The Jewish Advantage?

In the Book of Romans, Chapter Two, the Jewish Apostle Paul rails against the sinful nature of man, then specifically calls out his Jewish brethren for their high-handed religious attitude. He is harsh in his criticism, chastising them for basically giving lip service to the law while flaunting their position in it before the Gentiles.

Perhaps in a coup de grace, in verse 24 he quotes Isaiah 52:5, "For 'the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,' as it is written." That's an awfully strong accusation.

It is somewhat curious that Paul is addressing the Jewish population of Rome since His opening salutation in Chapter One is generally agreed to be to the Gentile believers there. Yet in 2:17 he writes, "Indeed you are called a Jew," indicating his intended audience was both Jewish and Gentile believers. Further curiosity involves how there were Gentile believers in Rome since Paul had not yet been there to evangelize them. While there doesn't seem to be any conclusive evidence, one popular theory involves the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem at Shavuot (Pentecost).

Roman Jews were among those present there (Acts 2:10). It is quite possible they brought the Gospel back to their city, spreading the message of Messiah Yeshua to both their fellow Jews, as well as Gentiles. That would help explain how the Epistle addresses both groups. It might also explain part of Paul's reference in the phrase, "For the Jew first, and also for the Gentile." He actually uses that basic wording a total of three times in the Book, 1:16, 2:9 & 10. Simply put, it is chronologically correct. Jesus came as a Jew, to the Jews. All the Apostles, including Paul, and almost all the early disciples were Jewish. They got the message first.

But there seems to be a weightier implication about expectations for the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Although Paul equates the positive and negative outcomes of faith, or lack of it, for both Jews and Gentiles, saying in 2:11, " For there is no partiality with God," there's more to his comparison.
Romans 3:1 & 2 shows the depth of the responsibility of Jewish people. "What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God." In other words, the Lord had a purpose in giving His Word to His chosen people.

Consider this in light of the role of a teacher. Some of the students will understand the subject matter, and some won't. Some will excel above and beyond the status of the teacher, some will not. Regardless, the onus is on the instructor to purvey the truth accurately.

Clearly, the Jews of the first century were the disseminators of the truth of Jesus as God's Messiah, His only Son. But the ways of the world and the influences of biblical ignorance, among other things, has drastically changed that reality. But it hasn't changed the original assignment. The benefit of that assignment is not to the glory of the Jewish people, but for the glory of the Kingdom of God. There are many who believe the great revival we all seek will significantly involve, or even be led by, Messianic Jews; that there will be revival among the unsaved Jews first, and then also among the unsaved Gentiles.

As Paul writes later in Romans 11:11 & 12 about his Jewish brethren, “I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!”

There can be no scriptural doubt about God’s view of all believers in Jesus, both Jew and Gentile, as equal. Nevertheless, God’s faithfulness to His covenant promises to Israel are evident. Throughout history, attempts to annihilate the Jewish people - the pograms of Eastern Europe, the Holocaust, Anti-Semitism, modern day terrorism, even the plot of the evil Haman in the days of Esther - while tragically horrendous, have all ultimately failed.

When Yeshua said in Matthew 23:39, “For I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,’” He was speaking to the Jewish people in Jerusalem. Jewish believers will welcome Him back at His second coming.

What advantage has the Jew? Much in every way!