To the Jew First
So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:15-16)
WAS IT FOR FORTY YEARS? Something like that. When Dr. Lee Roberson became pastor of the Highland Park Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN in 1942, he soon began broadcasting on a local Chattanooga station. He came on every weekday morning about 9:00 o’clock, quoting Romans 1:16 (above). He had looked up the Greek word for “power” (doo’-nam-is) - from which we get our word: dynamite. He believed strongly that the Gospel was the power of God and he had given his life to preaching the gospel.
BEFORE GOD CALLED HIM TO PREACH, he sang a good bit on a Louisville, KY radio station. He had been accepted to be trained by one of the best voice coaches in opera. When he turned from a career in opera as a baritone singer, to preach the Gospel, his mother was so disappointed that she never once came to hear him preach. His father came and I saw him, but not his mother.
THROUGH HIS DAILY RADIO PROGRAM IN CHATTANOOGA, I heard him say the phrase: “to the Jew first” hundreds of times. Let’s look at “to the Jew first.”
WHY WOULD PAUL BRING UP THE ISSUES of “not being ashamed” and “to the Jew first?” McGee has a word to say about that. “Why did Paul say, "I am not ashamed of the gospel"? As I walked down the streets of Ephesus and looked at the ruins of marble temples, I realized that there was not a church building in Ephesus in the first century.
“In Ephesus was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the gorgeous temple of Diana (or Artemis), but there was no church building.
I SUPPOSE THERE WERE FOLK IN ROME WHO WERE SAYING, "Well, brother Paul hasn't come to Rome because he is just preaching a message geared for poor people. The message he preaches is without prestige; there are no great temples connected with it. He would be ashamed to bring it to an important place like Rome." So Paul says, "I am not ashamed of the gospel." Now why is Paul not ashamed of the gospel? "It is the power of God"! (McGee)
PAUL IS ABOUT TO GO TO THAT GREAT CITY OF POWER, ROME, and word may get around that Paul has left his upbringing in Jerusalem. Paul is getting too big for his britches. Paul is getting uppity. He had a nice Temple in Jerusalem to relate to, but they don’t want him in Jerusalem. So, when he writes to the Jews in Rome, he throws in this little phrase: “I am not ashamed of the gospel:” and “to the Jew first,” to let them know that he is not playing the big-shot and catering to the culture and political power of Rome.
SOMETIMES IT'S THE LITTLE WORDS AND PHRASES that give color and meaning to Scripture, like: “Not ashamed of the Gospel;” and “To the Jew first.”
Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: (Romans 2:9-10)
BUT, WHY "THE JEW FIRST?" Paul brings up the subject: What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? (Rom 3:1) Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. (Romans 3:2)
MOSES MADE IT CLEAR TO THE JEWS WHY GOD DEALT WITH THEM IN A SPECIAL WAY: 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. Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; (Deuteronomy 7:7-9)
SUMMARY: God picks out the Jewish people to show the whole world that God is faithful to keep His word and His covenants that He makes. “For His name’s sake.” Have you believed on Christ? Have you committed the keeping of your soul to Him for all eternity? Then, rest assured that God keeps His word. The God who keeps His covenant with the Jew, will also keep His covenant with you.
For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. (2Timothy 1:12)
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: (Philippians 1:6)
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (John 5:24)
Read Through the Bible in a Year
MAY 21, 2019 – TUESDAY
A.M. 1 Chronicles 3-5 P.M. John 8:1-20
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verse to Memorize:
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)
Song for Today:
Just When I Need Him Most (2:46) (Dr. Lee Roberson)