Was Jesus Racist?

Justin Johnson

What would you think if I said things such as:
“I am only sent to minister to French people”,
“Americans, Brazilians, and Zambians are dogs”, or
“Do not minister to anyone unless they are French (French Canadian are OK, too)”?

Wouldn’t you naturally ask what was so special about French?

Of course, Jesus is not racist, but he did say very similar things while he was on earth concerning Gentile nations due to the special standing God gave Israel.

To a Canaanite woman with a sick daughter he said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” and, “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs” (Matthew 15:24-27).

Jesus said he was only sent to Israel and not Gentile dogs. Jesus also sent his twelve chosen disciples (one for each tribe of Israel) with the same sending to Israel first.

“Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” – Matthew 10:5-6

“Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” – John 20:21

Jesus was Israel’s Messiah and his ministry on earth was not to Gentiles (Rom 15:8).

The ministry of Jesus Christ to Gentiles did not begin until the Lord from heaven called a separate apostle to minister to them.

The Lord gave Paul the unique office of apostle to the Gentiles:

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:” – Romans 11:13

Jesus was not a racist, but he had a ministry exclusive to Israel because he was faithful to confirm the promises God made exclusively to them (Rom 9:1-4). When Israel rejected the ministry of Christ and his twelve disciples, then Israel was counted in unbelief, and God could justly send salvation freely to all nations.

“…through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles…” – Romans 11:11

On earth Jesus was a minister of the circumcision (Rom 15:8). Only after Israel was counted in unbelief could the Lord send an apostle with the ministry of the grace of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles (Rom 15:16).

“For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” – Romans 11:32

If we ought to follow the earthly mninistry of the Lord, or the ministry of the twelve apostles (one for each tribe of Israel), then we should naturally give privilege to Israel over Gentiles.

However, if Israel is fallen today, then Jesus’ ministry to the circumcision would be a wrong pattern for the church today.

It is through the apostle of the Gentiles that the church first receives its pattern of preaching salvation to all nations.

Israel has no higher spiritual privilege today. All nations need the gospel; none are excluded. The Lord gave the apostle Paul as our pattern for this ministry.

“Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.” – Acts 28:28

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(The cure for racism and racial prophecy errors is the Bible rightly divided.)

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Published: June 18, 2016
Last Modified: September 16, 2023
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