Sometimes I think that we, as Christians, forget that God’s chosen people were never us Gentiles, but the Jews. In fact, if the Jews did everything right, we may have never been on God’s radar. But the glorious, and somewhat tragic, truth is that the Jews did forsake God to a point where he opened the opportunity for salvation to the world. Paul puts it like this in Romans 11, verses 11 and12, speaking about the Jews:
“Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will the fullness bring!”
When my wife and I visited Israel, we met several Messianic Jews - which are Jews who believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Many Jews sadly still do not. As I met with these Messianic Jews I began to remember that it is this race of people whom God chose, through the line of Abraham, to be his own. For a time, everyone else was a distant second, left to worship other gods and suffer in their separation from the one true God. I tried to imagine being born a Jew, a descendent of Abraham, one of God’s chosen people. I was awe-struck, looking at these Jews as if they were rock stars. But even though these people were the chosen ones of God, because of their transgression, we have been given the chance for salvation as well. Praise God for his mercy poured out upon the world.
I encourage you not to minimize the role the Jews (or Israelites) played in God’s grand scheme. They were chosen before we were. God made his covenant with them. He brought them to the promise land after giving them his law. For generations, salvation was carved out only for them. But in God’s great mercy, his plan was to ultimately offer salvation to all men when his chosen people turned their backs on him. This gave us the opportunity to be called “sons of God” as well. Ultimately, when Jesus died, he didn’t die for the Jews only, he died for all of us. So, if you consider the gift of salvation with this in mind, it adds a whole new level to God’s grace, because he didn’t have to pour it out on all mankind. Though out of his great love for the world, he ultimately chose to.