In John, chapter four, while passing through Samaria, the Lord Jesus met a woman at a well and asked her for some water.  The Samaritans were looked down upon by the Israelites because they were typically half pagan/half Jewish.  It did not take this woman long to realize that the Lord Jesus was not simply a common man.  She first thought He was a prophet.  Thinking that, she put a question before the Lord.  She said in verse 20, “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”  There was a constant dispute between the Jews and the Samaritans about the true rule and place of worshipping God.  This woman sought to get the Lord’s thoughts about this, avoiding the question of her need for salvation.  The Lord brought this conversation to a halt by informing her in verses 21-22, “Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.”  In this, the Lord informed this Samaritan woman that the Jews were the depository of God’s truth for SALVATION IS OF THE JEWS. 

This truth is presented in other places in the Gospels. 

  • At His birth, we read, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21).  “His people” were the people of Israel. 
  • John 1:10-11 says, “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”  We learn here that the ‘world’ did not know Him.  This speaks of the Gentile world.  HIS OWN are the Jews.  It’s not that they simply did not know Him, they rejected Him.
  • We have the words of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 15:24, “But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

In coming to the world, the Lord’s purpose was to offer Himself as the Messiah to the Jewish nation.  The Jews rejected Him, so the Lord offered salvation to the whole world through His sacrificial death on the cross.  Shortly after His birth, Mary and Joseph met a man named Simeon in the temple.  Obviously, the Lord gave this man insight about the Lord Jesus that others did not know.  Simeon said in Luke 2:29-32, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A LIGHT TO LIGHTEN THE GENTILES, and THE GLORY OF THY PEOPLE ISRAEL.”  He seemed to understand that the Lord would enlighten the Gentiles about their need of a savior and that He would also be the glory of Israel. 

“Salvation is of the Jews” is a very true and accurate translation.  In looking at several Greek translations, it is obvious that this is what the Bible truly says.  It is easy to claim that this is a deliberate mistranslation, but proof is needed.  If you have credible proof that this verse and teaching is in error, I would be glad to look it over.  However, all the translations I have read and all the dependable commentators I have read all concur that this is the accurate teaching of the Word of God.

Now, let’s consider John 10:24-27, “Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”  The Lord declared that these unbelieving Jews were not His sheep because they refused to believe that He was the Christ (Messiah).  They forfeited the right to be called His sheep because of their unbelief.  The Lord stated that those who are truly His sheep hear His voice.  The Lord knows them personally and they follow Him. 

As a whole, the nation of Israel rejected the Lord, but there were many who recognized who He was and faithfully followed Him.  Because the Jews rejected Him, the Lord reached out to the Gentile world, offering salvation to all who will believe on Him as their Lord and Savior.  One good example of this is found with Paul and Barnabas speaking to a group of Jews who rejected the Lord.  We read in Acts 13:46, “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.”  (476.2)