5. Did Jesus, the Messiah, come to save the Jews only?
Muslims often experience the conflict between the families of Ishmael [Ismail] and Isaac. Since God gave the Torah and Savior to the Jews, is the Good News only for them? The following Bible passage clearly answers the question:
“And at the end of eight days [after Jesus’ birth], when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. . . .
“Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
“‘Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.’
“And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.’
“And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God. . . .
“And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him” (Luke 2:21-40, emphasis added).
So is Jesus the Messiah for the Jews only? God did send Jesus to a Jewish family and nation, but Christ is also “a light for revelation to the Gentiles” and God’s way of salvation for “all peoples” (Luke 2:31-32). God sent Jesus not only to a specific people group but also to believers from across the world.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Although the world was separated from God due to sin, God provided Jesus to reconcile believers to Himself. Believers are those who turn from sin and trust Jesus Who paid the punishment for sin by dying on the cross. God proved Jesus won victory over sin and death by raising Jesus from the dead.
Believers realize they cannot earn a home in heaven by good works. They must be purified by Jesus’ perfect righteousness and atoning death. After saving believers, God gives them the strength to do good works, not for their salvation but for God’s glory and their reward:
“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people” (Titus 3:3-8).
Now you understand why Jesus was born! After discovering the Christmas story, you probably have more questions to ponder. Diligently keep reading the Bible and praying to find the truth. To learn more about how Jesus accomplished God’s plan of salvation, you may want to begin the Bible study “Who is Jesus?”
As God reveals His truth to you through His Word the Bible, may you respond like the villagers who encountered Jesus: “They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world’" (John 4:42).