established a new covenant for all, no longer dependent on Judaism. He came (partly) to redeem all of humanity.

I understand the primarily Jewish context of Christ’s life, but this individual is approaching that from a different angle.

The basic outlook of the guy I am talking to is that Christianity has twisted Jesus’ original intent.

Thank you for the article!

Clearly Jesus has concern for gentiles. He healed the woman’s daughter and the soldier’s servant.

But his “mission” was to fulfill the Jewish covenant, and the “mission” of the Jews was to bring this New Covenant to the Gentiles.

But this mission was not particularly clear, even to the Apostles:

Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. [Acts 11:19]

The universal nature of the new Church was made clear to Peter in a vision (Acts 10).

The basic outlook of the guy I am talking to is that Christianity has twisted Jesus’ original intent.

So does this guy think that the Faith should not have been preached to the gentiles? Does he think that Jesus intended for the New Covenant to apply only to Jews?

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. [1John 2:2]

And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.[John 10:16]

(the “fold” were the Jews. The other sheep are us gentiles.)

Umm… pardon?

Wanna explain His ministry in the Decapolis, then? :wink:

Jesus went to the Decapolis? And he ministered to gentiles there? This is news to me.

Perhaps this helps?

Acts Chapter 10
1 Now there was a certain man in Caesarea, named Cornelius, a centurion of the cohort which is called Italian, 2 a devout man, fearing God with all his house, giving many alms to the people, and praying to God continually. 3 This man saw in a vision clearly, at about the ninth hour of the day, the Angel of God entering to him and saying to him: “Cornelius!” 4 And he, gazing at him, was seized by fear, and he said, “What is it, lord?” And he said to him: “Your prayers and your almsgiving have ascended as a memorial in the sight of God. 5 And now, send men to Joppa and summon a certain Simon, who is surnamed Peter. 6 This man is a guest with a certain Simon, a tanner, whose house is beside the sea. He will tell you what you must do.” 7 And when the Angel who was speaking to him had departed, he called, out of those who were subject to him, two of his household servants and a soldier who feared the Lord. 19 Then, as Peter was thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men seek you. 20 And so, rise up, descend, and go with them, doubting nothing. For I have sent them.” 21 Then Peter, descending to the men, said: “Behold, I am the one whom you seek. What is the reason for which you have arrived?” 22 And they said: “Cornelius, a centurion, a just and God-fearing man, who has good testimony from the entire nation of the Jews, received a message from a holy Angel to summon you to his house and to listen to words from you.” And some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. 24 And on the next day, he entered Caesarea. And truly, Cornelius was waiting for them, having called together his family and closest friends. 34 Then, Peter, opening his mouth, said: “I have concluded in truth that God is not a respecter of persons. 35 But within every nation, whoever fears him and works justice is acceptable to him. 36 God sent the Word to the sons of Israel, announcing the peace through Jesus Christ, for he is the Lord of all. 37 You know that the Word has been made known throughout all Judea. For beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached, 38 Jesus of Nazareth, whom God anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power, traveled around doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil. For God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did in the region of Judea and in Jerusalem, he whom they killed by hanging him on a tree. 40 God raised him up on the third day and permitted him to be made manifest, 41 not to all the people, but to the witnesses preordained by God, to those of us who ate and drank with him after he rose again from the dead. 42 And he instructed us to preach to the people, and to testify that he is the One who was appointed by God to be the judge of the living and of the dead. 43 To him all the Prophets offer testimony that through his name all who believe in him receive the remission of sins.” 44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell over all of those who were listening to the Word. 45 And the faithful of the circumcision, who had arrived with Peter, were astonished that the grace of the Holy Spirit was also poured out upon the Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and magnifying God. 47 Then Peter responded, “How could anyone prohibit water, so that those who have received the Holy Spirit would not be baptized, just as we also have been?” 48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then they begged him to remain with them for some days.

And also here: Peter is speaking.

Acts Chapter 11:15
15 And when I had begun to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, just as upon us also, in the beginning. 16 Then I remembered the words of the Lord, just as he himself said: ‘John, indeed, baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 Therefore, if God gave them the same grace, as also to us, who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I, that I would be able to prohibit God?” 18 Having heard these things, they were silent. And they glorified God, saying: “So has God also given to the Gentiles repentance unto life.”

And finally I would point out that St. Peter went to Rome to preach in the lions den. The capital of the world then. He went there and placed the “Seat of Peter” in this city, where it remains to this day.

Jesus came to Jews because it was fitting. The Jews had been set apart by GOD to be His witness. However GOD never completely and utterly abandoned the rest of the human race. And we see His intervention albeit not as evident as with the Israel nation.

Jesus went to the Gentiles several times.

Jesus healed two demoniacs in the District of the Gadarenes (Matthew 8:28; Mark 5:1; Luke 8:26) where the herd of swine were driven into the sea. Mark 7 speaks of Jesus travels through the Decapolis. These were Gentile areas.

Consider the following passage.

Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Beth-sa’ida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew went with Philip and they told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. (John 12:20-23)

That his message had reached the gentiles prompted Jesus to proclaim that his earthly ministry was complete and all that remained was his glorification. Jesus did not enter into his glory until his message had reached the Greeks, symbolic of non-Jews, who now wished to “see” God in the person of Jesus.


Many thanks for the illuminating answer, Tim.:slight_smile:

They may have been gentile areas, but this was after the diaspora, in the age of Hellenistic Judaism. Most Jews spoke Greek and lived in gentile cities (and often adopted Greek customs). Only a minority of Jews lived in the Holy Land.

I don’t see any evidence that Jesus went to gentiles in those areas. Assuming that he ministered to the Jews of the dispersion is more consistent with his regular teaching style.

He did minister to “fringe” Jews. He ministered in Samara, whose people were of Jewish ancestry (so they were Jews) but were considered heretical. But they weren’t gentiles.

But I find no evidence that specifically says that Jesus ever went to gentiles. It was always gentiles coming to him.

That his message had reached the gentiles prompted Jesus to proclaim that his earthly ministry was complete and all that remained was his glorification. Jesus did not enter into his glory until his message had reached the Greeks, symbolic of non-Jews, who now wished to “see” God in the person of Jesus.

Again, gentiles came to him. But did Jesus grant these gentiles an audience and teach them? From what I can tell, he left them standing at the gate. They certainly did not say, “why, sure - right this way.” Their appearance indicated that it was now time for the Apostles to carry the New Covenant to the gentiles, because the gentiles were ready to receive it.

The person with whom the OP is dialoging is very ignorant of scripture.

Isaiah speaks of the savior as a “Light to the nations” extensively.

As for Paul, in every single instance, in every place he visited, he went to the Jews first.

When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedo’nia, Paul was occupied with preaching, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be upon your heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” (Acts 18:5-6)

Paul is called the Apostle to the Gentiles but in every single city he visited, only after the Jews rejected him did he preach to the Gentiles. Remember that Paul was a Pharisee. He made a bee-line to the synagogue in every place he went.


I was listening to Scott Hahn and was watching the Symbolon series and in both they mention the multiple Covenants of God with the Jews throughout the Old Testament.

In the Symbolon series (Knowing the Faith, Episode 4: The Story of Salvation)
For example, Dr. Ted Sri says after the fall we have the Broken Human Family which is slowly restored by God via Noah, Abraham, Moses, & David, then finally with Jesus Christ

Then, Dr. Mark Giszczak, Professor of Theology at the Augustine Institute (plus from Catholic Exchange, etc) says that after the fall, God slowly expands His plan of Salvation

  1. First via one chosen couple via Adam & Eve
  2. second, one chosen family via Noah and his family
  3. third one chosen tribe via Abraham and his tribe
  4. next, one chosen nation via Moses and the whole people of Israel
  5. then, one kingdom via David, his heirs and the Kingdom of Israel
  6. finally, one world (“all nations”) via Jesus Christ

Dr. Sri then goes on to say that if you look at God’s promises to Abraham, you have the following:

  1. God promises that Abraham’s people would become a great nation, which is fulfilled by Moses (“I will make nations of you,” Genesis 17:6).
  2. God promises that Abraham’s decedents would become a great kingdom, which is fulfilled by David (“and kings shall come forth from you,” Genesis 17:6).
  3. and finally, God promises that Abraham’s decedents would bring blessings on the whole world which is fulfilled by Jesus Christ (“and by your descendants shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves,” Genesis 22:18).

I pray this is helpful.

Jesus spoke often in parables, and many of these parables suggest that the gentiles hold a particular place in His mission.

Matthew 9:16-17
[16] And nobody putteth a piece of raw cloth unto an old garment. For it taketh away the fullness thereof from the garment, and there is made a greater rent. [17] Neither do they put new wine into old bottles. Otherwise the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish. But new wine they put into new bottles: and both are preserved.

Matthew 5:14-15
[14] You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid. [15] Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house.

John 10:1-16
[1] Amen, amen I say to you: He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber. [2] But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. [3] To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. [4] And when he hath let out his own sheep, he goeth before them: and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice. [5] But a stranger they follow not, but fly from him, because they know not the voice of strangers.

[6] This proverb Jesus spoke to them. But they understood not what he spoke to them. [7] Jesus therefore said to them again: Amen, amen I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. [8] All others, as many as have come, are thieves and robbers: and the sheep heard them not. [9] I am the door. By me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved: and he shall go in, and go out, and shall find pastures. [10] The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly.

[11] I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. [12] But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and flieth: and the wolf catcheth, and scattereth the sheep: [13] And the hireling flieth, because he is a hireling: and he hath no care for the sheep. [14] I am the good shepherd; and I know mine, and mine know me. [15] As the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father: and I lay down my life for my sheep.

[16] And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.

Luke 14:15-24
[15] When one of them that sat at table with him, had heard these things, he said to him: Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.

