1 And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity.
5 These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans,
6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
I don’t understand why Jesus would specifically tell them to stay away from Samaria. Any ideas?
The Apostles of course DID preach to Gentiles after Pentecost and especially after St Paul came along. Some of these Gentiles did convert to Judaism first, some didn’t.
The whole council among the Apostles in Acts was held to determine whether, as some believed, Gentiles NEEDED to convert to Judaism and/or observe Jewish law as part of their Christianity, or whether (as the Council finally determined) they didn’t need to do so.
As for why Jesus told the Apostles not to go into Samaria at that time - it would’ve been a lot tougher for them to go among non-Jews, probably, there wasn’t much love lost between Jews and Samaritans. He might’ve wanted them to ‘cut their teeth’ on the Jews first.
Jesus was everyone’s messiah. (E.g. His enoucnter with the centurion whose classic phrase is now repeated - slightly paraphrased - in every Mass: “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you…”) But you’ll note in verse 6 that Jesus specifically commands this at this time to go only ot the lost sheep of Israel.
Ok. So the Disciples didn’t preach to Gentiles, only Jews. But Gentiles did end up converting.
Does that mean the Gentiles of the NT converted to Judaism?
After all, Acts 2 says that “they continued on…in the synagogues…”
At first, yes. But then, visible in Acts, there was a movement away from needing to abide by ritual Judaism.
How does what relate? Jesus telling the disciples to go only to the lost sheep of Israel? Perfectly.
As I mentioned in my post above, Jesus was/is Savior to all but the Jews were to get “first dibbs”. The Jewish people themselves were to be the Catholic Church. When they collectively said, “No thanks”, God broadened the Church’s (people of God’s) identity to include all the other nations as well. In the meantime, it wasn’t as if Jesus wanted “nothing to do” with Gentiles, it was only that his overall focus, at first, was the Jews.