Why does the Bible gives priority to the Jewish people?
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
Romans 1:16 NKJV
In terms of history, culture, and covenants, the Gospel was promised and preached to the Jews first, then to the Gentiles. This does not mean that the Gospel is exclusively for the Jews, but that as a chosen nation, God revealed Himself to them first.
His plan for Israel was for them to be the light among the nations to point us to the Father.
A few practices of devoted Jews for which they serve as a light to the nations:
- Their obedience in keeping the feasts as God ordained (Sabbath, Passover, etc.)
- Their reverence to G-d and not taking his name in vain; they refer to him as “HaShem” (which means “the name”) in order not to blaspheme against his name
- Their devotion to preserving the Scriptures
Did Israel have bad kings and leaders throughout history that led them astray from the statutes, ordinances, and commandments of G-d? Absolutely!
But there’s always been a remnant that has remained faithful throughout the ages to honor and obey the One True G-d of their fathers, Adonai, King of the Universe.
We, Gentile believers, can certainly learn from their example of devotion and faith.
Before ascending to heaven, Yeshua (Jesus) instructed his disciples to be filled with the Holy Spirit who would empower them to preach the Gospel.
The disciples were to be witnesses (spread the message of the Gospel) starting with Jerusalem first and then move on to the Gentile nations:
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Acts 1:8 NKJV
There is an order to God’s covenants. He first made a covenant with Abraham:
I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.
Genesis 12:2-3 NLT
Through the sacrifice of Yeshua on the cross, we are now partakers of the covenant promises G-d made to Israel:
In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 2:12-13 NLT
We are grafted into the olive tree by the sacrifice of Yeshua:
And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in.
At the cross, Yeshua brought Jews and Gentiles together giving us the same access to the Father! Can you see G-d’s grace? He had the salvation of Gentiles in mind all along!
For He is our shalom, the One who made the two into one and broke down the middle wall of separation. Within His flesh He made powerless the hostility— the law code of mitzvot contained in regulations. He did this in order to create within Himself one new man from the two groups, making shalom, and to reconcile both to God in one body through the cross—by which He put the hostility to death.
Ephesians 2:14-16 TLV
Israel is the firstborn of all nations. That is how it pleased the Father. That’s why they are first.
Think of Israel as a firstborn child in a home. In my case, I have two daughters. I love them both dearly. I cannot love one more than the other.
My firstborn is Gianna. As much as I love my darling Nathalia, our second daughter, she can never take her older sister’s place. Gianna will always be the firstborn not by choice, but by divine will.
Similarly, Israel is first of all the nations of the world, not because they chose to, but because of divine will.
The Hebrews weren’t the greatest of all nations. They were slaves!
The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
It pleased the Father to create a great nation out of slaves. Why? Because He made a promise to Abraham,
I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you…
It pleased God to make out of Jews and Gentiles “one new man” through Jesus’ death on the cross.
God loves both Jews and Gentiles, and He chose each one to bless the other.