[16] But he said to him: A certain man made a great supper, and invited many. [17] And he sent his servant at the hour of supper to say to them that were invited, that they should come, for now all things are ready. [18] And they began all at once to make excuse. The first said to him: I have bought a farm, and I must needs go out and see it: I pray thee, hold me excused. [19] And another said: I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to try them: I pray thee, hold me excused. [20] And another said: I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.

[21] And the servant returning, told these things to his lord. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant: Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the feeble, and the blind, and the lame. [22] And the servant said: Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. [23] And the Lord said to the servant: Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. [24] But I say unto you, that none of those men that were invited, shall taste of my supper.

Matthew 21:33-44
[33] Hear ye another parable. There was a man an householder, who planted a vineyard, and made a hedge round about it, and dug in it a press, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen; and went into a strange country. [34] And when the time of the fruits drew nigh, he sent his servants to the husbandmen that they might receive the fruits thereof. [35] And the husbandmen laying hands on his servants, beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.

[36] Again he sent other servants more than the former; and they did to them in like manner. [37] And last of all he sent to them his son, saying: They will reverence my son. [38] But the husbandmen seeing the son, said among themselves: This is the heir: come, let us kill him, and we shall have his inheritance. [39] And taking him, they cast him forth out of the vineyard, and killed him. [40] When therefore the lord of the vineyard shall come, what will he do to those husbandmen?

[41] They say to him: He will bring those evil men to an evil end; and will let out his vineyard to other husbandmen, that shall render him the fruit in due season. [42] Jesus saith to them: Have you never read in the Scriptures: The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? By the Lord this has been done; and it is wonderful in our eyes. **43] Therefore I say to you, that the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and shall be given to a nation yielding the fruits thereof. **[44] And whosoever shall fall on this stone, shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it shall grind him to powder. [45] And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they knew that he spoke of them.



Matthew 22:1-15
[1] And Jesus answering, spoke again in parables to them, saying: [2] The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king, who made a marriage for his son. [3] And he sent his servants, to call them that were invited to the marriage; and they would not come. [4] Again he sent other servants, saying: Tell them that were invited, Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my calves and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come ye to the marriage. [5] But they neglected, and went their own ways, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise.

[6] And the rest laid hands on his servants, and having treated them contumeliously, put them to death. [7] But when the king had heard of it, he was angry, and sending his armies, he destroyed those murderers, and burnt their city. [8] Then he saith to his servants: The marriage indeed is ready; but they that were invited were not worthy. [9] Go ye therefore into the highways; and as many as you shall find, call to the marriage. [10] And his servants going forth into the ways, gathered together all that they found, both bad and good: and the marriage was filled with guests.

[11] And the king went in to see the guests: and he saw there a man who had not on a wedding garment. [12] And he saith to him: Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? But he was silent. [13] Then the king said to the waiters: Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [14] For many are called, but few are chosen. [15] Then the Pharisees going, consulted among themselves how to insnare him in his speech.

Matthew 25:31-34
[31] And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. [32] **And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: **[33] And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. [34] Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

When Jesus said the following

Matt 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans,[/FONT]b] 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And preach as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons…

Matt 15: 22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”e] 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 And he answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

while Jesus words look one way on the surface, otoh, that looks to me like Jesus is giving the Jews, the people of the covenant, 1st right of refusal to accept the new and everlasting covenant, and He is putting full attention to that goal.

*]the result of that effort, the Church in the beginning was 100% Jewish.
*]yet Jesus did interact a few times with Gentiles, and was particularly impressed with the Roman centurion and what he said to Jesus. Such that Jesus said He hadn’t seen faith like that in all Israel Matthew 8:5-13 . And we make the same powerful profession of faith before we receive Jesus in the Eucharist. :cool:
*]The HS inspired Peter to open the covenant up to Gentiles by baptizing Cornelius AND his whole family
*]And Paul being frustrated with his fellow Jews because of their resistence to him, mentally and physically, THEN was inspired to go to the Gentiles.
[/LIST]Thus it looks to me, Jesus and His apostles gave the Jews first right of refusal by focusing on them first.

Some Protestants maintain that Jews who didn’t accept Jesus were still bound by, and could be justified by, the Old Covenant-and that much of what Jesus taught was directed to that end which explains (to them) why His teachings can often appear to center upon a “works-based” righteousness, whereas Paul’s gospel appears to be all faith-based, which itself is grace-based.

Jews did not need the old (or new) covenant to be justified. EVERYONE was justified by Our Lord’s Sacrifice on Calvary. Every single person on earth was (and is) justified.

Justification is not the same thing as salvation. The ordinary means of salvation is valid Christian Baptism, and nothing else. No Jew is saved by the Law of Moses. Jews are saved in the exact same way as the Jews who originally followed Jesus (such as the, ahem, Apostles): by Baptism.

It is silly (and possibly blasphemous) to suggest that Jews who rejected Our Lord are somehow saved in spite of this.

Everyone was redeemed. Justification comes by Baptism, the sacrament of faith.

2020 Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ. It is granted us through Baptism. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who justifies us. It has for its goal the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life. It is the most excellent work of God’s mercy.

Yes, but that’s what some believe.

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