Let’s read Matthew 8:10-12, “When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel.’ And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’” (NKJV).

First, it is important to see what happened prior to these words spoken by the Lord Jesus so we will now read verses 5-9: “Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully torments.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’ The centurion answered and said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But ONLY SPEAK A WORD, AND MY SERVANT WILL BE HEALED. For I also am a man under authority, having solders under me. And I say this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.’” The centurion was a Roman soldier and thus a Gentile (a non-Jew). The Lord Jesus had presented Himself to the nation of Israel as their long-awaited Messiah, yet the nation as a whole rejected Him. We see that in John 1:11, “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” In short, they lacked faith in Him and refused to confess Him as their King. Yet here was a humble Gentile who came to Jesus believing He could heal his paralyzed servant! Not only did He believe Jesus could do this, but he believed Jesus could simply SPEAK A WORD, and his servant would be healed. His “amazing faith” caused Jesus to marvel and say, “I have not found such GREAT FAITH, not even in Israel.” The Israelites were God’s chosen people who had the Word of God given to them that promised them a Messiah, and their prophets had foretold the miracles the Messiah would do to prove He was their King. For over 3 years they witnessed Jesus performing those miracles in nearly every city and town He visited, but they were not persuaded He was their King. Their UNBELIEF was on display, in contrast to the GREAT FAITH of this Gentile soldier.

In verse 11 Jesus marveled and praised the faith of this Gentile. (The only other time we read that Jesus marveled is in Mark 6:6 in connection with the Jews, “Jesus marveled because of their unbelief.”) Then He announced to them that in the coming kingdom on earth there would be many Gentiles from all nations who will come to Israel to have fellowship with the Jewish patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Like the Gentile centurion, they will have believed that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, the King of Israel. By contrast, we read in verse 12 that the Jews who had rejected Him as their king would be “cast out into outer darkness.” Instead of entering the glorious kingdom of Jesus Christ and enjoying fellowship with those who had FAITH IN HIM as their Messiah, they will be cast into hell where there is “outer darkness” and “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (see also Matthew 22:13; 25:30).

I imagine you are wondering, “Why are they called the ‘sons of the kingdom’ if they will not enter the kingdom?” As I stated before, the Israelites were God’s chosen people from among all the nations. They were given the Word of God through Moses and the prophets and were promised a place in the kingdom of their Messiah.  Yet there was one condition for entering into the kingdom and that condition was FAITH! They could not rely on their natural birth as Israelites, as some did (see John 8:33, 39 where many boasted, “We are Abraham’s descendants” ….“Abraham is our father”). They had to BELIEVE THE WORD that prophesied the coming of their Messiah and their rejection of Jesus Christ proved that they were trusting in their natural birth and their natural relationship to Abraham. If they had “believed the prophets” they would have “believed in Jesus Christ” as their Messiah (John 1:12, 35-42). This alone would give them entrance into the coming kingdom of Jesus Christ.  (DO)  (565.3)