The second Christmas question I want to address is "Why did God choose the Jews?" The nation of Israel, the Jews, has been a unique nation down through history. In 1948 the establishment of a Jewish state proved historically to be unprecedented. They are the only nation to be removed from their land, take it back and restore their own culture.
They have suffered persecution throughout history as well. We are somewhat familiar with the account of the Holocaust of the 20th century, but that wasn't the first time the Jews suffered. In the book of Esther we read of Haman's plan to eradicate the people. During the Crusades, one crusader said, "Why fight Christ's enemies abroad when they are living among us?" He was talking about the Jews.
Anti-Semitism has been around a long time! Growing up in small town USA, there were two main clothing stores located on opposite corners of our town … Gladstein's and Shapinsky's. Both were run by Jewish families, and both were hated for their success. I grew up in an atmosphere where jokes about Jews were acceptable. For years the term used for bargaining was to 'Jew someone down'.
What about now? Whether it is Mel Gibson's drunken rant against Jews; the Islamic leadership calling for their annihilation; or the off-color comments made by our own friends and family; it is clear that anti-Semitism is alive and well in the 21st century.
Once again, it isn't a question of 'Did God choose the Jews, but why?' Why would God choose the Jews?
(Romans 9:1-5) I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
I. Who are the Jews?
A. They were the first Monotheistic people.
1. All around them were people who worshiped a multitude of gods.
2. Abraham's father, Terah, worshiped many gods.
(Joshua 24:2) And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.
3. But Abraham believed and worshiped the One True God.
4. God chose Abraham to be the father of a new nation.
5. This nation would later come to be called 'Jews'.
(Genesis 12:1-2) Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
B. Jews are a nation, not just a religion.
1. There are two qualifications for those who are called 'Jews'.
2. If you are born into a Jewish family, then you are Jews by birth, whether you practice Judaism or not. ie. Jewish Christians
3. If you convert to Judaism, you become a Jew by practice.
4. This was the case with those in the Scripture referred to as proselytes.
C. Jews have been despised throughout history, but they are an incredibly gifted and industrious people.
1. Consider the Nobel Prize…They are widely regarded as the supreme commendation in their respective subject areas of physics, literature, economics, chemistry, and bio- medical.
2. Since the inception in 1901, 781 such prizes have been awarded.
3. The Jewish population is at .02% of the world, and nearly 20% of the recipients of the Nobel Prize have been Jewish. 152 total.
4. That in itself is pretty amazing to me.
II. Why did God choose the Jews?
(Matthew 1:1) The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
A. God is Sovereign! And He could choose anyone He decided to choose!
(Romans 9:18) Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
1. In reality, God chose a man…Abraham.
2. He made some promises to him, and God will not go back on His promises.
(Genesis 12:3) And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
3. When He decided to send His Son into this world as a man, He chose to do so as a fulfillment of His promises to Abraham.
(Galatians 4:4-5) But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
B. The Jews were chosen because they were the seed of Abraham.
(Isaiah 41:8) But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.
1. Sometimes we try to place the cart before the horse.
2. God didn't look down and evaluate all of the nations of the world, and then choose the Jews because they were so special.
3. The nation of Israel became special because God chose them!
(Deuteronomy 7:7-8) The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
4. God often does things that confound us.
5. Look at all of the circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus.
6. We would have made different choices, but then…we often make wrong choices where God never fails!
C. The Jews were chosen because we needed a Savior.
1. That choice was made before the foundation of the world!
2. God in His omniscience knew what we needed.
3. He chose a man of faith, Abraham, an imperfect man to be sure…but a man who believed God.
4. Through him all the nations of the earth would be blessed. How?
5. Jesus was born a Jew!
6. Listen to what Paul wrote to the Galatians.
(Galatians 3:8) And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
7. Does that mean that a person becomes a Jew when they put their faith in Jesus Christ? NO
8. Being born again makes us a part of God's family.
9. And we owe a debt of gratitude for our spiritual heritage.
(John 1:11) He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
This verse gives us the tragedy of the coming of Christ the Messiah in the manger at Bethlehem. Listen…He came unto His own…the Jews, but His own received Him not. But an even greater tragedy is that He continues to be rejected by those He came to save.
(Luke 19:10) For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
Have you received Him as your personal Savior? If not, why not come today and place your faith in Him? Christian, we need to thank God for choosing to send His Son into this world as a Jew to die in our place on the cross. Pray for Israel to be saved.