Jesus and the Gentiles

Jesus and John, the Baptist before Him, came preaching the arrival of the kingdom of God (Mat 3:1, 4:17). It had drawn near in the Person of the King Himself, and the people must repent and believe that Jesus is the Christ in order to enter it (Acts 19:4). Jesus demonstrated the arrival of the kingdom by the miracles He performed (Mat 11:1-6; 12:28; cf. Isaiah 35:1-10). We are not surprised that Jesus performed these miracles in the presence of the Jewish people since they expected God to send them their Messiah according to His promise. Jesus Himself said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mat 15:24). There are hints, however, even during the earthly ministry of Jesus that the kingdom of God would be shared by Gentiles.
In Matthew 15:21-28, we have an account of Jesus healing a Gentile woman in the region of Tyre and Sidon who addressed Him as the Son of David! Why is this kingly title on the lips of a Gentile! Probably after hearing of the healing, a whole multitude of Gentiles came to Jesus bringing others in need of healing, “lame blind, mute, maimed” (15:29-31). That this was a Gentile multitude is made clear. For after they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing, they glorified the God of Israel! Not only did Jesus heal the sick in the Gentile multitude, He miraculously fed them as He had the Jewish multitude earlier (15:32-39, cf. 14:13-21). It is hard not to see this “rerun” as an indication of something more than Jesus’ compassion for all people. It may very well demonstrate that Gentiles will share the King and His kingdom with the Jewish people. After an earlier Gentile healing, Jesus was more explicit, “And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11).