Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.
Acts 3:26 (KJV)
To bless – Why was Yeshua sent in the flesh? It’s such a basic question, and more often than not our immediate reaction is that He came to die for our sins. While this bears truth, does that truth apply to everyone on earth? According to Peter, not really.
Peter claims, in his speech to the house of Judah (the Jews), that Yeshua first came to bless them – while helping them turn away from sin. Death wasn’t a part of that process. But how do we know he’s talking to the house of Judah? Because in his speech he mentions that his audience were the ones who denied Yeshua in the presence of Pilot. Now to fully grasp this, one must realize that the ‘Jews’ in Jerusalem were only those from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi. It was only the house of Judah that was there. The house of Israel was already scattered abroad, and they never returned, but rather were assimilated into the surrounding cultures and people. So according to Peter, Yeshua came with a blessing for the house of Judah – not to die for them.
But He did come to die, right? Yeshua came to die for someone. Who? Let’s look at His own words.
But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
So while Peter declares that Yeshua came with a blessing for the house of Judah, Yeshua’s primary reason for coming was for the house of Israel – the lost sheep, or rather the lost 10 tribes. But for them, the purpose of His coming was much different. While He brought blessings for the house of Judah (much in the form of rebukements), He had to die for the house of Israel. Why? We’ll have to explore that in another post. But the point of this one is to show that Yeshua had different purposes for coming, and for the house of Judah, it wasn’t to die but rather to bless.
The Greek word here is eulogeō which literally means “speaking well” or “praise”. Yeshua wanted to praise the house of Judah. Despite how often Yeshua rebukes them, they kept the Torah under guard and safekeeping. Yes their morality and importance of added laws became something to contest, but they were never divorced from God like the house of Israel. They remained His people. That alone was worthy of praise from Yeshua.
These are little gems hidden in the text. Have you noticed them before? It’s always important to understand who the author, or the person speaking in the text is talking to and what would have been the cultural understanding at the time those words were written. Once we understand these, then we can derive spiritual meanings or dig deeper into the Word. But without these, we’ll continue to miss these gems.