In today’s gospel reading from Matthew 12.38-42, we get a clear picture that the good news of the gospel is for all people. It is fairly common knowledge today that Jesus was Jewish, though that might fool some people. However, the Jewishness of Jesus is not something that makes it’s way into our thoughts in the way that it often should.
As people in the church, we tend to think of ourselves as people with an intimate connection to Jesus. But, it is important to remember that for most of us, whether European, African, Asia (etc.) descent, this connection is not along ethnic lines. We only have an intimate connection with Jesus because when it comes to him ethnic lines are unimportant for our inclusion in his family.
In the gospel reading today, Jesus is speaking to the scribes and pharisees (i.e. Jews) and tells them “At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here.”
Most people know Jesus was a Jew, but they don’t know who the Ninevites were. They were the enemies of the ancestors of the Jews of Jesus’ time. They were ethnically outsiders. Yet Jesus tells these Jewish leaders that the Ninevites would stand in judgment over the current generation. It is not ethnicity that is important; in the case of the Ninevites, it is repentance that is important.
And, thank God that this is the case. If ethnicity had been important to Jesus, most of us non-Jews would still be lost in our sins. That is why it is, for Christians at least, making an issue of a person’s race borders upon the ridiculous.
Thus, we may rejoice at the words of the Apostle Paul, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3.28). Let us today, therefore, take on the eyes of Christ and view all regardless of differences as children of God and as our brothers and sisters in Christ.