A Nationless Man for All Nations

He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:11-12)

God is such a genius.

This, obviously, is a candidate for understatement of all-time. But everywhere I look in the Bible and see how God engineered redemptive history, that’s what I think. I am in awe of a wisdom and foresight that, quite frankly, from all my observation and experience, does not come from humans.

Here’s an example: Jesus’ ethnicity. Jesus was a Hebrew Semite. That means Nordic, European and Slavic peoples can’t lay claim on him as one of them. African peoples can’t claim him, East Asian peoples can’t claim him, native peoples of the Americas can’t claim him.

And the Near East Semites who might claim him largely reject him. But after 2,000 years of racial migration, relocation, and intermarriage in Palestine, very few, if any, could claim a clear genetic tie to him. Today’s Israelis are mostly a regathering of a global diaspora who bring with them the bloodlines of countless peoples. That itself is a parable.

Here’s the point: no people can take legitimate racial pride in Jesus. He left no clear bloodline. He didn’t even leave a physical description of himself. All he left us — all he intended to leave us — was his gospel.

And Jesus intended that his “gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). He intended to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).

Jesus has become a man without a nation so that he can be the man for all nations. The children of God are not born of blood (John 1:13) but of belief (John 1:12). So all the children of God say with the Samaritans: “we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world” (John 4:42).