Romans 3:1-2 “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.” NKJV
Last summer, I had the pleasure of visiting the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. I was fascinated with the museum. There are exhibits that “bring to life” some of the scenes in the Bible. There are also many versions and translations of the Bible, and there are historical references to the importance of the Bible in our society, especially in America. Due to the pandemic, it was pretty empty, giving us the time to truly enjoy the entire museum. If you have not had the pleasure of visiting it, and you make it to D.C., it should be on your list of museums to visit.
I introduced to some, and reminded others of the phrase, “Judeo-Christian,” which was a term that signified the unity of the faith of the Jews and the Christians. Although the term is no longer “kosher” it is very true that Jews and Christians have a shared faith in many ways.
Paul asks the question, “Then what advantage has the Jew? What is the value of being circumcised?” If you read, or listened to my previous post, you will recall that Paul ends chapter 2 by describing what he considered to be a real Jew. In that description he mentioned that the circumcision of the flesh wasn’t the criteria for being a real Jew, but the circumcision of the heart.
Now he asks the question,
“So what difference does it make who’s a Jew and who isn’t, who has been trained in God’s ways and who hasn’t? As it turns out, it makes a lot of difference—”.Romans 3:1 MSG
I like how this verse reads in the Message Bible because people need to understand what Paul was saying wasn’t anti-Judaism. I remember growing up and hearing negative comments about the Jewish people. I thought they were all pretty lame, but the comment I remember the most is that they, the Jews, were the ones who murdered Jesus. We’ll talk about that a little later.
Paul was Jewish. His comments in chapter 2 wasn’t Jew bashing! His comments were to make a point that being a Jewish individual wasn’t enough to put you in right standing with God. But just in case some got confused and thought he was against the Jews, or that there was therefore no difference between the Jews and the Gentiles at all; Paul now tells us the importance of being Jewish. But first let’s look at what Paul said about his heritage as a Jew:
“though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.Philippians 3:4-6 NKJV
Paul was definitely Jewish and had a strong pedigree of Jewish heritage. Jesus gave him the responsibility of getting the gospel out to the Gentiles. Luke mentioned in Acts that Paul was a Roman citizen and I am sure that gave him access to the Gentiles that the other Jews did not have. (God uses everything in our lives that we allow Him to use!!) As such, it seems that many forget that he was very much Jewish. He wasn’t ashamed of being Jewish, nor did he bash his heritage, he just understood the mystery of Christ and that heritage wasn’t the same as faith. But after his statement in chapter 2, Paul felt a need to help others see that being Jewish had some advantages over being a Gentile. What is that advantage? Paul states it like this:
Much in every way! In the first place, the Jews were entrusted with the very words of God!Romans 3:3 CJB
First of all, Paul says the advantage is much in every way. Some of those advantages: They were called by God to be His own special people. He granted them many victories, many special favors, much wealth, great knowledge, miracles upon miracles, and He gave them His love. So Paul understood that they had a special relationship with God. But not only that! God gave them His word. Some commentaries refer to the Ten Commandments as the oracles of God, but we know that the entire Old Testament is the word of God and it was first a treasured possession of the Hebrews, or the Jewish nation.
Paul noted this honor for the honor that it was. They were given the revelation of the will and purpose of God and it carried with it a great responsibility. For centuries they made sure the Torah was protected and cared for. They made sure they passed down the words of God to their children and conveyed the urgency of protecting those words; and so did their children’s children. Their lives may have not always honored the word of God, but they were entrusted with it, and there was always someone who preserved it. It reminds me of when Ezra read the Law to the people who had returned to Israel from having been exiled to Babylon.
Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law… And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. Then all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.Nehemiah 8:3-8 NKJV
It is apparent that all of the people didn’t understand the Law, but they knew it was God’s words to them, and they honored it. Ezra read from morning to noon from the Law, and as He read the people said, “Amen” and bowed before God!
When Jesus, Peter, James, or Paul referred to the Scriptures, they were always referring to the Old Testament. And after the resurrection of Jesus, and the formation of the Early Church, the writings of the disciples became the New Testament and part of the word of God. Paul had this to say about Scripture:
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.2 Timothy 3:16-17
So that is how we as Christians are linked to the Jews, through His word, and why Judeo-Christian heritage is a true description of our relationship. We differ however in a key point! Most Jews still disbelieve that Jesus is the Messiah and they have no connection to the New Testament. The fact that it was written by Jewish authors, with the possible exception of Luke, who authored the gospel of Luke and Acts, is also a link to Judaism. Messianic Jews, consider the New Testament to be a Jewish writing and not Gentile; and it gives proof of our Judeo-Christian connection yet again. So it’s pure foolishness for Protestants to try and distance themselves from the Jewishness of the Bible. The whole book has Jewish origins!
Now here’s a second reason they are special, which Paul did not mention here. Jesus was born into the Jewish community to a Jewish mother, with a Jewish heritage of royalty. God thought them special enough to have our Savior be one of them. Jesus was not a Gentile, or a Christian; but He was very much Jewish in His earthly tabernacle. Therefore, they have another advantage that makes them special!
Now I want to return to the comment that was out saying that the Jews killed Jesus. Hear the words of Jesus:
“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”John 10:17-18
Again! Hear the words of our Savior: no one took His life. He laid it down and He had the power to pick it up again. And He did! He’s not dead! He’s alive! And if we truly believe that He yet lives, then there is no sense in allowing the devil to lie to us about why we should be against Jews. As a matter of fact, I am truly hoping that most of you are shocked that anyone can even begin to think this way, and that this was a newsflash for you!
I had my DNA tested a while ago. It came back with me having enough Jewish DNA to move to Israel. However, that will not be happening since I am thoroughly happy to live in the USA and to be a devout believer in the Lord Jesus Christ! So I will pass! What advantage is there to being a Jew? Much in every way! Wonderful Jesus!