Comments on Acts: God became a Jew
"Pastor Buddy, A lot of people miss the important point that Acts is the history of the early church. It shows the hardship and determination of the Apostles and of course the fact at how quickly the Good News spread in the course of 35 years. I definitely feel and see the historical part of what Luke is trying to convey to us. The way he wrote it was for us to SEE what the early church went through, The Lights keep coming on here! God Bless, John"
Thank you John for these comments. They are well stated. I want to add one more appendant to study #004 before we begin a 5th study on Acts.
With regard to the new covenant it is crucial that we understand who Jesus really is. Only God Himself would have the divine right to fulfill one covenant and institute another. To see Jesus Christ as other than God, is to misunderstand both the covenant, and God's work of redemption. (Please lay aside any arguments on deity. It is immaterial to this understanding.)
The only way for God to remove the Law of Moses and replace it with the Law of Christ, would be if He, God Himself, were the fulfillment of the Law of Moses in its entirety. As I said earlier, this is what happened at the cross. Jesus is God fully revealed in the flesh. And since the Law of Moses was a marriage contract (covenant) between Israel and the God of Israel, then in the death of Jesus the contract became of no effect. Since there have been no questions on this, I'll add just a few more thoughts.
Now think about this --- In the incarnation, God became a Jew. Don't fall off your stool. This fact is true to the Scriptures. God did not incarnate Himself as a Roman, or a Greek, or an Egyptian. Jesus Christ was born into the Jewish race as a son of Abraham. Therefore He became a Jew among Jews. He walked as a Jew. He worshiped as a Jew. He did Jewish things. And introduces another window we need to look through with regard to the new covenant.
Pay close attention to what Jesus tells the Samaritan lady at the well. She wants to argue religion. The Lord simply says, "Women, believe Me, and hour is coming when neither in 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 an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:21-24)
There is so much to be said here, but let me simply share some highlights. Not only did Jesus die on the cross in that his marriage to Israel was then fulfilled, but Jesus also died on the cross as God's sacrifice Lamb. It could be said that the Jews provided the sacrifice, but that the Gentiles were present at its offering. After all it was the Romans who actually offered the sacrifice. They drove the nails in Him, and lifted Him up in His sufferings. So both Jew and Gentile participated in the death of Messiah. (Deep thinking for you who want to consider this more closely.)
But did he rise from the grave as a Jew? Not really. Jesus arose and presented a new humankind that would represent all mankind, Jew and Gentile. Listen carefully to the apostle Paul:
"Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. (2Co5:16-19)
Notice these things:
(1) We do not know Jesus after the flesh (as a Jew) any longer.
(2) There is a new spiritual humanity that came out of the cross, and in this humanity there is no longer a Jew or a Gentile. We are either in Christ, or we are still in our sins, that is, we are still Jews and Gentiles.
(3) The old things passed way. This simply means that the new covenant is entirely new. It is made for a spiritual or a heavenly people. The former covenant was made for a earthly people.
(4) Everything in the new covenant is from God. He was in Christ accomplishing everything that needed to be done. He is now in all believers, accomplishing everything that needs to be done. (A study in itself.)
(5) Who was reconciled to God at the cross? The world! The world! Everything in God's program of redemption centers on His love for all of humanity. "For God so loved the world..."
Much more could be said, but think about what I have shared.
This study was originally part of a series on the book of Acts given to members of Hebraic Foundations from July 10, 2002 through January 19, 2003. They were written by Pastor Buddy Martin, a former United Pentecostal Church minister, who founded Christian Challenge International. Writings are the copyright of Buddy Martin and reprinted on this site by permission.
Page added October 22, 2004
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