17. Are Gentile believers indebted in some way to the Jewish people?
I realize the mere asking of a question like this has the potential of raising issues of prejudice and bias. Let me emphasize, that’s not my purpose in posing this question. I simply want to be Biblical and search out this subject from the Word of God. However, if your initial response left something to be desired, it might be helpful for you to ask God as David did, to search your heart. So, to get back to our question, just what does the Bible say about this?
Rom. 15:26-27 – For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. Yes, they were pleased and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things.
What are these verses saying? The churches in Macedonia and Achaia were congregations made up of primarily Gentile believers. They were pleased to take up an offering for the poor saints in Jerusalem. These were the Jewish believers in the city of Jerusalem who were in need. Paul then goes on to say that the Gentile believers were indebted to the Jewish people and he gives the reason for their indebtedness. What reason does Paul give for the Gentiles being in debt to the Jewish people? He goes on to explain, that because Gentiles believers have shared in the spiritual blessings of the Jewish people, they are indebted to minister to them (the Jewish people) in material things. What are some of the spiritual things that Paul is referring to here? It would include the Gospel, the Word of God, the Messiah Jesus, and certain aspects of the New Covenant, just to name a few. There is no question that Gentile believers are benefitting from the blessings that will one day be fully experienced by the nation of Israel. Warren Wiersbe in his commentary on Romans hits the nail right on the head when commenting about the offering that was taken up by the Gentile believers. He says, “Paul looked upon this offering as the paying of a debt. The Gentiles had received spiritual wealth from the Jewish people. They now returned material wealth, paying their debt. Paul considered himself a “debtor” to the whole world (Rom. 1:14). He also considered the Gentile Christians debtors to the Jewish people, for it was the Jewish people who gave to the Gentiles the Word of God and the Son of God. We Christians ought to feel an obligation to Israel, and pay that debt by praying for Israel, sharing the Gospel, and helping in a material way. Anti-Semitism has no place in the life of a dedicated Christian.” May I ask you a question? Are you fulfilling your debt to the people of Israel? Is the church that you’re attending fulfilling it’s debt to the Jewish people? How can we accomplish this in our day and age? Some of the ways that it’s fulfilled is by praying for the salvation of the Jewish people, personally witnessing to them, and by supporting organizations like the Center. Please do not misunderstand me, this in no way suggests that we should be slack in our efforts, or desires to reach out to any individual. It shouldn’t matter what their nationality or religious preference is, if they need the Messiah Jesus as their Savior, we should be prepared and willing to minister to them. Remember, God so loved the world and that includes everyone.